Residential Life { Division of Student Affairs/Enrollment Management }

Image: Photos of SF State students and scenes from around campus

72 HOURS... Are you prepared?

Tornados, fires, tsunamis, could all happen in the bay area. By and large though, the disaster we as residents at SFSU, should all get prepared for is an earthquake. The majority of experts agree that it is not “if” we (bay area) are going to have an earthquake, but “when”. Therefore it is important for all of us to plan and prepare. Develop a personal preparedness plan, review safety tips on what to do during an earthquake, institute some basic precautions within your room or apartment do reduce hazards during an earthquake, and prepare an emergency supply kit full of supplies.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends the following precautions to take to help prepare your room or apartment:

  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
  • Brace top heavy objects.
  • Immediately report any defective lights or plugs to the Service Desk (415-405-0579). Additionally, report any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations.
  • Weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products should not be stored in your room or apartment.
  • Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Perform practice drills with your roommate(s) to reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.

FEMA lists the following safety actions during an earthquake:

Drop, cover and Hold On.

Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.


If Indoors

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

If Outdoors

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If in a Moving Vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If Trapped Under Debris

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

Prepare an emergency supply kit...

Additionally, many of the services we take for granted, such as running water, refrigeration, and telephones, including cell phones, may be unavailable. The Dining Center may even be damaged and unable to provide food or supplies. We may not be able to travel for many hours or even days.

Therefore, it is recommended that everyone have emergency supplies and first aid kits prepared ahead of time. Though it may be impractical or unaffordable to get everything listed below, all at once, it would be prudent to begin collecting the items, and periodically adding more items as time goes on.

When planning out your emergency supply kits keep in mind, supplies should be placed in a large, watertight container which you could store easily in your room.

Additionally it is a good idea to have a separate to “Go Bag”, filled with a few necessary items, which you can carry with you while evacuating...


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that your emergency kit should contain...

  • Water – one gallon per day
  • Food – ready to eat
  • Manual can opener
  • Plates and utensils
  • First Aid kit & instructions
  • Warm clothes
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Disposable camera
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
  • Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
  • Plastic sheeting, duct tape and utility knife for covering broken windows
  • Tools such as a hammer & wrench
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Large heavy duty plastic bags
  • A copy of important documents & phone numbers

Your Go-Bag should include...

  • Radio – battery operated
  • Batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust mask
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash
  • Sturdy shoes,
  • a change of clothes,
  • and a warm hat
  • Local map
  • Some water and food
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Permanent marker, paper and tape
  • Photos of family members
  • List of emergency contact numbers
  • List of allergies to drugs & foods
  • Copy of health insurance cards
  • Prescription medications
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

For more information on being prepared for a disaster, including a more inclusive list of items to keep in your emergency kits, and more information on developing an emergency plan, you can go to the FEMA, ready.gov website: http://www.ready.gov/; or the SFSU Police department website directs individuals to San Francisco’s disaster preparedness website at www.72hours.org.

Additionally for more information on emergency preparedness; Emergency Notification System; CPR and First Aid; crime reports; and safety education, at SFSU, please check out www.sfsu.edu/~upd.


*All information was either adapted, worded, or resourced from:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency: http://www.ready.gov/;
And from the City and County of San Francisco 72hours.org website: www.72hours.org.

*Additionally all graphics, except for the Residential Life logo, are clip art from Microsoft: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/

SF State Home