How To Survive An Earthquake?

Jeremy Bowyer
Written By Jeremy Bowyer

Jeremy Bower is a generational survivalist and expert outdoorsman.

The best way to survive an earthquake is to prepare yourself for it to happen. Earthquakes are completely unpredictable, and without knowing when one could occur can be dangerous in terms of survival. If you live somewhere that is prone to having earthquakes, it’s key to get prepping before one happens. Because it will happen eventually if it is a local hotspot for quakes.

earthquake road

It’s not the shaking that will hurt you during an earthquake. Things like flying glass, falling objects and walls collapsing will not only leave your house damaged but could also do some serious harm to a person as well. Many an earthquake has caused injuries and even death because of falling objects.

Here we are going to look at some top tips on how to survive an earthquake so that you find the proper shelter you need until the shaking stops.

What Are The Most Important Things To Consider When The Disaster Strikes?

Survey Your Home For Things That May Move Or Fall During A Quake

What would happen if an earthquake hit and you had items that weren’t secure? These objects could easily fall, slide across the floor and more if you don’t have them properly fastened. The last thing you want is a light fixture to drop on your head, or even an appliance falling on your head. Check the places you would go to if an earthquake was happening and make sure any objects there will stay in place during an earthquake.

bricks after quake

Know Where The Danger Spots Are

Our homes are often full of heavy and tall furniture like cabinets, bookcases and wall units. All of this will fall because of the shaking during an earthquake. If you have heavy pictures or mirrors over your bed or couch, move them away. Anywhere that you may be sitting or lying when an earthquake hits should be safe from falling furniture. Any heavy or fragile items should be stored on bottom shelves too to avoid them breaking.

Know What To Stay Away From

Your top priority during an earthquake is to stay away from the kitchen. This room is a maze of different appliances that can fall or even be pushed over during an earthquake. You also have power lines, gas lines and knife sets that can all be knocked out of place during the shaking. Gas leaks are incredibly common with earthquakes. Once these lines have been shaken loose it springs a link, filling your home with a toxic and explosive gas.

Keep Your Disaster Survival Kit Handy

After an earthquake you may be left stranded or unable to leave the building for up to 72 hours. In this situation, you will need a good food and water store, plus an appropriate shelter to wait out the aftershocks. Knowing what to pack into your survival kit could be the different between surviving and earthquake or not being able to stay alive long enough until help comes.

If you know that the area you are in is often hit by earthquakes, you should already have a shelter planned out. Stay away from any tall building and try to keep as close to the ground as possible. Heavy objects will drop during the shaking of an earthquake, and a tall building is probably one of the unsafest places to be.

Keep a survival bag packed and ready if you know that earthquakes are common. Having enough food and water as well as other essentials such as a flashlight and an emergency radio will help you survive the 72 hours needed for help to get to you.

people hiding under a table

Have A Disaster Plan In Place

Having young children in your home and experiencing the earthquake can be scary. In this case, you should have a disaster plan in place with each family member knowing where they must be and what they should be doing if it hits. It’s more than likely that your home will be damaged either by the quake itself or from the aftershocks. Children are likely to panic in this situation. Tell them how to drop and shelter themselves until the shaking stops, and then how to get to you in the safest possible way.

Letting your family in on these tips could be the difference between life and death. One person in your home not knowing the proper earthquake procedure could end in disaster.

Brush Up On Your First Aid Skills

You can have a great food and water store ready for the earthquake to drop, but what happens if someone in your party is hurt. First aid skills as well as a basic first aid kit are essential in these crisis situations. Know how to get your family to safety, and then brush up on your basic first aid skills so that if someone is injured, you can give them some medical attention before professional help arrives.

Teach Children How To Cope With This Natural Disaster

If your children go to school in an earthquake zone, they will already have been taught to hide safely under their desk until the hazards have past. However, earthquakes and downed power lines are enough for young children to panic about. Having a calm confidence even with a crisis happening around you can help ease the trauma a child will experience during this difficult time. If you begin to panic and your child sees you getting worked up, they are much more likely to drop into panic mode themselves.

road earthquake

Define The Safety Zones

The best way you can live through an earthquake is to have your safety zones mapped out. Everyone in your home and family should know where to go and what to do when a quake hits. Being prepared with a proper meeting place that is outside of your home is important. Practice getting to this place and know how you are going to transport your supplies there as well. A safety zone should protect you from aftershocks and falling debris during the shaking.

Be Prepared For Aftershocks

Aftershocks are more than powerful enough to knock a building over and can do almost as much damage as the initial quake can. These tremors can happen for days afterwards, hurting you and severing utility lines for days, weeks and even months after the main earthquake has happened. If your house isn’t too damaged by the first quake, then stay inside during these after tremors. Keep away from the windows and other tall buildings because falling debris will still be a major issue.

What To Pack In Your Survival Kit

Being prepared will help you live through any natural disaster, so keep your kit close by at work, in the car and at home with it fully stocked and ready for use in an emergency. The biggest thing you will want in your kit is water along with purification tablets just in case the main water lines get damaged during the shaking.

personal hygene needs

You will also need the right tools packed into your bag. These are the tools you go to in an emergency and should include a fire extinguisher, a wrench so you can turn off any damaged gas or water pipes, a high quality utility knife, a waterproof lighter or matches, an emergency fire starting kit, a flashlight with extra batteries and bulbs, an emergency radio and anything else you need in a crisis for your children or pets.

Things Not To Do During A Quake

To finish off this guide, I’m going to tell you exactly what not to do if a quake hits your home.

  1. Don’t turn the gas on if you’ve turned it off. The gas company will come out and visit your home and do it. Leave it for them because they will know if it’s safe or not to do so.
  2. Don’t use anything that could catch fire in your home until you are sure there aren’t any gas leaks. One spark could ignite gas and lead to a fire.
  3. Try not to use your telephone unless it is a real emergency. Those lines are needed for the people who are in a life or death situation.
  4. Remember that emergency services may not be on hand to help you, so have a plan in place in case of this eventuality.
  5. Things around your home can be very dangerous when shook as they fall so make sure they are secured in place before a quake happens.


earthquake scale

Where Is The Safest Place To Survive An Earthquake?

Despite the popular myth, the answer to this question is not the doorway. You want to be somewhere that hasn’t got anything that could potentially fall on you during the shaking. You may also want a sturdy table to hold on to, and remember to cover your arms and head when you drop on the floor until the tremors have stopped.

Should You Go Outside During An Earthquake?

You should never go outside during the earthquake. It’s incredibly dangerous. You could be hit with falling debris, and it’s easy to fall over during the panic.

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