3.8 Earthquake

Safety, Health, and Environmental Manual


The following are essential procedures to follow in case of an earthquake:

  • DROP where you are onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if shelter is nearby. COVER your head and neck with one arm and a hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs. HOLD ON until shaking stops. If under a shelter, hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts. If there is no shelter, hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands. If outdoors, go to an open area away from buildings, trees, and power lines.

  • Remain calm, and avoid shouting or running, which may cause others to become more upset. Wait for instructions to evacuate.

  • Seek safety where you are. Do not use stairways or elevators; they are likely to be severely damaged.

After the initial quake, take the following precautions:

  • Be prepared for aftershocks.

  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Care for the injured as appropriate. In case of serious injury, notify your supervisor and follow procedures for reporting and obtaining help.

  • Do not turn light switches on or off.

  • Do not use any type of open flame for lighting purposes.

  • Put out small fires. Immediately report any fires, spilled volatile chemicals, or gas leaks.

  • If you smell gas, leave immediately.

    • If the odor is faint, open windows as you leave and turn off gas valves.

    • Do not use matches, candles, or electrical switches.

    • If it is safe to do so, shut down the electrical power at the source.

    • Do not use flashlights, battery-powered radios, telephones, cell phones, or anything electrical that is not safe to use in hazardous locations.

  • If you do not smell gas, do the following:

    • Hang up all telephones, and use them only to report emergencies.

    • Rely on flashlights for light if necessary.

    • Turn on a battery-powered radio to hear updates about the situation.

  • Avoid areas where the building may be damaged. Wait in a safe place for instructions; you could be there for several hours. Expect fire alarms and other protection systems to activate.

  • Refrain from flushing toilets until you have been notified that sewer lines are intact.