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What to Do During an Earthquake or Tsunami

Undersea earthquakes can produce tsunamis that can strike the coast quickly and with little warning. If you are in a low-lying area along the coast and feel an earthquake do as follows:

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#1 During The Earthquake: Drop, Cover, and Hold

Option 1

  • Drop to the ground, to avoid any falling or flying objects.
  • Cover, find something sturdy to get under, like a desk or table. If nothing is available, get close to a wall and cover your head.
  • Hold on and keep down. Stay there until the shaking stops.

Option 2

  • Drop to the ground, to avoid any falling or flying objects.
  • Find Cover at the base of a sturdy object. Make sure to keep head and neck area covered for protection.
  • Stay until all the shaking stops.

Refer to image for an example of both methods.

#2 After the Earthquake:

If you are in a building

  • Carefully make your way to the exit. 
  • Avoid areas that have suffered heavy damage.

Before exiting

  • Make sure your exit is safe.

As you exit

  • Look for parts of the building that may fall on you.

Once Outside

  • Watch for other hazards such as electrical wires that have fallen. 
  • Avoid areas that have an odor of natural gas since pipes may have ruptured.

A tsunami can be generated by an earthquake that occured hundreds of miles away. It is possible, that you may not feel the earthquake in the local area where you are. Federal and State agencies alert local officials who will sound the evacuation alarm. If you hear the alarm do not waste any time!

#3 Tsunami Alert: Immediate Evacuation 

It's time to move. You may only have 5 to 15 minutes to get to high ground!

  • Move inland and uphill quickly, or use a local evacuation route.
  • Do not wait for any official alarm to sound. Get away from the ocean. 
  • Walk quickly to the nearest high ground at least 60 feet above sea level and well inland.
  • Do not try to drive your vehicle. Traffic jams will trap many in deadly flood zones.
  • Do not remain close to the beach or in any oceanfront buildings.

#4 Wait for the Official "All Clear" Before Returning to Low Lying Areas

If there is a wave it is not safe to return. Stay where you are!

  • Do not go back for belongings, they can be replaced but your life can't.
  • Never return to areas near sea level until it is announced that it is safe to do so!
  • Help each other, survival may depend on it.