Learn about earthquakes. Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning at any time of the day or night. If an earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage. Although there are no guarantees of safety during an earthquake, identifying potential hazards ahead of time. Advance planning can save lives and significantly reduce injuries and property damage.
Familiarize yourself with these terms:
Have Earthquake Safety Kits ready:
- At home
- In your car
- Out of your home (i.e. school / office)
Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that a larger earthquake might occur after the initial quake. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped. 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 covered or well protected environment until the shaking stops and hold onto your cover. If it moves, move with it. 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.
Stay there. If you're OUTDOORS, move to a clear area away from trees, signs, buildings, electrical wires and poles. Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. 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 outdoor fatalities have 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 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. 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.