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What to do in an Earthquake - Earthquake Safety

Updated on December 8, 2012

Earthquake Preparedness

Since there have been several serious earthquakes in recent years across the globe including those in Japan, Thailand and New Zealand I decided I would write a hub that gave advice on 'What to do in an Earthquake' and general all round Earthquake preparedness.

Firstly I would like to give a brief answer to the question 'Why do earthquakes happen?' because your average person is not educated in the fields of geography and geology and will not know the scientific reasons why earthquakes occur.

These are the earthquake facts:

An earthquake is the name we give to the results on land above the earth's immediate crust which us humans are inhabitants when two 'tectonic plates' collide or brush alongside each other.

Tectonic plates cover the planet in an almost jigsaw fashion and are made up of the earths crust and upper mantle that moves slightly each year upon the partially liquid inner mantle.

Where do earthquakes occur?

Humans have mapped out over the years the most common places on earth that earthquakes occur, we have named these locations 'fault lines'.

Photo courtesy of Wiki

You don't want to get flattened under this
You don't want to get flattened under this

Earthquake Safety

Here are the most commonly told earthquake safety tips but I will continue to add my own common sense advice of what to do during an earthquake below:

  • When you believe an earthquake has hit, be sure that it is definitely over before returning in to buildings or exiting a building because some can simple be foreshocks and a larger earthquake happen 5-10 minutes later.
  • Initially you should DROP to the ground, take COVER under a sturdy piece of furniture(table or desk not couch) and HOLD ON to something until the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from windows and doors because they contain glass that could shatter and cut you.
  • Stay away from outside walls, heavy light fittings or shelves because these could fall on you.
  • Never attempt to leave a building during an earthquake, research has shown that most injuries happen when people are trying to relocate to a different room or exit a premises.
  • Never use an elevator.
  • Do not be alarmed if fire springers are activated or electricity cuts out.

Photo courtesy of geoftheref

More Earthquake Safety Tips

If you are Outdoors:

  • Do not attempt to go into buildings to help others, wait for the emergency services
  • Move away from any structures, walls, loose wiring, signposts or street lamps.
  • Stay there until shaking stops, often aftershocks or tremors may occur up to 10 minutes later.

If you are in a moving Vehicle:

  • Stop quickly but only if it is safe and your path is clear(no vehicles in front of you)
  • Do not park under trees, buildings, street lamps or bridges.
  • Once again proceed after earthquake and aftershocks have finished, do not use bridges, overpasses or ramps.

Photo courtesy of Shapermc

People will be looking for you!
People will be looking for you!

More Earthquake Information

Further Earthquake information that often gets overlooked is what to do after an earthquake and not just what to do during an earthquake. People could often be trapped and will be relying on as many people as possible to be looking out for them.

If you are trapped after an earthquake follow these simple earthquake safety tips:

  • Do not attempt to use a cigarette lighter or matches for light as there could be a gas leak
  • Do not move or try to kick yourself free
  • Cover your nose and mouth
  • Tap on a pipe or wall lightly so that rescuers can hear you, do not panic and shout because you will lose oxygen and could breath in dust or gases.


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