Earthquakes

During an Earthquake

Drop, Cover and Hold On. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.

If Indoors

  1. DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and 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.
  2. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  3. Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
  4. Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  5. DO NOT use the elevators.
  6. Be aware that the electricity may go out and the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

If Outdoors

  1. Stay there.
  2. Move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires.
  3. Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If in a Moving Vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires. Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If Trapped Under Debris

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

After an Earthquake

When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move. Then exit the building. Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.

Help injured or trapped persons. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance such as infants, the elderly, and people with access and functional needs. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.

Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information. Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organizations.

After it is determined that it's safe to return, your safety should be your primary priority as you begin clean up and recovery.

Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.

Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.

Inspect utilities.

  • If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building and notify Police and/or Facilities Management.
  • If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation notify Police and/or Facilities Management
  • If water pipes are damaged, contact Facilities Management and avoid using water from the tap.