What To Do

If inside:
  • Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place
  • Do not try to leave the building because objects may fall on you
  • If you are in bed, stay there and try to protect yourself with a pillow
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it is safe to exit
  • Stay away from windows
The general rule is to drop, cover and hold on. That means drop under a predetermined table / desk, hold on to one of the legs, and cover your eyes by holding your head down. If in a high-rise building expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during an earthquake.

Coastal Areas
If you are in a coastal area, move to higher ground. Earthquakes may cause large ocean waves called tsunamis.

If outside:
  • Try to find a clear spot away from buildings trees, streetlights, and power lines
  • Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops
  • If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location
  • Stop and stay there with your seat belt fastened until the shaking has stopped
After an Earthquake
Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself from further injuries by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves. Once you have taken care of yourself, try to help others in need of medical attention. Help neighbors who may require special assistance. Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies. If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe. Additional things to be aware of after an earthquake include:
  • Do not use elevators
  • Carefully inspect chimney for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to fire or injury from falling debris
  • Look for and extinguish small fires
  • Clean up spilled medicine, bleach, gasoline, and flammable liquids immediately
  • Open closet and cabinet doors cautiously, contents may have shifted during the earthquake and could fall creating further damage or injury
  • Inspect your home for damage
    • Take pictures of the damage to the house and its contents for insurance claims
    • Get everyone out if your home is unsafe
Gas Leaks
Leave the gas on at the main valve unless you smell gas or think it is leaking. If you do turn off your gas, do not try to turn it back on yourself. Improperly doing so may cause large explosions.

Entering Buildings

Stay out of damaged buildings. When entering buildings use extreme caution:
  • Examine walls, floor, doors, staircases, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing
  • Check for gas leaks
  • Look for electrical system damage (sparks, broken or frayed wires). If you find any damage, turn off electricity immediately
  • Check for sewage and water line damage
  • Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall
Helpful Tips
  • Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to inspect your home
  • Listen to a portable, battery-operated radio or television for updated emergency information and instructions
  • Expect aftershocks. When you feel one, drop, cover, and hold on