American Red Cross Urges Preparedness in Wake of Napa Earthquake


In the early morning of August 24, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake rattled through Napa County and surrounding areas, causing injuries, damaging homes, business and utilities, and delivering a jarring wake-up call to Californians reminding of our earthquake risks.

“In California, the risk of earthquakes is always present so it is critical that we understand how to be prepared for when – not if – the next quake will strike,” said Kathleen Weis, Chief Executive Officer of the Red Cross Capital Region. “While the Capital Region may not be known as earthquake hot spots, earthquake safety and preparedness is a necessity for all Californians.”

According to the United States Geological Survey, various levels of shaking from Sunday’s quake were felt throughout a widespread area of central California, including many areas within our 24-county Capital Region.

Disasters can strike at any time in any place. It is critical to have the knowledge and resources to react and respond quickly and safely when disaster strikes.

Earthquake Safety Tips

The Red Cross has several tips and resources to help people learn what to do before, during and after an earthquake –

If someone is in inside when the shaking starts:

  • They should drop to the ground, take cover and hold on. Move as little as possible. Try to protect the head and torso. If sitting at a desk or table, get under it and hold on to it until the shaking stops. Otherwise, drop wherever they are.
  • If someone is in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect the head with a pillow.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to exit.
  • Use stairs to exit the building rather than an elevator.
  • Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.

If someone is outside when the shaking starts:

  • Move as little as possible. Find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights and drop to the ground until the shaking stops.
  • If in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with the seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
  • If a power line falls on the vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
  • If in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.

Download the American Red Cross Earthquake App

The free American Red Cross Earthquake App for iPhone and Android mobile devices gives users instant access to local and real-time information in order to help them make crucial decisions. People can view the app in English or Spanish based on user settings.

Features of the app include:

  • Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;
  • Earthquake epicenter location, impact magnitude and local geographical impact data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey;
  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters.

The Earthquake App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or at Additional earthquake safety information is available at

This year also marks the 20th and 25th anniversaries of the devastating Northridge (1994) and Loma Prieta (1989) earthquakes. As we reflect on those disasters, the Red Cross also encourages people to turn awareness into action and register for the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, coming up on October 16. Last year, more than 9.6 million Californians learned what to do in case of an earthquake and practiced it by participating in the event.

People can take part by registering at and practicing themselves or with others wherever they happen to be at the time.

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American Red Cross Opens Two Evacuation Centers Following Napa Quake


American Red Cross evacuation centers are now open in Napa and Vallejo for anyone affected by Sunday’s early morning 6.1 magnitude earthquake near American Canyon, California.


  • In Napa: Crosswalk Community Church, 2590 1st Street, open for overnight stays
  • In Vallejo: Florence Douglas Center, 333 Amador Street, could become an overnight shelter, if needed Vallejo shelter closed as of 5:00pm 8/24

“The shelters offer safety for people who were literally shaken awake,” said Tim Miller, Regional CEO, American Red Cross California Northwest Region. “The Red Cross will be here for as long as we can offer our services.”

As the community continues to assess the extent of the damage from the quake and the aftershocks that are still coming, the Red Cross reminds everyone to use caution.


The Red Cross currently has enough supplies to assist those affected by the quake. In-kind donations of water, clothes, and other material goods is NOT needed and will not be accepted at Red Cross shelters.

Help people affected by disasters like earthquakes in California and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


  • Watch for downed power lines
  • Stay away from any buildings or infrastructure that may be unsafe
  • Check on neighbors
  • If you smell gas in the home, turn the gas off at the meter (once you do this your gas will need to be turned back on by the power company)

The community is also reminded to use social media sparingly, avoiding the urge to watch live streaming and the like so as not to clog the system for more important communications.

“In Northern California we are vulnerable to quakes,” said Miller, “and we could have an even stronger one in the future. If there was ever a time to think about being prepared, it is now.”


Download the American Red Cross Earthquake App.  If you have power (or when you do), download this free app for iphones, Androids and ipads. You will find information on how to prepare for and what to do during an earthquake, and how to check your home after the earthquake is over. You can also set up alerts for letting your loved ones know you are okay via Twitter or Facebook.

Debrief with your family or housemates. Talk with your family members or housemates about their experience with this earthquake, and what worked and what didn’t work about your family plan. Now is the best time to fix any issues with the plan, whether it is choosing a place to meet or finding an out of the area contact to call if local lines are down. You can also make a list of the items it is now obvious you would need the next time there is an earthquake.

Stay aware of current news reports. Rely only on reputable sources for your information, whether it be TV, radio, or social media. After disaster comes chaos at times, and it can take a while for everyone to get on the same page with critical information.

About American Red Cross

As a community-based, humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross provides relief to those affected by disasters and empowers individuals in our community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.  By helping people learn how to take care of their families and neighbors, the Red Cross strengthens the community and makes it ready for all types of disasters, including home fires, earthquakes, wildfires and health emergencies. Visit to learn more. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.


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Throwback Thursday – “Volunteers”


While recently digging through the archives at the offices of our Northeastern California Chapter (formerly known, as indicated in the following text, as the “Three Rivers Chapter”), we came across a lovely poem written 10 years ago by a young volunteer by the name of Danielle E. Terry.

It’s a short, sweet, and timeless tribute to the amazing heart and compassion of Red Cross volunteers. Thank you for the touching words, Danielle. As true then as they are today…


It’s not for the money
It’s not for the fame
It’s not for the glory
Or any personal gain

It’s to help
To lend a hand
To be a part
And Understand

Full of pride
Being a member
of this team

Give us all
Three big cheers
For we are all
Red Cross Volunteers!

By Danielle Terry, 15 Years Old
November 3, 2004
A Volunteer, Three Rivers Chapter Red Cross

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American Red Cross of Northeastern California CEO, Martha Griese, Retiring Following 10 Years of Dedicated Service

Red Cross of Northeastern California CEO, Martha Griese. Photo by Appeal Democrat

Red Cross of Northeastern California CEO, Martha Griese. Photo by Appeal Democrat

It was December of 1955 when torrential rains caused rivers to overflow and levees to break throughout Northern California. The resulting floods left many homes destroyed and families looking for help.

Among those to lose their home in the disaster was elementary school student, Martha Griese. For Martha and her family, as with all who had lost their homes, the impact was devastating. But Martha soon found comfort and hope in the form of the many Red Cross volunteers responding to provide disaster relief. Continue reading

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Families Gather For Support in the Midst of NorCal Fires

Smoke rises from the Eiler Fire and Bald Fire. Photo by Ryan Albaugh

Smoke rises from the Eiler Fire and Bald Fire. Photo by Ryan Albaugh

Written by Red Cross volunteer, Kimberly Hanlon

Some came on a voluntary evacuation and then there are those who arrived after emergency officials came pounding on their front door. On Saturday night, August 2, as the nearby Eiler Fire and Bald Fire spread across the landscape, residents of Johnson Park were evacuated from their homes, having only 15 minutes to gather what personal belongings they could. Neighbors found themselves in a panic as they processed what was a necessity and what memories were worth leaving behind. Continue reading

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Red Cross at the State Fair


It’s that time of year again in the Capital Region, STATE FAIR TIME! This year the American Red Cross Capital Region has teamed up with long-time partner in emergency preparedness, PG&E, at a couple of booths right in the middle of all the fair action. Continue reading

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American Red Cross Sends Local Volunteers to Aid Eastern Washington Wildfire Response


Aerial photo of Washington wildfires (KOMO News, Seattle).

~Capital Region deploys 16 volunteers to Washington for wildfire relief~

The Carlton Complex fires in eastern Washington has so far burned more than 280,000 acres and destroyed more than 150 homes. Red Cross disaster relief efforts are underway as volunteers from around the country are responding to provide shelter for evacuated residents and emergency relief for all those affected. Continue reading

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