An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of underground rock. Earthquakes can cause buildings to collapse and cause heavy items to fall, resulting in injuries and property damage. Earthquakes can:
- Happen anywhere – though higher risk areas include California, Alaska, and the Mississippi Valley;
- Happen without warning;
- Cause fires and damage roads; and
- Cause tsunamis, landslides, and avalanches.
Drop, Cover, then Hold On like you practiced. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops. Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris.
If in bed, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
If inside, stay there until the shaking stops. DO NOT run outside.
If in a vehicle, stop in a clear area that is away from buildings, trees, overpasses, underpasses, or utility wires.
If you are in a high-rise building, expect fire alarms and sprinklers to go off. Do not use elevators.
If near slopes, cliffs, or mountains, be alert for falling rocks and landslides.
Be Safe AFTER
- Expect aftershocks to follow the largest shock of an earthquake.
- Check yourself for injury and provide assistance to others if you have training.
- If in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building.
- Do not enter damaged buildings.
- If you are trapped, cover your mouth. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting so that rescuers can locate you.
- If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis, go inland or to higher ground immediately after the shaking stops.
- Save phone calls for emergencies.
- Once safe, monitor local news reports via battery operated radio, TV, social media, and cell phone text alerts for emergency information and instructions.
- Use extreme caution during post-disaster clean-up of buildings and around debris. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris by yourself. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes during clean-up.