NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA.com) — Many Southern Californians have been tracking Hurricane Harvey.

But if the Los Angeles region ever has a disaster on a scale like we have seen in Texas it’s likely to be a massive earthquake.

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In the 1994 Northridge earthquake, 57 people died and 8,700 were injured.

As KCAL9/CBS2’s Randy Paige reports, an earthquake is likely to trigger more than one disaster — damage from the quake itself, fires from ruptured gas lines and flooding from ruptured water lines.

Experts say preparation is the key to saving lives.

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Related: LA County Emergency Survival Guide

First have a plan in place long before the earthquake hits.

  • This should be number one — identify safe spots in each room to take cover. Under tables or desks for example.
  • Identify an escape route out of your home in case it catches fire.
  • Identify meeting places outside so you can gather your family together after the shaking stops.
  • Select an out of state contact so all of your family members in the disaster area have a way to communicate.
  • Store plenty of food and water that will last at least a week.
  • And this is really important — practice your plan. Conduct annual earthquake drills in every room so your family knows what to do when the shaking starts.

The damage from an earthquake doesn’t stop when the ground stops shaking. The fires that are sure to follow can be as devastating as the earthquake itself.

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Probably the single most important thing to remember is when you just begin to feel the ground shake, don’t go outside. That’s the worst place to be. When you feel the ground shake stop, drop and take cover.