Education, Kids, Parenting, Tips and Tricks

Are Your Children Prepared for an Earthquake Emergency

Preparing Children for an earthquake

I live along the West Coast and with the frequent Earthquakes worldwide, we are always reminded that the Big One along our Ring of Fire is due! Who lives along the Ring of Fire? See the map below.

My biggest fear is that it will hit when my boys are alone or perhaps an adult they are with is severely hurt which would leave them alone as well. It could very well happen and when it does, Are Your Children Prepared for an Earthquake Emergency. All the more reason to talk Earthquake safety with your kids today! You can have the conversation without scaring them, perhaps you spend a day calming their fears, but worth it anyhow in my opinion. A mind that can be turned on to some critical thinking skills learned in a conversation in the past can mean the difference between life or death. Same goes for a Fire plan or Hurricane safety.

The Ring of Fire Earthquake zone

Taking Cover

The first question you may want to help your child answer is where to take cover the moment they feel an earthquake. I cannot totally answer that for you. You will need to evaluate your home and find the common sense spaces to alert your child to head to in an earthquake. If you live in a multi-level home or a very large home, you will need a safety spot in more than one location. Here are some things to consider when finding a safe spot to take cover…

  • Away from windows or mirrors
  • Close to an exit
  • Under a sturdy desk or table
  • Away from heavy objects that could fall off walls or shelves
Tips for children to take cover in an earthquake

Yes! You may find you really have no safe spot and perhaps rearranging a room a tiny bit can create one. Do it! You do not want them near glass that can shatter around them causing harm as they escape. As well, you do not want to put them under a flimsy table beside a heavy bookshelf-I’m sure you can create a mental image of how that could end! Finding a spot close to an exit will help them if they become stuck to yell for help and be nearby for others to hear. Practice with them on taking cover. Crouch down hold the table-so it does not get away from them- and cover their heads. See the photo above! There is also a video in my post: Be Prepared for an Earthquake Disaster.

Warning List
Write down and discuss your ‘Warning List’. These are points you want pounded into their head to keep in mind after an Earthquake hits. Here are some warnings to discuss with them….
  • Aftershocks-can be terrifying when they were not expecting more shaking
  • Power lines-take them outside-show them and educate DO NOT TOUCH WHEN DOWN
  • Possibility of fires-older children can be shown where gas shut off is.
  • Glass and fallen objects
  • Structure instability if building has damage-move slow, but get out
I know there are so many more, but too much is overwhelming. These are important and opens their minds up to some critical thinking which they need to know how to do in situations like this.
Who can help you?
Let them know that in an earthquake, it is not uncommon to have cell phones not work. It is also not recommended to crawl into a broken structure to retrieve a cell phone. If a cell phone is not handy to alert their emergency calls you have set up with them (remember to always have an out of area contact everyone checks in with), they need to rely on neighbors they know. You may also want to educate them about First Responders. In a big disaster, your children may need to go with them and let these men & women guide them out. It can be scary if they are not expecting a ‘stranger’ to show up and take them to safety.
How to teach critical thinking
Really, this is short and simple. I think the best way to teach critical thinking to a child young or older is to ask questions and have them answer. If you lecture these points, it may go in one ear and out the other! Have a conversation about Earthquake safety in a Q&A format. “If an Earthquake happened right now, what would you do?” or “What would you do if you saw a power line down across the front yard?” This is the best way to have a conversation of any type with your child to turn the brain on. They will remember the conversation much easier in the moment as opposed to if they listened to a 30-minute lecture that was tuned out.

Finding videos that talk to children can help them understand earthquakes. Here is a fun and educational video I found: What is An Earthquake?-Learn Series for kids

Related post: Lessons for Kids in a Natural Disaster

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Aysh S

Fantastic Article Erinn

Emily Reviews

Here in MI we barely think about earthquakes at all but I think it's great to educate kids on them because you never know if they will move to another state as an adult.

Erinn Sluka

I lived in the Bay area as well growing up-was there for Loma Prieta!


Earthquakes aren't too common in our area, but I believe we do live on a fault line. It's so important to teach children to be prepared. We've drilled tornado preparedness into our children's heads, even at their young ages.

Leila Kennedy

This is the first I have ever heard the term ring of fire (well, being used in reference to earthquakes). Knock on wood, I'm in AZ so we don't experience earthquakes. In fact, I personally have never experienced one, but hubby lived in Cali until he was 12 so he has experienced them. These are great tips. You never know when I might find myself in an earthquake zone on vacation!


great no matter what kind of disaster's goin on…

Jan Rose

I live in Michigan and there isn't a worry for earthquakes! The information that you did share though is great to know just to share with children the precautions of any natural disaster!


Thanks for sharing. Great ideas.