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Safety tips during an earthquake

Updated on March 6, 2016

Useful Information

With the recent earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, I discovered some useful information about staying safe during an earthquake.


Its useful to know that their may be a fore shock before the real earthquake which could be a lot bigger. Reduce your movements and get to a safe place as soon as possible. Stay there until the shaking has stopped and your able to get out safely.


If you're trapped

Tap or bang on the wall or pipe. This is very important, so that rescuers can here where you may be situated. If you have a whistle at hand, use that to attract attention. Shouting is only a last resort and can be dangerous, as you'll inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

Try not to move as this will again cause the dust to move around making it easier to breath it in. Remember to cover your mouth with a piece of clothing or anything you can find at hand.

Never light a match, you don't know if gas pipes have burst.

If you're in a moving vehicle

Stay away from roads, bridges and ramps. Proceed with caution.

Stop when you think its safe and stay in your car. Don't go anywhere near utility wires, trees, buildings and overpasses.

If you're outdoors

If your already outside stay there. The danger is beside buildings, outside walls and exits. Fatalities from an earthquake are usually caused by outside walls and people running outside of buildings.

Important: Stay away from utility wires, buildings and street lights.

If you're indoors

When your inside a building get on the floor immediately and find a solid table to get under. If you can't find a table crouch down and cover your neck and arms in an inside corner of the building.

Keep away from doors, glass, outside walls and doors, fixtures and furnishings, or anything that can move.

If your in bed when an earthquake strikes cover your head with your pillow and make sure your not underneath a light fixing. If you do have a light fixing overhead or nearby find a safe place.

If your close to a doorway and you think it's a strong load bearing one stay there.

Stay inside the building and don't move, until the shaking stops. Moving about during the earthquake is dangerous.

It is important to realize that sprinkler system's, fire alarms and electricity may go off.

Never use an elevator!

Safety Rules

During the Course of the earthquake:

  • If you're in a tunnel, move out of it as quickly as possible.
  • If you're in a lift, get out as soon as possible.
  • In a moving vehicle, stop as quickly as possible, and as you are able.
  • If you're in crowded place stay away from door ways for cover.
  • Stay away from steep slopes, moving buildings and utility wires.
  • If you're caught in doors by the earthquake, stay in doors. Go to a sturdy piece of furniture and take cover. Keeping away from glass objects or loose hanging objects.
  • Extinguish all fires.
  • Keep calm and don't panic.

Following the earthquake (the end)

  • Seek assistance and check for any casualties in your area.
  • Proceed with caution in case of tsunamis stay away from low lying coastal areas, shores and beaches. Look for reinforced buildings and stay on the highest floor.
  • Keep out of badly damaged buildings, aftershocks may cause them to collapse. Building damage should be reported to the authorities.
  • Telephones should only be used for emergencies and obtaining assistance if needed.
  • If you think there's a gas leak open all windows turn off the main valve. Do not use the telephone or make a fire. Gas leaks must be reported.
  • If water supply is damaged main valve must be turned off.

It goes without saying, keep your wits about you and don't panic!

© 2011 Helen Bolam


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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 23 months ago from Manila, Philippines

      Thanks for these tips, Helen. I'll surely keep them in mind once an earthquake happens.

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