During an Earthquake

Earthquake During Icon Large

Indoors

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.

Outdoors

  • 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.