Earthquake Procedure

Earthquakes cannot be predicted and therefore there is no warning system in places. Earthquakes will last from a few seconds to a minute to two. Be prepared for additional quakes, "aftershocks" that may occur after the initial quake.

Preparation for Earthquakes

  • Know the location of all possible exits from the area;
  • Identify the locations of safe areas within the rooms you are occupying;
  • Identify the hazards that are within your area. Some of the items that need to be identified are: areas with large amounts of glass, objects on shelves, overhead items, wall hanging items, etc.;
  • Review the following procedures to follow during and after an earthquake;

Procedures During An Earthquake

  • Remain calm and avoid upsetting others by shouting or running about;
  • If indoors, stay there temporarily. Drop, Cover, and Hold on* - take immediate cover under the nearest desk, table, or chair; in particular protect your head and neck while keeping hold of the furniture. Protect yourself from objects that can fall on you or items which might shatter. Stay clear of bookcases, cabinets, and fireplaces. Stay away from windows.
  • When shaking stops and there appears to be excessive damage in or to the building, leave cautiously.
    Do not rush for stairways as they are likely to be jammed. Do not use the elevators;
  • Do no be surprised if the electricity goes out or if the fire alarms sounds;
  • If outdoors, stay there. Get into an open area away from buildings, walls, or fences. Stay away from any overhead items that might fall on you, such as power lines, and trees;
  • Do not go into buildings after the quake unless they have been surveyed by emergency personnel and determined to be safe;

Procedures After An Earthquake

  • Check for major damage, gas leaks, or other serious problems and report these to CMU Officials or emergency personnel;
  • If the building you are in appears to have sustained quite a bit of damage, or if you are told to do so, please evacuate the building in an orderly fashion after the shocks have subsided. Do NOT USE THE ELEVATORS. Take appropriate clothing, you may be outside for sometime. Proceed to a safe area outdoors. DO NOT return to a building until it is determined to be safe to do so by CMU Officials or emergency personnel;
  • Instructors should take roll to determine if all personnel are present;
  • If phones are working, only use them in case of emergency. Do not use the phones for information or contacting relatives. Leave the phones open for serious or emergency calls;
  • Do not touch power lines, electrical wiring, or objects in contact with them;
  • Avoid damaged areas and keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles;
  • Listen to the radio and the University's Outdoor alert system for information regarding the earthquake;
  • Cooperate with police officers, firefighters, paramedics and university personnel engaged in rescue, repair, or coordination work.
  • Remain calm and help others. Be prepared for aftershocks; additional damage could occur;
  • If major damage occurs, the University will establish an Emergency Operations Center (EOC). From the EOC the University will disseminate information on shelters, food, water and other emergency measures.

*Drop, Cover, and Hold on preparedness information is available on the American Red Cross website.