After An Earthquake
Stay calm. Help others if you are able.
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- Listen to the radio or television for information from authorities. Follow their instructions. Place telephone receivers back in their cradles; only make calls if requiring emergency services.
- Put on sturdy shoes and protective clothing to help prevent injury from debris, especially broken glass.
- Check your home for structural damage and other hazards. If you suspect your home is unsafe, do not re-enter.
- If you have to leave your home, take your emergency kit and other essential items with you. Post a message in clear view, indicating where you can be found. Do not waste food or water as supplies may be interrupted.
- Do not light matches or turn on light switches until you are sure there are no gas leaks or flammable liquids spilled. Use a flashlight to check utilities and do not shut them off unless damaged. Leaking gas will smell.
- If tap water is still available immediately after the earthquake, fill a bathtub and other containers in case the supply gets cut off. If there is no running water, remember that you may have water available in a hot water tank (make sure water is not hot before touching it) and toilet reservoir (not the bowl).
- Do not flush toilets if you suspect sewer lines are broken.
- Carefully clean up any spilled hazardous materials. Wear proper hand and eye protection.
- Check on your neighbours after looking after members of your own household. Organize rescue measures if people are trapped or call for emergency assistance if you cannot safely help them.
- If you have pets, try to find and comfort them. If you have to evacuate, take them to a pre-identified pet-friendly shelter.
- Place a HELP sign in your window if you need assistance.
- Beware of secondary effects. Although ground shaking is the major source of earthquake damage, secondary effects can also be very destructive. These include landslides, saturated sandy soils becoming soft and unstable, flooding of low-lying areas and tsunamis washing over coastlines.