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During an Earthquake

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The instant you feel the ground or building start to shake, move quickly to protect yourself. Be aware that some tremors are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might follow.

  • If indoors, drop to the ground and take cover by getting under a sturdy table or a piece of furniture. Hold on until the shaking stops.
  • If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or heavy bookcases.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is nearby and if you know it is a strongly supported.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to move about. Injuries most often occur when people inside buildings attempt to move during the earthquake. Beware of aftershocks.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out, sprinkler systems may turn on, and fire alarms may be activated.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.


  • Stay outside. Do not try to enter any buildings to help others.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in an open, safer location, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at building entrances/exits, and alongside exterior walls where there may be falling debris.

In a moving vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits. Avoid stopping near buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.

Trapped under debris

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing to help filter the air you breathe.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if you have one. Shout only as a last resort to minimize inhaling dust that could be dangerous.