Earthquake Safety

Earthquakes can occur anytime, anywhere in California which means all Californians live with the risk of experiencing an earthquake. While the City of Poway is at risk from natural and man-made disasters, an earthquake has the greatest potential for far-reaching loss of life or property and economic damage. Most earthquakes are small and their impact is negligible; however, large damaging earthquakes occur, affecting widespread areas and trigger many secondary effects. Earthquake triggered geologic effects include ground-shaking, surface-fault ruptures, landslides, liquefaction, and tsunamis. Earthquakes have the potential to cause urban fires, dam failures, severed utility services, toxic chemical releases, and blocked transportation corridors.


According to the California Geological Survey, hundreds of fault zones have been identified in the state of which about 200 are considered potentially hazardous based on slip rates in recent geological time. More than 70% of California's population resides within 30 miles of a fault zone where high ground-shaking could occur. Statewide, approximately 22 million people live in the 40%-or-higher shake hazard zone (greater than 6.8 magnitude). In 17 counties, more than 90% of the population lives in the 40%-peak-ground-acceleration-or-higher seismic hazard zone. Only a small portion of San Diego County lies in a high-shake zone, but proximity to the infamous San Andreas Fault is cause for preparedness. The most active faults in San Diego County are the San Jacinto, Elsinore, Rose Canyon, and Coronado Banks faults.

Be Prepared

City of Poway residents, businesses, and visitors are encouraged to prepare for a major earthquake resulting in the significant disruption of routine activities. When preparing for an earthquake, plan on having enough supplies to get you and your family through at least the first 72 hours. After a major earthquake, there's a good chance that traditional emergency response teams will be too busy to take care of you and your family. You need to:

  • Prepare yourself
  • Prepare your family
  • Prepare your home
  • Prepare your neighborhood

For more information on how you can be better prepared and improve your earthquake safety, please visit the following: