Skip to main content

Earthquake Safety

What Happens During an Earthquake

  • A severe earthquake in the Bay Area will produce strong shaking that will typically last anywhere from five to sixty seconds.
  • Be prepared for after-shocks, which could be as serious as the initial earthquake.
  • The actual movement of the ground in an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death. Most casualties result from falling objects.
  • Do not enter the buildings until they have been structurally evaluated.
  • If indoors, seek shelter under a table, desk, or bed. If outdoors, stay away from buildings and glass. Distance yourself from any objects that can fall.
  • Do not use elevators. Use the stairs.

How to Prepare for an Earthquake

  • Locate beds, desks, and tables as far away from windows as possible. Bunked beds or lofted beds are not permitted to be positioned alongside (i.e., parallel) to windows.
  • Place mirrors and pictures where falling will cause minimal damage.
  • Do not hang stereo speakers, plants, etc., from the ceiling.
  • Heavy objects (refrigerators, TVs, stereos, etc.) should be as close to the floor as possible.
  • Loose objects (e.g., books) should be secured.
  • Keep spaces under tables, desks, counters, etc., clear so you can seek shelter in an earthquake.
  • Prepare an emergency kit that includes food, water, prescriptions and other necessities that will help you be self-sustainable for 72 hours.
  • Be familiar with evacuation exits.

After an Earthquake

  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in danger of further injury. If you know first aid, use it.
  • Do not use matches, candles, or open flames, as there may be gas leaks.
  • Do not operate electrical switches or appliances.
  • Do not touch downed power lines.
  • Turn on your radio to KNBR (680 on the AM band) for damage reports, information, and emergency directions.
  • Do not use your telephone except for emergency calls.
  • When checking closets and cupboards, open doors cautiously and watch for objects falling from shelves.
  • When leaving the building bring your emergency pack with you to the designated Emergency Assembly Area for your Unit. To find the EAA check with your RA or designated signs in your unit.