Skip to main content


Pacific Northwest Earthquakes



  • A safe location could be a sturdy table or piece of furniture.
  • If there isn’t anything close to you, cover your face and head with your arms, and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall.
  • If you are in bed, stay there. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow unless you are under a heavy light fixture. If so, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway for shelter unless you know it is strongly supported, and close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and offer very little protection, especially with a swinging door.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Do not use elevators.


  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in a safe location, stay there.
  • Do not attempt to enter any buildings during or directly after an earthquake.

In Moving Vehicle:

  • Stop as quickly as you can safely do so. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, overpasses, utility wires, and trees.
  • Stay inside your vehicle.
  • Once shaking has stopped, proceed cautiously. Avoid roads, bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.



  • Look around before moving to ensure it is safe before exiting a building.
  • Expect and be prepared for aftershocks. Be sure to move to a safe spot outdoors away from anything that could fall during additional shaking. Remember aftershocks could occur anytime during the next few minutes, up to months afterward.
  • Check family for injuries. Help injured or trapped people. Be aware of neighbors who may require special assistance. Give first aid if appropriate or necessary. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in danger.
  • Do not use the telephone except for emergencies.
  • Extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so.
  • If you live on or near the beach, evacuate to higher ground.
  • Listen to battery powered radio for emergency information. Expect that there will be no electricity.
  • Check your home for damaged sewage, gas or water lines. If anything appears damaged, or you smell/hear gas, turn off the lines.
  • Check for additional damage or potential weaknesses to chimneys, or foundation that may be further damaged during aftershocks.
  • Stay away from damaged areas.