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Earthquakes and Tsunami

Mill Valley is located within 40 miles of 8 different faults. The US Geological Survey predicts that we face a 62% chance of a major earthquake within the next 25 years.

It could occur while you are sleeping tonight, it could occur while you are at work tomorrow. It could occur while your children are at school or visiting friends. Take responsibility now to minimize your risks and be able to take care of yourself and your family during and after an earthquake.

During an Earthquake:

A major earthquake will cause violent ground shaking and may make it impossible to stand up. At the first sign of shaking, take cover and protect yourself from falling or flying objects.

If you are indoors:

  • Move away from bookcases, cabinets, glass doors and windows. Avoid hanging objects.
  • Drop – immediately drop to the ground where you are.
  • Cover – take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
  • Hold on – hold on to something sturdy and stay where you are until the shaking stops.

If you are outdoors:

  • Move to an open area away from power lines, buildings and trees.
  • Try to take cover under a picnic table or bench.
  • If you are near tall buildings, take cover inside a doorway to avoid falling glass and debris.
  • If you are driving move to the side of the road and stop. Avoid stopping beneath overhead hazards.
  • If you are near the shore, move to higher ground. There may be a tsunami.

Move carefully, there may be aftershocks.

After the shaking stops:

  • Check yourself and the others around you for injuries.
  • Check for dangerous conditions such as structural damage, gas leak or fires. Turn off the gas only if you suspect a leak.

Tune your radio to KQED 88.5 FM, KCBS 740 AM or KGO 810 AM and local TV stations for further information. Visit the Warnings and Alerts page for more information.

Helpful Links:


A tsunami is a series of seismic sea waves caused by movements along faults, undersea landslides, volcanic eruptions or similar events. A seismic or other geologic event in the Pacific Ocean may cause tsunami activity along the California coast.

Tsunami Warning Signs

  • An earthquake is a natural tsunami warning. If you hear of an earthquake be aware of the possibility of a tsunami and listen to the radio or television for additional information. (link to Warnings and Alerts page)
  • Witnesses have reported that an approaching tsunami is sometimes preceded by a noticeable fall or rise in the water level. If you see the ocean receding rapidly or far away, it's a good sign that a big wave is on its way. Go to high ground immediately.

Follow these guidelines for what you should do if a tsunami is likely in your area:

  • Turn on your radio to learn if there is a tsunami warning.
  • Move inland to higher ground immediately and stay there.
  • Stay away from the beach. Never go down to the beach to watch a tsunami come in. If you can see the wave you are too close to escape it.

CAUTION - If there is noticeable recession in water away from the shoreline, this is nature's tsunami warning and it should be heeded. You should move away immediately.

Helpful Links:

Download the Disaster Plan Worksheet and Family Emergency Plan Worksheet.