Earthquake Tips-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, November 28, 2011

Earthquake Tips

Jim Gindlesperger
As we recently learned, earthquakes can strike suddenly and without warning.  Because they are so rare in our area, the August earthquake caused many of us a great deal of confusion.  Should we evacuate the building or should we stay inside?  If we stay inside, should we go to the basement or duck under our desks? 

The following tips may be helpful should you find yourself in an earthquake again.

  • Remember: Drop, Cover, and Hold. Drop to the floor at the first indication of an earthquake, take cover under something sturdy, and hold on until the shaking stops. The elderly, or those with impaired mobility, should remain where they are and brace themselves against the vibration. Remain indoors until the shaking stops. Leaving the building while the quake is in progress could expose you to falling debris. Once outside, move quickly away from buildings, trees, or power lines, to avoid being struck by falling material.
  • If you are in a vehicle, stop in a clear location and remain in your car with the seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
  • Expect aftershocks. If they occur, react the same way you would for the original earthquake.
  • Be alert for fires or leaking gas.
  • Clean up spilled medications, flammable liquids, or other dangerous materials before they cause secondary problems.
  • Do not re-enter damaged buildings until you are sure they have been declared safe.
  • Establish a family plan and be sure everyone knows and understands it.  BEFORE an earthquake occurs, select "safe places" in your home and at work. This could be under a desk or table, or against a sturdy interior wall away from windows.