Earthquake

Do you know what to do in the event of an earthquake? Find out what you need to know, how to prepare, what to do when it happens and also what to do following the initial event. Getting ready before an earthquake strikes will help reduce the damage to your home and business and help you survive. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths result from falling debris, flying glass and collapsing structures such as buildings and bridges.

An earthquake is a sudden onset emergency in which you will not have any prior warning for. However, there is a lot you can do to prepare for an earthquake and ensure you are able to cope with the impact on yourself, your family and those you care for.

Pro Tip!

Remember that an earthquake may be a natural warning sign for a tsunami.

Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths result from falling debris, flying glass and collapsing structures such as buildings and bridges. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides, avalanches, flash floods, fires and tsunami.

Getting ready before an earthquake strikes will help reduce the damage to your home and business and help you survive.

  • Make a Plan with your family and neighbours for what you will do if you cannot get home, have to leave home in a hurry or are stuck at home.
  • Think about if you have no water, no power or no communication.
  • Make an emergency getaway kit for if you have to leave home in a hurry.
  • Think about quake-proofing your home. There are some simple things you can do around your home to prevent damage and injury from earthquakes, such as securing heavy items to the floor and walls.
  • Know the correct action to take during an earthquake and practice Drop, Cover, Hold.
  • Check your household and contents insurance for cover and amounts. Many people are under-insured or not at all.

 


EQC

 

Pro Tip!

Think about quake-proofing your home to prevent damage and injury.

If you are in a wheelchair or have a disability, find out how to stay safe during an earthquake.

It is imperative that all New Zealanders understand the right action to take during an earthquake Drop, Cover and Hold.

It stops you being knocked over, makes you a smaller target for falling and flying objects, and protects your head, neck and vital organs.

  1. DROP down on your hands and knees. This protects you from falling but lets you move if you need to.
  2. COVER your head and neck (or your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk (if it is within a few steps of you). If there is no shelter nearby, drop and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  3. HOLD on to your shelter (or your position to protect your head and neck) until the shaking stops. If the shaking shifts your shelter around, move with it. If there is no shelter near you, crawl to an inside corner of the room and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not run outside or stand in a doorway. Many people are injured while trying to move DURING the shaking. It is safer to Drop, Cover, and Hold until the shaking is over.
  • If you are indoors, move no more than a few steps, Drop, Cover and Hold. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings in New Zealand you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops.
  • If you are outdoors, move no more than a few steps away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold.
  • If you are in bed, stay there, Cover your head with a pillow and Hold on. You are less likely to be injured if you stay in bed.
  • If you are at the beach or near the coast, Drop, Cover and Hold until the shaking stops, then move to higher ground immediately in case a tsunami follows the quake. Long or Strong, Get Gone.
  • If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
  • If you are elderly or have limited mobility, remain where you are, bracing yourself in place against the shaking. If you cannot drop, then Cover your head and Hold.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling debris or landslides. Drop, Cover and Hold.
  • If you are in an elevator, Drop, Cover and Hold. When the shaking stops, try and get out at the nearest floor if you can safely do so.
  • Listen to your local radio stations as emergency management officials will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation.
  • Expect to feel aftershocks.
  • Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary. Help others and people who require special assistance if you can – infants, elderly people, those without transportation, families who may need additional help, people with disabilities and the people who care for them.
  • Be aware that electricity supply could be cut off and fire alarms and sprinkler systems can go off in buildings during an earthquake even if there is no fire. Check for and extinguish, small fires.
  • If you are in a damaged building, try to get outside and find a safe, open place. Use the stairs, not the elevators.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and stay out of damaged areas.
  • Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls. Only use the phone for short essential calls to keep the lines clear for emergency calls.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window, get everyone out quickly and turn off the gas if you can. If you see sparks, broken wires or evidence of electrical system damage, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box if it is safe to do so.
  • Keep your animals under your direct control as they can become disorientated. Take measures to protect your animals from hazards and to protect other people from your animals.
  • If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs for insurance purposes. If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.
Pro Tip!

If you have felt an earthquake you might like to report it to GeoNet or monitor how many other people have felt the shaking.

Learn more about earthquakes Learn more about earthquakes