How to act after an earthquake

How to act after an earthquake

The HayWired scenario is a hypothetical earthquake sequence that is being used to better understand hazards for the San Francisco Bay region during and after an earthquake of magnitude 7 on the Hayward Fault. The 2014 Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities calculated that there is a 33-percent likelihood of a large (magnitude 6.7 or.

Detweiler, Shane T.; Wein, Anne M.

How to act after an earthquake

UCERF3: A new earthquake forecast for California’s complex fault system

With innovations, fresh data, and lessons learned from recent earthquakes, scientists have developed a new earthquake forecast model for California, a region under constant threat from potentially damaging events. The new model, referred to as the third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, or “UCERF” (

United States Geological Survey (USGS) Natural Hazards Response

The primary goal of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Natural Hazards Response is to ensure that the disaster response community has access to timely, accurate, and relevant geospatial products, imagery, and services during and after an emergency event. To accomplish this goal, products and services provided by the National Geospatial Program (NGP).

Lamb, Rynn M.; Jones, Brenda K.

Understanding risk and resilience to natural hazards

Natural hazards threaten the safety and economic wellbeing of communities. These hazards include sudden-onset hazards, such as earthquakes, and slowly emerging, chronic hazards, such as those associated with climate change. To help public officials, emergency and other managers, the business community, and at-risk individuals reduce the risks.

How to act after an earthquake

Putting down roots in earthquake country-Your handbook for earthquakes in the Central United States

This handbook provides information to residents of the Central United States about the threat of earthquakes in that area, particularly along the New Madrid seismic zone, and explains how to prepare for, survive, and recover from such events. It explains the need for concern about earthquakes for those residents and describes what one can expect.

Contributors: Dart, Richard; McCarthy, Jill; McCallister, Natasha; Williams, Robert A.

How to act after an earthquake

Recovering from the ShakeOut earthquake

Recovery from an earthquake like the M7.8 ShakeOut Scenario will be a major endeavor taking many years to complete. Hundreds of Southern California municipalities will be affected; most lack recovery plans or previous disaster experience. To support recovery planning this paper 1) extends the regional ShakeOut Scenario analysis into the recovery.

Wein, Anne; Johnson, Laurie; Bernknopf, Richard

How to act after an earthquake

The ShakeOut Scenario

This is the initial publication of the results of a cooperative project to examine the implications of a major earthquake in southern California. The study comprised eight counties: Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura. Its results will be used as the basis of an emergency response and preparedness.

Jones, Lucile M.; Bernknopf, Richard; Cox, Dale; Goltz, James; Hudnut, Kenneth; Mileti, Dennis; Perry, Suzanne; Ponti, Daniel; Porter, Keith; Reichle, Michael; Seligson, Hope; Shoaf, Kimberley; Treiman, Jerry; Wein, Anne

How to act after an earthquake

Know what to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during an earthquake. In most situations, you can protect yourself if you immediately DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON.

Drop. Cover. Hold on.

How to act after an earthquake

In most situations, you can protect yourself if you immediately:

  • DROPdown onto your hands and knees before the earthquake knocks you down. This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
  • COVERyour head and neck (and your entire body if possible) underneath a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  • HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

If you are inside, stay inside.

DO NOT run outside or to other rooms during an earthquake. You are less likely to be injured if you stay where you are.

To reduce your chances of being hurt, take the following actions:

  • If possible, within the few seconds before shaking intensifies, quickly move away from glass, hanging objects, bookcases, china cabinets, or other large furniture that could fall. Watch for falling objects, such as bricks from fireplaces and chimneys, light fixtures, wall hangings, high shelves, and cabinets with doors that could swing open.
  • If available nearby, grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and broken glass.
  • If you are in the kitchen, quickly turn off the stove and take cover at the first sign of shaking.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are. Broken glass on the floor can cause injuries if you walk or roll onto the floor.

DO NOT stand in a doorway. You are safer under a table. In modern houses, doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house. Doorways do not protect you from the most likely source of injury − falling or flying objects. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by falling or flying objects (such as TVs, lamps, glass, or bookcases), or by being knocked to the ground.

California natives know the drill: During an earthquake, drop to the floor and cover your neck and head with your hands. If you can, get underneath a table and hold on until the shaking stops.

"Drop. Cover. Hold on." — not standing in a doorway or other common misconceptions — is the best advice from the earthquake experts and authorities.

Here's what you should keep in mind so that you can remain calm and act quickly once you feel the shaking begin — and know what to do when the shaking stops.

During the shaking

Do not run out of a building. Running outside is not a good idea, experts say, as the exterior of a building is one of the most dangerous places to be as objects fall. During the 2003 Paso Robles earthquake, bricks came crashing down on two women fleeing a building; experts say that if they had stayed inside, they would have survived. In the Mexico City earthquake of 1985, desks remained standing at one building even as the ceiling caved in.

What if you can’t get under a desk or other sturdy furniture? Get as low as possible, protect your head and neck, and move away from windows or other items that can fall on you.

Here are more detailed scenarios.

In a bed: Hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. Running is a bad idea; it's easy to get cut on broken glass on the floor.

In a high-rise: Drop, cover, hold on. Avoid windows. Don't use elevators.

In a theater or stadium: Stay in your seat or drop to the floor between rows, and protect your head, neck and arms. Don't try to leave until the shaking is over.

In a store: Drop and take cover under anything that can provide protection, such as a shopping cart or inside clothing racks. If you need to move away from heavy items on high shelves, drop to the ground first and crawl the shortest distance away. Whenever you enter a retail store, take a moment to see what could fall on you during an earthquake.

Outdoors: Move to a clear area if you can safely do so. Avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings and vehicles.

Near the ocean: If severe shaking lasts 20 seconds or more, head to high ground in case a tsunami has been generated. Move inland two miles or to land that is 100 feet above sea level. Don't wait for a warning; start walking. And don't drive.

In a car: Stop the car safely and stay inside the car until the earthquake stops.

On public transit: Stay on the bus unless the driver tells you to get off; listen for instructions from the driver. A train is likely to stop during the shaking. The train operator will make announcements and work to get passengers to a safe place to exit the train.

Immediately after the shaking

Check for injuries and immediate danger: Make sure you and the people around you are OK. Provide first aid for anyone who needs it. Put out small fires or call for help. Send someone for help if you can't reach emergency services on the phone.

Check for damage: Check water, gas and electric lines for damage. If any are damaged, shut off the valves or breakers. Smell for gas; if you do smell it, open all the windows and doors, leave immediately and report it to authorities. Do not turn on your kitchen stove or use matches or anything with a flame if you suspect a gas leak. Clean up spills of anything hazardous.

Turn on the radio: News and public radio stations will broadcast updates. The following stations are recommended by Los Angeles County for emergency information:

Learn how you should act in the event of an earthquake or fire in your company.

Take note of these recommendations to act in the event of a natural or accidental disaster. Avoid having a panic attack among your collaborators and reduce the risk of accidents or losses in your company.

1) Have an emergency plan

Make sure your business facilities have all the necessary equipment to deal with a disaster. It clearly indicates which are the emergency routes and exits, as well as the safe places to stand. Make sure that at least each floor has a fire extinguisher or hose.

2) Train your team

Carry out small educational sessions on civil protection in your company. Create a brigade team in your organization that knows how to act in the event of an earthquake and fire, directs the evacuation of the facilities and knows how to take care of people injured or with panic attacks. Make regular drills where you explain how to move in an emergency and warn not to run or push in these cases.

3) Check your facilities

Make sure your building or office has emergency exits and that stairs and elevators are in good repair. After an earthquake strikes, have an expert review the facility for damage. If during the earthquake there were spills of liquids or dangerous substances or remains of debris, have them cleaned up as soon as possible, remember that there are likely to be aftershocks.

4) Locate the emergency telephones

Have at hand the numbers of firefighters, police, Locatel, Red Cross and other aid institutions and post them in each office in your company.

How to act after an earthquake

5) Protect your information

Don’t wait until it’s too late to take care of your valuable information. Around 55% of Mexican SMEs do not have a security plan, which generates large annual losses. Make a plan carefully and avoid these mishaps affecting the productivity or finances of your company. Always back up your important data and purchase software that specializes in this matter.

6) Hire insurance

Each month, try to save a certain amount of money to deal with these situations. Hire comprehensive coverage insurance for your company and for your employees, this will save you higher expenses in the future that can lead your business to bankruptcy.

Once that shaking stops, you may believe the earthquake is over. But many times, it’s just the beginning. There may be aftershocks, or the main earthquake may not have even happened yet. To stay safe, here are a few things you should do before going back to your normal routine.

Stay alert for aftershocks. According to experts, aftershocks can continue for weeks, months, or even years. Typically, the larger the mainshock, the larger and more numerous the aftershocks and the longer they will continue. 1

Make sure you and your family are unharmed. If anyone is injured, provide first aid, as best you can and contact the authorities in case of medical emergency.

Monitor local news and radio for emergency information. Don’t use the phone unless it’s an emergency since you could tie up the lines needed for emergency response.

How to act after an earthquake

Do not light matches or turn on light switches until you’re sure there are no gas leaks or flammable liquids spilled.

Use a flashlight to check utilities for damage including water, gas, and electric lines. Turn off all appliances and the main electrical circuit breaker, if it’s safe to do. If you smell gas or notice a broken water line, turn off the service at the main valve.

Look for structural damage. If your home is damaged, get out (or don’t go in) until you can have it checked by authorities or a structural engineer. Don’t go near chimneys, as they can fall over unexpectedly.

How to act after an earthquake

Clean up broken glass or non-hazardous spills. That will help prevent injuries from cuts or slips. If there is a hazardous spill, leave it for the professionals to clean up.

Stay away from beaches. Tsunamis sometimes hit after the ground has stopped shaking.

If you’re a Chubb client, contact us immediately to get your claim started. Either call us at 1-800-CLAIMS-0 or click here.

If you’re indoors, don’t go outside. Stay away from windows and doors.

If you’re outdoors, stay in an open area, away from power lines or anything that might fall.

How to act after an earthquake

Know how to prepare for an earthquake and how to stay safe if one happens.

Preparation, planning, and practice are key to surviving an earthquake. Learn what actions you can take to prepare for an earthquake and what you can do to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe during and after an earthquake.

Prepare for an Earthquake

How to act after an earthquake

Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by planning, preparing, and practicing what to do if an earthquake happens.

Stay Safe During an Earthquake

How to act after an earthquake

Know what to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during an earthquake.

Stay Safe After an Earthquake

How to act after an earthquake

Keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the many hazards you may find after an earthquake.

Health and Safety Concerns for All Disasters

Illnesses, injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning, animals & insects, food, water, cleanup, mold, environmental concerns, and coping with a disaster.
Learn more.

How to act after an earthquake

Earthquakes are unpredictable. They don’t wait for us to be home with our families and earthquake bags nearby. When an earthquake strikes, you could be anywhere. That’s why it’s so important to have an emergency communication plan for your family.

How to act after an earthquake

What is an emergency communication plan?

Living on the West Coast, we know that an earthquake can hit at any time – even when we are not with our family members.

Despite their unpredictability, you can prepare for an earthquake. FEMA and the CDC recommend 3 steps to ensure that you are always prepared: get your earthquake bag packed, your home ready, and have an emergency communication plan in place for your family.

An emergency communication plan is a part of earthquake preparation. It’s a short plan that determines how, when, and with what your family will communicate after an earthquake.

How to act after an earthquake

What should my emergency communication plan include?

While an emergency communication plan won’t be identical for every family, an effective plan should have a few basic elements.

  • A communication team
  • Contact information cards
  • Out-of-town emergency contact
  • Meeting place
  • Timeline

Establish a team

Your communication team should include your immediate family members. You may also need to include adults who supervise loved ones, like children or elderly parents.

Contact information for each family member.

Each family member should have access to a list of contact information for all members of the team. This might be a note saved to a phone, or even a laminated card for children to keep in their backpack. If your loved one is hurt, someone will be able to contact the team and keep them updated.

Out-of-town emergency contact.

Your team should also include an out-of-town emergency contact. Panicked citizens often jam local phone lines, but long-distance calls may still be available. Having an emergency contact in another town or state will make it easier to connect. This person can also act as a central point of contact for all family and friends.

Emergency meeting place

Once you know the safety and whereabouts of your family members, you should all head toward your emergency meeting place. This safe location must be easily accessible to all members of your family, including pets.

Timeline for communications and meetings

Finally, your plan should include a timeline for when, where, and how each team member should communicate after an emergency.

How to act after an earthquakeTips for communicating after an earthquake

  • Keep it short. Save your phone’s battery by keeping conversations short and turning down your screen’s brightness.
  • Text is best. Texting from your cell phone requires less bandwidth and is more likely to reach the recipient.
  • Use social media. If you’re able to access wi-fi, use social media to post a status update or mark yourself safe in the event of an emergency. This can help free up your phone line by minimizing the number of calls from well-meaning relatives who are not a part of your communication team.
  • Prepare everyone. Make sure even the youngest members of your family know how to dial 911 on a phone.

Even the youngest members of your team can learn how to call emergency services.

What if I don’t have access to a phone after an earthquake?

If your phone is lost or broken, you will need an alternative communication. Consider storing cheap prepaid cell phone in your emergency bag. Pre-program it with all the numbers you may need and make sure you have a backup power option in your bag to charge it.

What do I do if I can’t reach a family member?

If you are unable to reach them by phone, and they have not checked in on social media, you can alert the authorities to their last known whereabouts.

What about my pets?

Assign a team member to check on pets and bring them to your meeting place after an emergency. If you cannot find them right away, they may be hiding. Leave out some food and check back for them after a few hours.

How to act after an earthquake

You Can Be More Prepared Today

It might seem frightening to think about all the possible outcomes of an earthquake, but it is a necessary step to preparation.

The good news is that you can start preparing today.

Get an earthquake bag started for your home and your car. Create a communication plan with your family and notify out-of-town contacts. Program important numbers into your phone or print an emergency contact card for each member of your family.

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico – The recent series of earthquakes has left many people in Puerto Rico feeling unsettled or nervous but there are steps you can take to make your home more secure.

Puerto Rico is where the Caribbean tectonic plate meets the North American plate, which makes it seismically active. Because of this, earthquakes and aftershocks will occur in Puerto Rico; it is a natural process. While the aftershocks are expected to decrease in frequency and severity, aftershocks are likely to continue for the next few weeks and even months.

If your home was damaged, contact your local Municipal Emergency Management Office. Municipal staff can take your information and refer it to the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau that has assessment teams ready to go out to check for damage.

While no one can stop an earthquake, there are steps you can take right now to reduce earthquake damage.

To secure your space, identify hazards and move them out of the way. The shaking produced by an earthquake or strong aftershock can cause heavy objects to move or fall, potentially injuring people and pets.

To avoid injury, move heavy objects to the floor or, if on a shelf, to a lower level.

Anchoring bookcases to the wall will prevent them from falling.

Here are some other things you can do:

  • To prevent injuries from flying glass, apply safety film to windows and glass doors.
  • Anchor large appliances to walls using safety cables or straps.
  • Install ledge barriers on shelves and secure large, heavy items and breakables directly to shelves to keep them from falling.
  • Install latches on drawers and cabinet doors to keep contents from spilling.
  • Anchor filing cabinets and televisions to walls.
  • Hang mirrors and pictures with closed hooks.
  • Secure water heaters to wall studs with two metal straps.

You can also protect yourself financially by talking to your insurance representative. You may want to consider increasing your earthquake insurance.

You have worked hard to buy expensive items such as appliances and televisions. Protect them and act to reduce your potential earthquake damage today. For more tips to reduce damage, visit

FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 711 for Video Relay Service. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish.) TTY call 800-462-7585.

Tropical Storm Grace swept over Haiti with drenching rains just two days after a powerful earthquake battered the impoverished Caribbean nation, adding to the misery of thousands who lost loved ones, suffered injuries or found themselves homeless and forcing overwhelmed hospitals and rescuers to act quickly.

Video Transcript

Kayleigh McEnany Attacks Jen Psaki With ‘Least Self-Aware Tweet Ever Written’

The former Trump White House press secretary earned a blistering two-word rebuke from Mary Trump, the ex-president's niece.

Jamie Lee Curtis on 'Halloween' beginnings, why Arnold didn't want her for 'True Lies' and her secret text code with Lindsay Lohan

Jamie Lee Curtis talks "Halloween," "Trading Places," "A Fish Called Wanda," "True Lies" and more in our new episode of "Role Recall."

How to act after an earthquake

I don't like this ad

AdУ всех нас #ОдинАдрес

DPD снижает вредное воздействие бизнеса на природу – «Бережем, чтобы передать будущим поколениям».

Tony Stewart's NHRA Move Leaves Don Schumacher Racing Reeling

It's possible that all six drivers from the DSR's dominate 2020 campaign will be off the roster before the start of 2022.

The Workers Won’t Be Coming Back, Covid or Not. Here Are Theories on Where They Went.

The pandemic has changed attitudes and priorities around work, and there are signs that many have moved on to an alternate economy, writes Lisa Beilfuss.

Giants-Dodgers: Umpire blows two calls against Kris Bryant in key spot

Hopefully, the missed calls don't have a decisive impact on the game's outcome.

How to act after an earthquake

I don't like this ad

AdTop tips to help you find your voice as a YouTuber

Looking to become the next star on YouTube or Twitch, but not sure where to begin? Legend producer Alper Cagatay shares his experience and expertise.

‘The Batman’ Posters Tease Robert Pattinson’s Batman and Paul Dano’s Riddler in the Full Light – of Night

The film's new trailer debuts Saturday

'I was naive’: Mia Khalifa on life after adult films and reclaiming her power with OnlyFans

Content creator Mia Khalifa on how she reclaimed her power after leaving the adult film industry.

Dodgers react to controversial check swing that ended wild NLDS

Here's what the Dodgers had to say about Wilmer Flores' check swing that ended the Giants' season.

How to act after an earthquake

I don't like this ad

AdStart speaking A Language in 3 Weeks

Language Learning Advice From An Expert

Umpire explains why he ruled Giants player struck out on check swing to end NLDS

The MLB rulebook is fuzzy about what is a check swing.

Some Hooters servers on TikTok are saying new shorts are too short

One employee on TikTok described the new shorts as "like underwear."

Stimulus Update: Americans Will See More Stimulus Money in Their Bank Accounts Tomorrow

This week, some Americans eager for more stimulus money will get their wish. Payments will be deposited into bank accounts on Oct. 15, 2021 for one of the key types of financial assistance made available by the American Rescue Plan Act. The payments that are being delivered on Oct. 15 are going to eligible parents and will come as a result of the expansion of the Child Tax Credit authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act.

How to act after an earthquake

I don't like this ad

AdPlace A Bag On Your Car Mirror When Traveling

Brilliant Car Cleaning Hacks Local Dealers Wish You Didn’t Know

Dodgers' Julio Urias won't start NLCS Game 5; Astros' Lance McCullers out of ALCS

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said it was an organizational decision to start Corey Knebel in Game 5, instead of Julio Urias against the Giants.