HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CA (December 20, 2022) – Following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck Humboldt County early Tuesday, the American Red Cross urges residents to review and practice the following safety tips to avoid serious injury in case aftershocks occur:
During an earthquake, avoid moving around — remember to drop, cover and hold on.
- Try to protect your head and torso. If you are sitting at a desk or table, get under it. Otherwise, drop to the ground wherever you are.
- If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
- If you must leave a building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
- If you smell gas, get out of the building and move as far away as possible.
- Before you leave any building, check to make sure that there is no debris from the building that could fall on you.
If you are outside, find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights. Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops.
- If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
- If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Call for help and wait for assistance.
- If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
After an earthquake, expect and prepare for potential aftershocks.
- Anytime you feel an aftershock, remember to drop, cover and hold on.
- Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks or even months following an earthquake.
- Prepare for potential landslides, or a tsunami if you live in a coastal area.
Power outages can be frustrating and troublesome. For prolonged power outages, there are ways that you can minimize loss and keep everyone as comfortable as possible.
- Use flashlights in the dark — not candles.
- Don’t drive unless necessary. Traffic lights will be out and roads could be congested.
- Turn off and unplug any appliances, equipment and electronics. When the power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light on, so you’ll know when power is restored. If a power outage is two hours or less, don’t be concerned about losing perishable foods. During a prolonged outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to protect your food.
- Use perishable food from the refrigerator first. Then, use food from the freezer.
- Perishable food is safe to eat when it has a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- If the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep food in a dry, cool spot and cover it at all times. If you are using a generator, keep it dry and don’t use it in wet conditions.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement or other partially enclosed area. Keep this equipment outside and away from doors, windows and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- Operate the generator on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up by poles. Don’t touch a generator with wet hands.
- Turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could catch fire.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency app for real-time weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and expert advice on earthquakes.
- The Emergency app includes an “I’m Safe” feature that helps people check on loved ones.
- Search “American Red Cross” in app stores, or go to redcross.org/apps
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on Twitter at @RedCross.