Workplace Preparedness



  • If inside, stay inside; if outside, stay outside. DO NOT RUN OUTDOORS - You will be in danger from falling glass and other debris.
  • If indoors:
  • Drop to the ground.
  • Take cover immediately under a sturdy object, such as a desk, table or chair; if no cover is available, drop to the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms; stay away from windows/glass, tall furniture, masonry walls, hanging objects, and other potential falling objects; if you use a wheelchair, lock the wheels and cover your head.
  • Hold onto the desk/other - be ready to move with it until the shaking stops.
  • If outdoors: Move to a clear, open area away from buildings, trees and overhead power lines if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards, and drop to the ground. If you are driving, pull to the side of the road and stop; avoid stopping under overhead hazards or near buildings.
  • Wait for the shaking to stop.

After the Shaking Stops

  • Remain calm. When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move.
  • Evacuate the building and follow EMERGENCY EVACUATION procedures if:
    • It was a major earthquake (violent shaking, that is, items falling over and/or you are concerned for your personal safety).
    • There is immediate danger from fire, gas leak, signs of structural damage, or other conditions where it is unsafe to remain indoors.
    • Instructed to do so by the emergency response personnel or a Facility/Floor/Area Warden, or if evacuation/fire alarms are sounding.
    • NOTE: For major earthquakes you may be instructed to move to designated campus regional evacuation areas and wait for further instructions.
  • DO NOT use elevators!
  • Check for injured, missing or trapped persons. Give aid to those in need. Do not attempt to move injured persons unless there is a danger of further injury from a collapsing structure, fire, etc.
  • Check for building damage and any hazards (e.g., utility disruption, broken pipes, chemical spills, broken glass), and isolate area. If you are evacuating a building, check for damage and any hazards as you exit. If there is a fire, follow FIRE procedures.
  • Call 9-1-1 for life-threatening or medical emergencies, fire, gas leak, flooding, hazardous material spills, or any other situation that may threaten personnel, property or the environment.
  • Provide a report to your Warden and supervisor. Report if there are any injured, missing or trapped persons; report if there is any building damage and/or hazards. (If the building is evacuated, Warden(s) will be at the Assembly Area(s).)
  • Refrain from using landline and cell phones, except to report life-threatening emergencies; hang-up phones that have shaken off the hook.
  • Prepare for aftershocks (refer to Section: BEFORE THE EMERGENCY - PREPARE FOR EARTHQUAKES). If the stability of the building is in doubt, leave the area. Avoid potential falling hazards. Review your Employee Emergency Action Plan; inspect your workplace emergency kits.

Precautions and Guidance

  • Be aware of surroundings following an earthquake. Gas lines may have been damaged and may be leaking. If natural gas odors are present, follow EMERGENCY EVACUATION procedures, evacuate the area and notify 9-1-1 immediately.
  • When evacuating, take emergency kits ONLY if safe to do so.
  • When moving through the building, move cautiously to avoid damaged stairways and doors, exposed electrical lines, potential/actual falling objects, and other hazards. Open doors carefully.
  • Never use an open flame for light following an earthquake. This includes the use of matches or lighters.
  • Shutdown systems which may be damaged from the surge of power if power has been lost or is unstable.
  • Do not touch any damaged or downed electrical power lines.
  • Look around the work area following an earthquake; return the work area to a normal condition by returning phones to their cradle, pushing in open drawers, etc.
  • If personnel in your building or Assembly area need assistance, notify your Warden or emergency personnel.
  • When safe, security should conduct a search of the building for anyone who might be trapped or otherwise need assistance.
  • If you are trapped in debris: move as little as possible so that you do not kick up dust; cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or clothing; tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are; and use a whistle if one is available - shout only as a last resort.
  • BE PATIENT - if an earthquake has occurred, there will be a delayed response by emergency responders as they may be attending to more critical situations. Emergency response personnel will make every effort to respond to emergency situations as rapidly as possible and to keep personnel informed on the status of the emergency.