San Francisco Earthquake Preparedness

The recent earthquake in China (and the cyclone in Burma, and, in the not too distant past, Hurricane Katrina and The Tsunami) was a cruel reminder that Mother Nature’s wrath can strike anytime, and in any place, often without warning. As independent travelers, we often don’t think about this, traipsing from place to place without much planning.

It is, no doubt, a fun way to travel. Not having to report or be responsible to anyone.

If you are going to San Francisco, you not only need to wear sunflowers in your hair, but be aware that you are entering an earthquake zone. This does not mean you should constantly worry or be on edge, but it does mean that you should be prepared. You are not going to be able to carry a full earthquake kit with you, but there are some steps you can take to ensure your safety.

  • Make sure someone knows where you are going to be. I know you don’t want to be tied to anything, but in case of emergency, someone needs to know where you are, approximately, and where they should look. It may cramp your style, but if you’re traveling in a disaster-prone area, it is a good idea.
  • Have an emergency contact outside of the Bay Area, preferably outside of the west coast. It may be your family, or, if you are from the west coast (because, if a big one strikes, large parts of the west coast may be incapacitated), have a point of contact that both you and your family agree to call in case of emergency.
  • Ask your hostel/hotel where their emergency supplies are, and if they have any plan.
  • There are different theories about where to go in case of EQ. I always get under a reinforced door jam, duck, and cover my neck and head. As children, our earthquake drills had us climbing under the desks, ducking, and covering our necks and heads. This is in case of falling objects, you want to protect yourself.
  • If you want more information, is an excellent site.

    Again, this is not to scare you, or deter you in any way from visiting San Francisco. But it is something to be aware of when traveling here.