Each year we have over 150 earthquakes that are large enough to be felt. A large damaging earthquake could happen any time and can be followed by aftershocks that continue for a long time. Most earthquake-related deaths and serious injuries are caused by collapsing walls, and falling glass and objects caused by the shaking. In a major earthquake, masonry and glass can fall off buildings and into the streets.
During an earthquake
- If you are inside, Drop, Cover and Hold – do not run outside or you risk getting hit by falling masonry and glass
- If you are outside, move away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold
- Stay there until the shaking stops
- If an earthquake is very strong and/or long and you are near the beach or coast, move quickly to higher ground in case a tsunami follows the quake
After an Earthquake
- Listen to your local radio stations for 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 if you can.
- Be aware that electricity supply could be cut, 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.
- 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.
For more information on what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit www.getready.govt.nz