Earthquakes

Prepare

  • Know the safest area to be during an earthquake.
  • Have an emergency kit including a portable battery operated radio, torch, new spare batteries, first aid kit and enough food and water for four days.
  • Have a list of emergency phone numbers.
  • Seek expert advice about your building code.

If the earthquake strikes – Take Action

  • Stay calm. If you are indoors, stay inside. If you are outside, stay outside.
  • If you are indoors take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or bench or against an inside wall, and hold on. If there is not a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • If you are outdoors, stay in the open away from power lines or anything that might fall. Stay away from high walls and buildings (objects might fall off the building or the building could fall on you).
  • If you are driving pull over and stop. Stay inside until the earthquake stops.
  • Do not use lifts.
  • If trapped do not move or kick up dust, cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing. Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

When the earthquake stops – Be Careful

  • Expect aftershocks - these are smaller than the main earthquake but may cause more damage to weakened structures.
  • Check for injuries and do not move a seriously injured person unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Turn off electrical appliances.
  • If damage has occurred turn off gas, water and electricity.
  • Do not use matches, cigarette lighters or naked flames due to the potential of flammable gas.
  • Clean up potentially harmful materials and/or medicines which may have spilled.
  • Do not go outside without safe footwear and clothing.
  • Be careful of downed powerlines and falling debris.
  • Do not enter badly damaged buildings.
  • Avoid driving unless absolutely necessary.
  • Do not go sightseeing.
  • Only use your telephone for emergency calls as systems may be damaged and emergency services may require full use.
  • Listen to your battery operated radio or car radio for information.
  • Be alert for news of tsunami warnings in coastal areas.
  • Conserve your food and drinking water.
  • Check to see if your neighbours are safe.
  • Check whereabouts of pets and animals.