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Alameda County Law Library Building
125 - 12th Street, 3rd Floor, Oakland, CA 94607 · 510-272-6920

Risk Management Unit, a part of the CAO
Employee Safety

Earthquake Safety at Work

California is known as earthquake country and in the Bay Area, there are four major faults running in a north-south direction. The San Andreas Fault runs from Marin County through San Francisco County. The Hayward earthquake fault and its extension run through Alameda County. Some experts consider the extensions to be separate faults and have named them accordingly. The faults and their locations are:

  • The San Andreas Fault runs from Marin County through San Francisco County
  • The Greenville Fault runs from Concord though Livermore
  • The Calaveras Fault runs along the Danville - Pleasanton - Fremont corridor
  • The Hayward Fault runs along the Berkeley - Oakland - Fremont corridor

In 2003, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated that, in the next 30 years, an earthquake with a 6.7 magnitude or greater will strike the San Francisco Bay Area with a 62% probability. The USGS gave the Hayward Fault a 27% probability, the Calaveras Fault an 11% probability, and the Greenville Fault a 3% probability.

Given the locations of these faults and the probabilities of a major earthquake, it makes good sense to be prepared. Here are some tips:

What to do before an earthquake

Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning at any time of the day or night.

  • Have an evacuation plan
  • Have earthquake safety kits ready at home, in your car, and in your workplace
  • Have earthquake drills periodically
  • Have your home and workplace setup so that objects are secured. Bookcases, cabinets, mirrors, pictures, and other objects should be located and secured so that they do not fall over and injure you or block your escape route.

What to do during an earthquake

  • When Indoors:
    • Don't panic.
    • Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped
    • Duck, cover, and hold. Duck under a desk or sturdy table, cover your head, and hold onto the leg of the desk or table
    • Stay away from windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants, and other heavy objects that could fall on you.
  • When Outdoors:
    • Move to a clear area away from trees, buildings, electrical wires and poles.
    • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
    • If you're DRIVING, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards.
    • Stay there until the shaking stops.

What to do after earthquake

  • Remain calm and reassure others.
  • Follow your disaster preparedness plan and meet at the designated area.
  • Wait for further instructions from your supervisor.


Each Agency/Department should have a disaster preparedness plan. For assistance in developing or updating your plan, Please contact Laura Kitsch, Risk Analyst / Safety Manager at 510-272-6698 or tie-line 2-6698.

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