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What To Do During An Earthquake

Posted by on 8/23/2011 to Emergency Preparedness

Earthquakes are capable of striking anywhere, anytime. It is important to be prepared no matter where you live. Below is a list of things to do if you find yourself anywhere during an earthquake.
  • If you are INSIDE -
    • Take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or bench or against an inside wall, and hold on. 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 away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
    • If you are in bed when the earthquake strikes, stay there (unless your bed is under a heavy light fixture that can fall, in which case you should move to the nearest safe place). Hold on and protect your head with a pillow.
    • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, load bearing doorway.
    • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Most injuries during earthquakes occur when people are hit by falling objects when entering into or exiting from buildings.
    • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on. DO NOT use the elevators.
  • If you are OUTSIDE -
    • Move away from buildings, utility wires, and tall objects. Stay where you are if you are out of range from anything that could collapse or fall over.
  • If you are in a 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, watching for road and bridge damage.
  • If you become trapped or covered in debris -
    • Move very cautiously and slowly.
    • Try to cover mouth with cloth or dust mask so not to inhale dust or particles.
    • Signal help to rescuers, but try not to yell if there is much debris.
    • Do not light a match or kick up dust.
To learn what kind of survival gear and emergency supplies you should stock up on for earthquakes and other natural disasters, read our Emergency Gear Checklist.
Related Survival Gear: Quake Hold, Gas Shut Off Tool
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