/* Google Tag Manager Code added by Geoff 30 May 2022 */ How to Survive an Earthquake /* Google Tag Manager Code added by Geoff 30 May 2022 */
How to Survive an Earthquake
Category: Urban Survival

Before: Are You Ready for a Rumble? 

Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and planning in advance can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. Repairing and reinforcing building foundations, anchoring overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling, securing furniture and other objects to walls and floors, and following local seismic building standards will help reduce the impact of earthquakes.

Many injuries suffered during earthquakes result from items falling or shifting due to the shaking of the earth. Identifying potential hazards prior to an earthquake can protect you and your family. Do an inventory of your house and where you work. Anything that can move or fall during a quake should be placed in a closed cabinet or a secondary container. Anything that can’t be put elsewhere should be securely fastened down or, for objects such as bookcases, attached to the wall. Avoid hanging pictures or mirrors near beds or places where people sit.

After an earthquake, you might not have access to water, food, electricity, or other necessities for up to a week. Creating a disaster supply kit will help you get through the aftermath of an earthquake. Store enough water, food, and other basic items to meet your needs for at least 72 hours. Keep the kit in a place where you spend most of your time so that it will be easily accessible if an earthquake strikes.

It is also a good idea to develop an emergency communication plan. Do not rely on cell phones or other devices that require electricity. Develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster in case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the family contact. After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance than locally. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.


Everyone has a responsibility to protect their homes and their families. Since no one can predict with certainty when an earthquake will happen, it is important to get prepared in advance. This involves three basic steps:

  1. Find out what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.
  2. Make a family emergency plan, so that everyone knows what to do, and where to go in case of an emergency.
  3. Get an emergency kit, so that you and your family can be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.

Planning for an earthquake will also help prepare you for many other types of emergencies. After reading this guide, keep it in a handy spot, such as in your emergency kit.

What to expect during an earthquake

Small or moderate earthquakes

Large earthquakes




Step 1: Know the Risks and Get Prepared

To get prepared for an earthquake, you should know the risks specific to your community and your region to help you better prepare. To find out what the hazards are in your region, visit the ‘Know the risks' section of the GetPrepared.ca website.

Before an Earthquake

Go through your home, imagining what could happen to each part of it, if shaken by a violent earthquake. Check off the items that you have completed in this list.


During an earthquake

Wherever you are when an earthquake starts, take cover immediately. Move a few steps to a nearby safe place if need be. Stay there until the shaking stops.

If you are indoors: “DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON”

If you are outdoors

If you are in a vehicle

AVOID the following in an earthquake


After an earthquake


Step 2: Make a plan

Every household needs an emergency plan. It will help you and your family to know what to do in case of an emergency. Remember, your family may not be together when an earthquake or other emergency occurs.

Start by discussing what could happen and what you should do at home, at school or at work if an earthquake strikes. To be prepared, make a list of what needs to be done ahead of time. Store important family documents, such as birth certificates, passports, wills, financial documents, insurance polities, etc. in waterproof container(s). Identify an appropriate out-of-town contact that can act as a central point of contact in an emergency.

Write down and exercise your plan with the entire family at least once a year. Make sure everybody has a copy and keeps it close at hand.


Step 3: Get an emergency kit

In an emergency you will need some basic supplies. You may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.

You may have some of the items already, such as a flashlight, battery-operated radio, food and water. The key is to make sure they are organized and easy to find. Would you be able to find your flashlight in the dark?

Make sure your kit is easy to carry. Keep it in a backpack, duffel bag or suitcase with wheels, in an easy-to-reach, accessible place, such as your front hall closet. Make sure everyone in the household knows where the emergency kit is.

Basic emergency kit