During a major earthquake, you may experience shaking that starts out gently, but quickly grows violent and knocks you off your feet — or — you may be jarred by a violent jolt (as though a building was hit by a truck), feel shaking, and have difficulty moving about.

During the earthquake

  1. Indoors. Go under a desk or table or stand in a doorway or corner. Stay clear of windows, bookcases, mirrors, and fireplaces. If possible, extinguish open flames/ignition sources. Do not use the elevator.
  2. Outside. Stay in an open area away from trees, buildings, walls, and power lines.
  3. Crowded public place. Do not rush to doors. Move away from objects that could fall.
  4. Driving. Pull over and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside the vehicle until shaking stops. If the earthquake is severe, do not attempt to cross damaged bridges, overpasses, or damaged sections of road.

After the Earthquake

  1. Check for injuries. Implement Medical Emergency procedures. If items can be moved by hand, help people who are trapped.
  2. Use a phone only to report a serious injury, fire, or a gas leak. If your phone is not operational, go to the Police Services Center or the Emergency Operations Center (if identified).
  3. If natural gas is leaking, extinguish all sources of ignition, and do not turn on or off and electrical switches in the area.
  4. Attempt to block off damaged areas until help can arrive.
  5. Do not touch downed power lines or damaged building equipment.
  6. Implement the Chemical Spill procedure, if necessary.
  7. If your building is damaged, evacuate and attempt to secure the building against re-entry.
  8. If you have a radio or a cellular phone, take them with you.
  9. Take chargers and/or batteries, if possible.
  10. Turn on a battery-powered radio for damage information.
  11. Keep streets clear for emergency vehicles. Do not drive a vehicle unless there is an emergency.

Be prepared for aftershocks. Although they are usually less intense than the main earthquake, they may cause additional damage, particularly to weakened structures.