What to do if you feel a Earthquake

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If you feel shaking so severe that you cannot stand (or if less severe shaking lasts for a minute or more):

  • If you are inside a building: drop, cover, and hold until the shaking stops. Then..… 
  • If you are in a low-rise building near the water: walk inland for a quarter mile (~20 minutes) or until you reach 50-ft. elevation. Don’t wait for a siren.
  • If you are in a high-rise building near the water: move up to the third floor or above.
  • If you are not near the water: stay put.

If you feel mild shaking, followed a few minutes later by the sirens:

  • If you are in a low-rise building near the water: walk inland until you are outside the evacuation zone.
  • If you are in a high-rise building near the water: move up to the third floor or above.
  • If you are not near the water: stay put.

Know the following:

  • An unusual drawdown of the sea is a natural tsunami warning sign, although this does not happen in every tsunami situation. It happens when the trough of the wave comes in first. If the crest comes in first, there will be an abnormally high flooding followed by the sea receding, following by another crest, and so on.
  • A tsunami is a series of waves, and the first wave may not be the largest one. The time between waves can be 5-60 minutes, so the danger can last for several hours.
  • Tsunami waves will wrap around the islands, so all coastlines will be at risk.
  • Ships at sea should move to and stay in deep water, where tsunami waves have a height of only a foot or two.
  • If a warning is issued, follow instructions. It is best to be prepared with food, water, and a radio. 

* Information from Dr. Gerard Fryer, Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) 

Last Revised September 2013