Civil Defence Everyday

Earthquake advice

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Earthquake advice

Some advice and information about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Before an earthquake

Develop a household emergency plan and prepare emergency items so that you can cope with being on your own for up to 3 days.

♦ Check if you are in the tsunami evacuation zone       

♦ Find out what arrangements your school has for keeping your children safe.

♦ Identify safe places within your home, school or workplace. A safe place is:

  • under a strong table, remember to hold onto the legs
  • an interior wall that has nothing on it that can fall off
  • The best solution is to make your home/workspace safe so you don't have to do anything but sit where you are

♦ Check your household insurance policy for cover and amount.

♦ Seek qualified advice to make sure your house is secured to its foundations. Make sure that any renovations comply with the building code.

♦ Secure heavy items of furniture to the floor or wall.

Check the EQC website and find out how to quake-safe your home(external link).

During an earthquakeDrop cover hold

  • If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps - drop, cover and hold. 
  • If you are outside, move no more than a few steps, then - drop, cover and hold.
  • If you are driving, pull over and stop. Stay in your vehicle until the shaking stops.
  • If you are at the beach or near the coast, and the earthquake is very strong or lasts over a minute, drop, cover and hold. Then move to higher ground or further inland immediately in case a tsunami follows the quake. 

After an earthquake

  • You should expect to feel aftershocks.
  • Help those around you if you can.
  • If you are in a damaged building, try to get outside and find a safe, open place.
  • Do not go sightseeing to look at the damage the earthquake has caused.
  • If you smell gas, try and turn off the gas main outside the building, if it is safe to do so.
  • 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.
  • If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs for insurance purposes.
  • Listen to the radio for information and advice.