When you feel an earthquake, duck under a desk or sturdy table. Stay away from windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants, and other heavy objects that could fall. Watch out for falling plaster and ceiling tiles. Stay under cover until the shaking stops. Hold onto your cover. If it moves, move with it. Here are some additional tips for specific locations.
If you’re in a HIGH-RISE BUILDING, and you are not near a desk or table, move against an interior wall, and protect your head with your arms. Do not use the elevators. Do not be surprised if the alarm or sprinkler systems come on. Stay indoors, glass windows can dislodge during the quake and sail for hundreds of feet.
If you’re OUTDOORS, move to a clear area, away from trees, signs, buildings, or electrical wires and poles.
If you’re on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster, and other debris.
If you’re DRIVING, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.
If you’re in a CROWDED STORE OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACE, do not rush for exits. Move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.
If you’re in a WHEELCHAIR, stay in it. Move to cover, if possible, lock your wheels, and protect your head with your arms.
If you’re in the KITCHEN, move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards. (Take time NOW to anchor appliances and install security latches on cupboard doors to
reduce hazards.)
If you’re in a STADIUM OR THEATER, stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms.
Do not try to leave until the shaking is over. Then leave in a calm, orderly manner. Avoid rushing toward exits.  


  • Be prepared for aftershocks, and plan where you will take cover when they occur.
  • Check for injuries. Give first aid as necessary.
  • Remain calm and reassure others.
  • Avoid broken glass.
  • Check for fire. Take appropriate actions and precautions.
  • Check gas, water and electric lines. If damaged, shut off service.
  • If gas is leaking, don’t use matches,flashlights, appliances or electric switches. Open windows, leave building and report to gas company.
  • Replace all telephone receivers and use for emergency calls only.
  • Tune to the emergency broadcast station on radio or television. Listen for emergency bulletins.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.


  • Create a Family Earthquake Plan.
  • Know the safe spot in each room. Under sturdy tables, desks, or against inside walls.
  • Know the danger spots. Windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces, and tall furniture.
  • Conduct practice drills. Physically place yourself and your children in safe locations.
  • Learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) from your local Red Cross or other community organization.
  • Decide where your family will reunite if separated.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
  • Choose an out-of-state friend or relative whom family members can call after the quake to report your condition.


  • Learn how to shut off gas, water, and electricity
    in case the lines are damaged.
  • Check chimneys, roofs and wall foundations for stability.
    Note: If your home was built before
    1935, make sure your house is bolted
    to its foundation. If your home is on
    a raised foundation make sure the
    cripple walls have been made into
    shear walls. Call a licensed
    contractor if you have any questions.
  • Secure water heater and appliances that could move enough to rupture utility lines.
  • Keep breakable and heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Put latches on cabinet doors to keep them closed during shaking.
  • Keep flammable or hazardous liquids such as paints, pest sprays or cleaning products in cabinets or secured on lower shelves.
  • Maintain emergency food, water, medicine, first aid kit, tools and clothing.


During an earthquake, stay away from heavy furniture, appliances. Large panes of glass, shelves holding heavy objects, and masonry veneer (such as the fireplace). These items tend to fall or break and can injure you. Usually, a hallway is one of the safest places if it is not crowded with objects. Kitchens and garages tend to be the most dangerous. Also know the safest place in each room. It will be difficult to move from one place to another during a severe earthquake.

Always know all the possible ways to exit your house and work place in emergency situations. Try to discover exits that would only be available to you in an emergency (windows).

Know the location of the shut-off valves for water, gas, and electricity, and how to operate the valves. If you are not sure, contact your utility company.

After an earthquake, you should be concerned with your own safety before taking care of your pets. Storing extra food and water for pets is always a good idea. Keep pets in a secure place at home after an earthquake. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are evacuated, PETS will not be allowed at the emergency shelter.

After a damaging earthquake, emergency shelters and temporary medical centers will be set up in your community. Contact your local and state Office of Emergency Services to find out the plans for your area.

Know your neighbors and their skills: you may be able to help each other after an earthquake. Also know where to go to help your community after a disaster. It may be days before outside emergency assistance arrives. It is important to help each other.

Make a plan on where and how to unite family members. Choose a person outside the immediate area to contact if family members are separated. Long distance phone service will probably be restored sooner than local service. Remember, don’t use the phone immediately after an earthquake, and make local calls only for emergencies.

There will be many things to take care of after an earthquake. Make a plan with your family, friends, and neighbors assigning specific responsibilities to each person. Remember that it may be difficult to get around after an earthquake, so each person’s tasks should be related to where they may be.

You need to identify a secure location outside your home where family members can leave messages for each other. This way if you’re separated, and unable to remain in your home, your family will know where to go to find you. You don’t want to publicize that you are not at home. That is why this location should be secure and discreet, i.e., under a paving stone, inside a tin can, in the back yard, etc.

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One thought on “EARTHQUAKE TIPS

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