Published May 03, 2007
When an earthquake strikes your area, the "solid" earth moves like the deck of a ship. What you do during and immediately after the shaking makes lie-and-death differences for you, your family, and your neighbors. These rules will help you survive.
During the Shaking
1. Do not panic. The motion is frightening but, unless it shakes something down on top of you, it is harmless. Keep calm and ride it out.
2. If it catches you indoors, stay indoors. Take cover under a desk, table, bench, doorway hall, or against inside wall. Try to get in a room with the least window space.
3. Do not use candles, matches, or other open flames during or after the shaking. Put out fires quickly.
4. If the earthquake catches you outside, move away from buildings and utility wires. Once in the open, lie on the ground and stay there until the shaking stops.
5. Do not run through or near buildings. The greatest danger from falling debris is just outside doorways and close to outer wall.
6. If you are in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly as safety permits and lie on the floor. A car is an excellent seismometer that jiggles fearsomely on its springs during an earthquake; but it is a good place to stay until the shaking stops.
After the Shaking
1. Visually check your utilities, but don't turn them on. Earth movement may have cracked water, gas and electrical conduits.
2. If you smell gas, open a window and shut off main valve. Leave the building and report gas leakage to authorities. Do not reenter the house until a utility official says it is safe.
3. If water pipes are damaged, shut off the supply at the main valve.
4. If electrical wiring is shorting out, shut off current at the main meter box.
5. Turn on your radio to get the latest emergency bulletins from FEN.
6. Stay off the telephone- except to report an emergency.
7. Do not go sightseeing.
8. Stay out of severely damaged buildings; aftershocks can cause them to fall.