Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year and occur without warning, although they usually last less than one minute. Aftershocks following the initial earthquake may occur for hours, days, or even months. Below are some best practices to stay safe if an earthquake occurs.

Before an Earthquake

  • Before an earthquake occurs, secure items that could fall or move and cause injuries or damage, Secure or remove any hanging items over places people sit.
  • Practice how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On
    • Plan and practice how to Drop to the ground, Cover your head and neck with your arms, and if a safer place is nearby that you can get to without exposing yourself to flying debris, crawl to it and Hold On to maintain cover.
    • To react quickly you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake
  • Plan how you will communicate if power and phones go down.

During an Earthquake

  • Drop down onto your hands and knees so the earthquake doesn’t knock you down.
    • If you are in danger from falling objects, and you can move safely, crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table.
    • If no sturdy shelter is nearby, crawl away from windows, next to an interior wall. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as light fixtures or furniture.
  • Hold on to any sturdy object so you can move with it until the shaking stops.
  • Stay where you are until the shaking stops. Do not run outside. Do not get in a doorway as this does not provide protection from falling or flying objects, and you may not be able to remain standing.
  • If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. Once in the open, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Stay there until the shaking stops.

After an Earthquake

  • When the shaking stops, look around. If the building is damaged and there is a clear path to safety, leave the building and go to an open space away from damaged areas.
  • If you are trapped, do not move about or kick up dust.
  • If you have a cell phone with you, use it to call or text for help.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle, if you have one, so that rescuers can locate you.
  • Once safe, monitor local news reports via battery operated radio, TV, social media, and cell phone text alerts for emergency information and instructions.
  • Check for injuries and aid if you have training. Assist with rescues if you can do so safely.
  • Be prepared to “Drop, Cover, and Hold on” in the likely event of aftershocks.


For additional information visit the links below:

Earthquake Preparedness Information

Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety

Before: Make a Plan

Before: Plan for Your Pets

Before: Prepare Emergency Supplies

During: Drop, Cover, and Hold On

After: Reconnect and Recover

Earthquake Safety Guide