I live in Oregon. We are on the Ring of Fire (Earthquake, Volcano, Tsunami Zone) however we do not get many earthquakes, like our neighbor to the south. We have been told "The Big One" should come soon. Of course, in geographic terms soon is within the next 100-150 years. We have had "more" within the last 20 years, but they have been "smaller" ones. Now that we have our own house I am planning on taking this risk more seriously and bolting down bookcases, watching where pictures are hung, and such.
Check out the Earthquake Resource Thread
for a lot of good information. There is also this video
about earthquakes. Also I would look up the video "Nature's Fury." We used to have a link
but National Geographic removed the video. NetFlix also has taken it off instant, but it is available by DVD and through many libraries.
One thing to keep in mind is that just because it is not common to have earthquakes in an area, does not mean the can not or have never happened (Like Washington , D.C.). There are also areas that are in the center of tectonic plates that you would think would be safe but actually have tectonic activity. Hawaii is the first that comes to mind, as does Yellowstone.