What to Do During an Earthquake

Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe. Be prepared for aftershocks.

If Indoors

  • DROP to the floor
  • COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building
  • Do not run outside
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture
  • Wheelchair users: apply the chair’s brake and cover your head with your arms
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may activate
  • DO NOT use the elevators
If Outdoors
  • Stay there
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects
If in a Vehicle
  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake
If Trapped Under Debris
  • Do not light a match
  • Do not move about or kick up dust
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing

What to do After an Earthquake

  • After the shaking stops, check for injuries and administer first aid if necessary and if qualified. DO NOT move victims unless absolutely necessary
  • Report injuries and damage to the Suffolk University Police Department via 8111 or 617-573-8111, then Risk Management at extension 8611 or 617-573-8611, or riskmanagement@suffolk.edu. If not possible to call, then notify in person if safe to do so
  • Upon notification by emergency personnel, evacuate the building to your designated assembly area. DO NOT use the elevators. Bring emergency supplies, warm clothing and purses/wallets with you; close all doors behind you
  • Replace telephone handsets that have been shaken off. DO NOT use telephones except to report fires or medical emergencies
  • DO NOT use matches, lighters or other open flames
  • Assist persons with disabilities
  • Notify emergency personnel as soon as possible of the location of anyone unable to evacuate the building
  • DO NOT return to an evacuated building unless directed to do so by emergency personnel
  • DO NOT enter a parking structure until you are told it is safe by emergency personnel
  • Be prepared for AFTERSHOCKS
  • Access www.suffolk.edu for updated information as it becomes available. If outdoors, watch for downed power lines and possible falling debris
  • DO NOT enter damaged buildings. Return only when campus officials deem the building(s) to be safe
  • The Suffolk University Police Department will control access to affected areas, and in conjunction with Risk Management, will make evaluations to determine if further actions are warranted