Earthquake Safety Tips

What to do Before an Earthquake?

Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. Repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling, and following local seismic building standards, will help reduce the impact of earthquakes.

Ways to Plan Ahead:

  • Check for Hazards in the Home
  • Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors
  • Educate Yourself and your Family Members
  • Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
  • Develop an Emergency Communication Plan
  • Help Your Community Get Ready
  • Download the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety (PDF)

What to do During an Earthquake?

Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur. 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.

What to do After an Earthquake?

Expect aftershocks. These secondary shock waves 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.

  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls
  • Open cabinets cautiously
  • Stay away from damaged areas
  • Help injured or trapped persons
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, or other flammable liquids immediately