FEMA: Earthquake Fact Sheet
During an Earthquake
- Take cover under a piece of heavy furniture or against an inside wall and hold on.
- Stay inside. The most dangerous thing to do during the shaking of an earthquake is to try to leave the building because objects can fall on you.
- Move into the open, away from buildings, street lights, and utility wires.
- Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.
If in a moving vehicle:
- Stop quickly and stay in the vehicle.
- Move to a clear area away from buildings, trees, overpasses, or utility wires.
- Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.
After an Earthquake
- Be prepared for aftershocks. Although smaller than the main shock, aftershocks cause additional damage and may bring weakened structures down. Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
- Help injured or trapped persons. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance -- infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
- Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
- Open closet and cupboard doors cautiously.
- Inspect the entire length of chimneys carefully for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire.
- Check for gas leaks--If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can. Gas should only be turned on by a professional.
- Look for electrical system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker.
- Check for sewage and water lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap.
Pets after an Earthquake
- The behavior of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake. Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard.
- Pets may not be allowed into shelters for health and space reasons. Prepare an emergency pen for pets in the home that includes a 3-day supply of dry food and a large container of water.