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Earthquake Preparedness

During a Major Earthquake

The most important thing to remember during an earthquake is to DROP (get to the ground), COVER (under something, and cover your head in particular) and HOLD ON to protect yourself from injury.
  • Seek shelter under a desk or table if you can.

  • If no shelter is available, move away from potentially harmful things (breaking glass, chemicals), make yourself as small as possible and cover your head.

  • Remain in this sheltered position until the shaking stops.

Actions Immediately After a Major Earthquake

  • Assess your situation. Take direction from law enforcement when possible.

  • Be prepared to seek shelter again. Aftershocks can be more or less powerful than the original earthquake.

  • Decide if evacuation from the building is the proper course of action. 

  • If you work in a lab, take these important steps to take before leaving if it is safe to do so.

    • Turn off gas burners.
    • Check quickly for fires, fire hazards, or spilled chemicals.
    • Check for injured or physically limited people who might have trouble evacuating the building. Help those only to your ability.
    • Close the lab door as you leave.
    • Report crucial items, hazards, or location of injured persons to the appropriate official at the emergency assembly area.

The USGS has a great website regarding earthquakes and what to do.