An earthquake is a sudden movement of the earth caused by the abrupt release of energy that has accumulated over a long time.

For billions of years, the forces of plate tectonics have shaped the earth’s surface. These plates slowly move over, under, and past each other. Most often the movement is gradual, other times the plates become locked together and unable to release the accumulation of energy. When this energy grows strong enough, the plates break free causing the earth to shake. Earthquake shaking is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

Some earthquakes are foreshocks and aftershocks. Beware…a larger earthquake may follow.


You Are Indoors

Drop to the ground. Take cover under a sturdy table or other furniture. Hold on until the shaking stops. If no table is near you, crouch in the corner of the structure covering your face and head with your arms. Stay away from windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall. Stay put until the shaking stops – most injuries occur when people move or leave too early.

You Are Outdoors

Get into the open, moving away from any buildings, trees, and power lines. If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. If you are driving, safely pull over and stop. Stay inside your vehicle. Stay away from bridges, overpasses and tunnels. Avoid stopping under trees or power lines.

You Are Trapped Under Debris

Do not light a match. Do not move about or kick up dust. Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing. Make noise so rescuers can locate you.  Shout only as needed –  you could inhale dangerous dust.

After The Earth Quake

Aftershocks will likely occur after the quake. Listen to the radio for emergency information. Be aware of possible tsunamis if you are near the coast. Move to higher ground or head inland. Help injured or trapped persons.



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