Urgent Alert

Natural disaster safety

Protect yourself and your family during a natural disaster

Update your contact information to receive important alerts to stay safe and informed.

Follow these guidelines to prepare for emergencies

Be prepared for an earthquake

You can do many things to keep your home and family safe during a major earthquake. Preparing for such an event is important. Know what to do before, during and after a disaster. Establish a plan for your family to help ensure their safety.

Gather information to help keep you and your family safe:

  • Prepare an emergency plan, and practice the plan. Learn how to create an emergency plan. Visit emergency preparedness.
  • Ensure that your emergency preparedness kit is up-to-date. Make sure that your kit allows your family to take care of themselves for at least three days. A kit that can last up to one week is ideal. Visit emergency preparedness kit.
  • Have your building and appliances inspected to make sure they can withstand an earthquake. Learn more about structural safety below.
  • Locate your gas service shutoff valve and learn how to turn off your home’s gas. Gas shutoff includes your main line and individual appliances. Learn more about shutting off gas. Visit turn your gas off.
  • Avoid turning off your home’s gas without a clear sign that it is leaking. Depending on how many customers are without gas service, it may take an extended period of time for PG&E to turn your gas services back on.
  • Locate your main electric switch and learn how to turn off your electric supply.

Stay indoors if you are already inside. Take cover under a sturdy desk or table. Stay away from exterior walls, windows and masonry structures (such as fireplaces). Also, avoid tall furniture, hanging pictures and mirrors.

Follow these guidelines to stay safe during an earthquake:

  • Turn off the stove if you’re cooking before you take cover.
  • Stay away from buildings and power lines if you’re outdoors. Remain in open areas. Also, stay alert for falling debris.
  • Pull your vehicle over to the side of the road if you’re driving. Move the vehicle out of the path of traffic. Don’t stop on or under overpasses, bridges or tunnels. Don’t stop near electrical power lines, light posts, trees or signs. Stay in your car until the earthquake is over.

Follow these guidelines to stay safe after an earthquake occurs:

  • Make sure everyone around you is safe.
  • Inspect your building for damage. If you think that gas is leaking, don’t use anything electric. The spark can ignite the gas. Electrical items include switches, appliances and telephones.
  • Evacuate the building if you think a gas line is broken. Find a phone away from the building and call 9-1-1 immediately, then call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. Turn off the gas service shutoff valve typically located near the gas meter, if it’s safe to do so.
  • Evacuate the building if leaking gas starts to burn. Do not try to put the flame out. Call 9-1-1 immediately and then call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000. Turn off the gas service shutoff valve typically located near the gas meter, if it’s safe to do so.
  • Avoid turning off your home’s gas without a clear sign that it is leaking. It may take a long time for PG&E to turn your gas services back on.
  • Check for downed or damaged electric utility lines. Stay away from downed or damaged power lines and never touch them. Downed wires can still carry current and can shock, injure or even kill if touched.
  • Check for damaged household electrical wiring. Shut off the power at the main electric switch if you suspect any damage. If your power goes out, turn off all electric appliances and unplug major electric appliances. This action helps prevent possible damage to the appliances when the power is restored.

Discover earthquake safety resources

Plan and prepare for earthquakes with various online and print resources.

Many articles are available on the State of California Seismic Safety Commission, Division of the State Architect (DSA) and the Office of Emergency Services websites:

Check out the "First Aid and Survival Guide" and “Earthquake Preparedness” sections in your phone book. This information can help ensure your safety during an earthquake. You can find additional info on the following websites:

Evaluate your home gas system for earthquake safety

The most common earthquake damage to a building's gas system results from structural damage to the building and the movement or toppling of gas appliances. Inspect your building and appliances to ensure they can withstand a significant earthquake.

Follow these guidelines to keep gas systems safe during an earthquake:

  • Restrain water heaters and other gas appliances or furniture to prevent tipping. Stay safer by preventing gas appliances, especially water heaters, from moving or falling over during an earthquake. California law requires that all new or replacement water heaters are braced, anchored or strapped to resist falling or moving during an earthquake. Commercially available hardware kits provide a reliable means to restrain water heaters, and other guidelines for earthquake bracing.
  • If your water heater is on an elevated platform, ensure that the platform is properly reinforced to withstand the weight of the water heater during an earthquake.
  • Use flexible gas piping connections to connect all gas appliances to the gas houseline (the gas pipe connecting your appliances to the gas meter) to reduce the likelihood of damage if movement occurs.
  • Have an appliance gas shutoff valve installed at each gas appliance. The valve enables you to turn off the gas to the appliance only if there is a gas leak, or the appliance needs to be replaced or serviced.

Appropriately constructed or strengthened buildings are less likely to collapse or sustain significant damage. Therefore, they reduce the potential of damaging the buildings' gas systems. Consider taking steps to ensure that your buildings are structurally designed and constructed or retrofitted to withstand a significant earthquake.


Learn about soft story buildings

One risk-prone building type is a "soft story" building. These buildings are constructed with large open wall areas on the ground floor. This construction puts them at greater risk of earthquake collapse than other buildings. Constructed before building code changes in the 1970’s, the buildings are generally wood frame with ground floors dedicated to garages or retail spaces and residential units above.


Find more information about soft story buildings on the following websites:


Explore retrofit measures

Following are examples of retrofit measures for a variety of building types:

  • Reinforcing building foundations and walls
  • Anchoring a building to its foundation
  • Bracing perimeter foundation cripple walls
  • Reinforcing masonry chimneys

How to stay safe during a flood


Shutting off your gas and electricity

PG&E suggests that you shut off your gas and electricity during major flooding, if you know how to do so safely. This action can prevent damage to the gas and electrical equipment in your home.


Learn how to turn off your gas

Follow these guidelines to turn off your home’s gas safely:

  • Turn off all your gas appliances.
  • Turn off the gas shutoff valve at each appliance. 
  • If you can’t shut off gas to an appliance, turn off the gas at the gas service shutoff valve typically located near the gas meter. Learn more about gas safety.


Learn how to turn off your electricity

Turn off the electric supply to the entire household at the main electric switch. Never touch the electric switch or circuit breaker with wet hands or while standing in water. Learn more about turning your electricity on and off.

Resources that may help during an emergency

Information on emergency plans, earthquake preparedness, disaster assistance, and the OES.

Visit California's Office of Emergency Services (OES)

Information on emergency preparedness, disaster safety, disaster services, educational materials, and the American Red Cross.

Visit The American Red Cross

Information on hazards, emergency preparedness and response, disaster assistance, educational materials, and FEMA.

Visit Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

More on safety

Create an emergency plan

Make sure you and your family are prepared by creating a plan.

Severe weather safety

Find important information on storms and heat waves, and how PG&E can help.

Wildfire preparedness and support

Take steps to keep your family or business safe from wildfires.