Contact: Mark Benthien

Tel: (213) 740-0323



For release on Saturday, April 10, 2004


Los Angeles, CA – (April 10, 2004) – “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country”, a handbook for preparing for earthquakes in Southern California,  is now available  at Home Depot stores.


The handbook was developed by the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) at USC, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).


It provides practical information on what people should know about earthquakes, why they should care about them, and how they can prepare themselves so they stay safe while reducing the risk of damage to their household contents.


The topics covered include the seven steps of earthquake safety and preparedness and basic facts about earthquakes.


“The first thing to do is to identify potential hazards in your home,” said Lucy Jones, the handbook’s co-author and a USGS scientist. “We need to secure the contents of our homes to reduce the risk of breakage, as well as to limit the possibility of injury to ourselves.


“Earthquake preparedness is not just about stopping buildings from falling down, it’s also about everyday household mitigation. What that means is securing top-heavy items of furniture such as wall units, china cabinets and TVs. If it’s heavy enough to injure you if it falls on you, it needs to be fastened down.”


The handbook also provides guidelines on what to do during and after an earthquake, said Mark Benthien, co-author and director of SCEC’s education programs.


“It outlines how to create a disaster plan, and explains why we should take the time to learn more about the ever-present threat of earthquakes,” he said.


In addition to the updated handbook, a new website has also been created:, which has answers to frequently asked questions and an online version of the handbook.


During Earthquake Preparedness Month, ‘Putting Down roots’ will be available at Home Depot stores throughout Southern California. Home Depot has offered its stores as distribution locations for the free document as part of its commitment to making California a better and safer community.


Earthquake safety expos will be held at selected Home Depot stores during April.