During a major earthquake, you may experience a shaking that is gentle at first and within a second or two grows violent and knocks you off your feet OR you may be jarred first by a violent jolt, as though your building was hit by a truck. A second or two later you'll feel the shaking and, as in the first example, you'll find it very difficult (if not impossible) to move from one room to another.
During the Quake
- If you are indoors, stay there. Get under a desk or table or stand in a doorway or corner. Stay clear of windows, bookcases, mirrors, and fire places. If possible, extinguish any open flames or sources of ignition immediately.
- If you are outside, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls, and power lines.
- If you are in a high rise building, stay there. Stay away from windows and outside walls. Get under a desk or table. Do not use elevators!
- If you are in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doors. Move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.
- If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. If the earthquake has been severe, do not attempt to cross damaged bridges, damaged overpasses, or damaged sections of road.
After the Quake
- Check for injuries to yourself and others. Apply first aid. Do not move seriously injured individuals unless they are in immediate danger. Help people who are trapped by furniture or other items that do not require heavy tools to move. Rescue and emergency medical crews may not be readily available.
- Do not use the telephone immediately unless there is a serious injury, fire, or gas leak.
- If you suspect or know that someone is trapped in a building, contact UAH Police at 256-824-6911 or in person. Have someone post a message at the front of the building noting the time, date, number of victims, and their last known location in the building.
- Check for gas and water leaks, broken electrical wiring, and broken sewage lines. Check the building for cracks and damage. If there is gas leaking, extinguish all sources of ignition and do not turn on or off any electrical switches in the area. Call Facilities Maintenance for assistance immediately. Report any damage to Facilities Maintenance at 256-824-6490 or UAH Police at 256-824-6911. Attempt to block off damaged areas to keep people away from the hazard until additional help can arrive.
- Do not touch downed power lines or damaged building equipment.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, or other chemicals. If a spill is significant, utilize the Chemical Spills Emergency Procedure as outlined in this handbook.
- If a building is damaged, evacuate and attempt to secure the building against entry. Notify UAH Police at 256-824-6911 and Facilities Maintenance at 256-824-6490 of the damage and evacuation. Do not reenter damaged buildings. Notify your Supervisor.
- If you have to evacuate, post a message in clear view stating where you can be found. List reunion locations so that others looking for you later can find you. If you have a University pager, radio or cellular phone, take them with you along with batteries and chargers, if available. This may be your only method of communication for several hours.
- Turn on a battery powered radio for damage reports and information.
- Do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency. Keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.
- Be prepared for aftershocks. Aftershocks are usually smaller than the main quake but may be large enough to do additional damage to structures weakened during the main shock.