Am I at risk living in San Diego county?

We commonly receive emails with the following questions:

How often do earthquakes strike San Diego?

Small (<2.0) earthquakes are very common in San Diego County. This is due to the active fault zones in the region such as the San Andreas and San Jacinto Fault systems [to see the distribution of faults in the region, click here]. When earthquakes are this small, you will not even feel them when they are happening. To get an understanding of the concept of earthquake MAGNITUDE, we have prepared a page that describes the various scaling systems that are used to determine earthquake size. You can see the high frequency of small earthquakes that we experience by viewing our Current Earthquake maps

When they do occur, what can I expect to happen in my apartment? Where should I hide to protect myself?

You will normally only start to feel an earthquake when the magnitude is greater than 4.0, and this will typically take the form of slight shaking, and hanging objects (such as plants, pictures) wobbling. The last time we had an earthquake of significant size close to San Diego county was in October 1999 and this occurred in the desert far to the east of San Diego city, close to Hector Mine. You can see the Special Event page we made of this earthquake by clicking here.

In the rare occurrence of a large (>7) earthquake in San Diego county the safest place to be inside your home is under sturdy tables, desks, or against interior walls away from unsecured items. If you cannot access any of these, stand in a corner away from any unsecured items.

If you are outdoors, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines.

If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside your car until the shaking is over.

If you are in a crowded place, do not rush for the doors. Crouch and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.

After an earthquake, unless there is an immediate life-threatening emergency, do not attempt to use the telephone. Check for gas and water leaks, broken wiring or sewage lines. If there is damage, turn the utlility off at the source and immediately report gas leaks to your utility provider. Check your building for cracks and damage, do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency. Turn ON your portable radio for instructions and news reports.

Be prepared for aftershocks. If you evacuate, leave a message at your home telling family and friends where you have gone.

Click here to download a PDF file that explains what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Click here to download a PDF file that explains how to secure your furniture during an earthquake.

What sort of supplies should I have?

Store enough supplies for at least 72 hours. The following is a list from the California Governor's Office:


Sanitation Supplies

Safety and Comfort


Tools and supplies

Where can I go for further information?

URL: [Last updated: 2015-10-22 (295) 23:07:44 UTC]