There is always the chance of an earthquake, but there is no way of predicting or giving any warning of when one may occur. In the event of an earthquake, planning and proper response are crucial to protecting yourself. After the first earthquake stops, you must be prepared for aftershocks. Aftershocks can be just as dangerous, because structures have been weakened and objects loosened and these may collapse or fall.
During an Earthquake:
- Do not run out of the building during the shaking as objects may be falling off the building, which could cause serious injuries or death.
- Drop to the ground. Take cover by getting under a sturdy table or desk and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a desk , crouch in an inside corner of the building and cover your head with your hands and arms.
- Stay away from windows and glass, outside walls and doors, and anything that could fall such as light fixtures or furniture.
- Only use a doorway if you know it is strongly supported.
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside, or until instructed to exit by security or property management.
- Do not use elevators.
- Be aware that the electricity may go out and the fire alarms and sprinklers may turn on.
- Stay there and move away from buildings, structures, streetlights, utility wires, and anything else that may fall.
- Be aware that the ground will be shifting and may open and create a hole or crevice that may close again.
- Do not move from the area you are in until the shaking stops. Remember that aftershocks can be just as bad as the earthquake itself.
If You Are Trapped Under Debris:
- Stay calm. Do not move frantically or kick up dust because you could injure yourself.
- Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing to protect yourself from breathing in dust and other airborne items.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Shout only as a last resort because it could cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
- Do not light a match because materials or fumes around you could ignite.
After an Earthquake:
- After the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move. Then exit the building.
- Pay attention to the direction of security and/or property management staff when exiting the building.
- Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves 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.
- Stay away from damaged areas. Watch for debris holes and crevices in the ground.
- Do not go back into the building until security and property management have deemed it safe to re-enter.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.