This year’s Fourth of July BBQ’s and celebrations were interrupted by the sobering reminder that we in Southern California live in earthquake country. The earthquakes in the Ridgecrest/Trona area were far enough away from the highly populated areas of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, but they were close enough to warn us that the Big One is inevitable.

At Forest Lawn, we are big believers in being prepared in all facets of life — financial planning, funeral planning, and emergency planning.  With October 17 being the Great ShakeOut, a day dedicated to earthquake preparedness, now is a good time to create a family and a workplace emergency plan.

A good plan starts with a list of contacts and the method of connecting with them if you are separated from your family. Be sure to include out-of-state contacts.  Next, create and learn your evacuation routes for home and work.

Preparing a disaster supply kit that includes enough food, water and medications that could last for at least 10 days is a must. Around your home, secure televisions, monitors, bookcases or other items that hang on walls. Inspect the inside and outside of your home for items that could be damaged or fall and cause injury. Secure these items with braces, bolts, straps and other materials available at disaster preparedness outlets.

When an earthquake hits and sthe shaking starts, remember to DROP, COVER and HOLD ON, or for wheelchair or walker users LOCK, COVER and HOLD ON. It’s a good idea to perform these drills at home and at work from time to time.

For more information on the Great ShakeOut and earthquake preparedness, visit