Seven Steps to Help Your Business Become Earthquake Resilient

California is praised for its natural beauty, comfortable climate and vibrant culture (and the list goes on).

Even with all of the positives of living and doing business in the Golden State, there’s still one unavoidable risk that every individual, organization and community needs to prepare for—earthquakes.

California residents were provided a shaky reminder of the State’s biggest threat on July 4 and 5 when two earthquakes struck Ridgecrest—the latter of which registered an alarming 7.1 on seismic scales.

Earthquakes can and will happen while we are at work. They will disrupt services like electricity, water and sewer, and may limit access in and out of your business area.

When a large earthquake strikes, fire and police departments will be dealing with the most serious situations first, and may be unable to respond quickly to issues in your area.

Every community in the state relies on their local businesses to remain open after a disaster in order for the community to recover quickly. For this to happen, we all need to prepare at home and at work.

Taking steps now will give you confidence that you and your business are prepared to stay safe when there is an earthquake.

Seven Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business

Step 1: Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing movable items. In addition, identify what may interrupt your business operations both temporarily and permanently.

Step 2: Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan. Decide how you will communicate in an emergency and train your employees. A Business Continuity Plan can greatly reduce the risks and losses your business might face.

Step 3: Prepare disaster supplies with items such as water, food, and sanitation. Businesses will need to be self-sufficient as first responders will be addressing higher priorities such as hospitals and schools.

Step 4: Identify your building’s potential weaknesses, and begin to fix them. If the building is leased, work with the owner and property manager on addressing structural issues.  

Step 5: Drop, Cover and Hold On until the shaking stops. Drop, Cover and Hold On is an important practice because you may only have seconds to protect yourself before strong shaking knocks you down or something falls on you.

Step 6: After the earthquake, check for injuries and damage. Life safety is the top priority after an earthquake.  Use trained personnel to find anyone injured. Next, survey your building for damage or other hazards. Decide if it is safe to stay.

Step 7: Continue to follow your disaster plan. Once life safety has been addressed, it’s time to begin recovery activities to resume business operations. Use the plan to guide your actions and restore priority operations. Communicate often with employees and key contacts.

(These steps are provided by the Earthquake Country Alliance).

All of California is at higher risk for earthquakes compared to the rest of the country. There are resources to help you prepare for survival and recovery quickly after an earthquake or disaster. Below are a few suggestions. Also, consider participating in The Great California Shake Out earthquake drill every third Thursday in October. What you do now will determine how quickly your business will recover after an earthquake.

Additional Resources:

7 steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business

Staying Safe Where the Earth Shakes

LAEDC’s Planning for Business Operations After Earthquakes

ShakeAlert- An Earthquake Early Warning System for the United States West Coast

Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills



About Laurie Flores

With more than 30 years of industry experience, Laurie Flores is committed to identifying and mitigating risks as well as providing solutions and remedies to employers and their employees to aid in the reduction of work-related injuries and traumas. She utilizes her extensive safety experience to provide consultation that instills proper work practices and encourages an overall culture of safety. Laurie is a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist, holds a Safety Professional-Loss Control Consultant Designation, and is an Associate Business Continuity Professional. Prior to joining Bolton, she worked for Cal/OSHA enforcement as an Associate Safety Engineer where she investigated serious injury accidents and conducted site safety inspections.

Subscribe to the Bolton Blog