Earthquake Safety Tips


Earthquakes strike without warning and the major quake is usually followed by numerous after shocks, which may last for weeks or months.

An earthquake's effect on buildings will vary from building to building. Fire alarm or sprinkler systems may be activated by the shaking. Elevators and stairways may be damaged.  The area near the exterior walls of a building is the most dangerous place to be.  Windows, facades, and architectural details are often the first parts of the building to collapse.

The major threat of injury during an earthquake is from falling objects and debris, and many injuries are sustained while entering or leaving buildings. Therefore, during the earthquake, it is important to stay away from this danger zone, stay inside if you are inside and outside if you are outside.  Taking the proper actions such as "Drop, Cover, and Hold On", can save lives and reduce the risk of injury.

For additional information on earthquake safety, family emergency plans and emergency kits, visit Ready and The Great California Shake Out


Safety Procedures

  1. Give drop and cover command.
  2. Drop to knees, clasp both hands behind neck, bury face in arms, make body as small as possible, close eyes and cover ears with forearms.
  3. After shaking stops, check for injuries and render first aid, if able.
  4. Evaluate conditions and evacuate if necessary or if ordered by Emergency Personnel or a Building Coordinator or there is a fire, gas leak or other life threatening condition.
  5. Do not light any fires.
  6. Do not return to building unless authorized by Police, Fire and Administration Officials.
  7. Keep a safe distance from any downed power lines.
  8. Report any missing students or persons unable to evacuate to the Building Coordinator and Emergency Personnel.
  9. Stay alert for aftershocks.
  10. For information on Earthquake safety for persons with disabilities see Earthquake Preparedness Guide.
  11. Note: If you use a wheelchair or have other mobility impairments and cannot duck, cover and hold, if possible, bend over, close your eyes and cover your head and neck with your arms or pillow.  Lock the wheel on your wheelchair.


In a Car

  1. Pull to the side of the road, stop and set the parking brake.
  2. Avoid bridges and overhead hazards.
  3. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops.


Inside Buildings

  1. Get under a sturdy desk or table, or in an interior corner, face away from glass. If notebooks, jackets or pillows are handy, hold over your head for added protection.
  2. Stay away from windows, bookcases, heavy objects and other falling hazards.
  3. Drop to knees, clasp both hands behind neck, bury face in arms, make body as small as possible, close eyes and cover ears with forearms.
  4. Maintain position until shaking stops.
  5. Be alert and expect aftershocks.