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Crisis Protocol: Earthquake


  1. An earthquake is a vibratory or undulating movement of a portion of the earth's crust.
  2. Aftershock is a secondary tremor that follows the initial earthquake. Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks, and even months following an earthquake. Damaged buildings may be destroyed by aftershocks following the main quake.


Before an earthquake

During an earthquake - remain calm


  1. Drop, cover, and HOLD ON.
  2. Seek refuge in a doorway or under a desk or table until the emergency is over.
  3. Stay away from glass windows, shelves and heavy equipment.
  4. After the initial shock, evaluate the immediate area.
  5. Prepare for an after shock (second tremor).
  6. Call the Department of Public Safety from your current location.
  7. If an emergency exists, activate building alarm.
  8. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
  9. Assist persons with mobility difficulty in exiting the building.
  10. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
  12. Once outside, proceed to the Gathering Point identified for your building.
  13. Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrant areas and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and personnel.
  14. DO NOT return to the building until you are told to do so by the Department of Public Safety or University official.
  15. The Building Coordinator will take attendance and assist in accounting for all building occupants.
  16. If requested, assist emergency crews as much as necessary.
  17. A campus emergency command post may be set up near the emergency site. Keep clear of the command post unless you have official business.


  1. If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines.
  2. Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops.
  3. If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location
  4. Stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
  5. After the initial shock, evaluate the immediate area.
  6. Call the Department of Public Safety from your current location.
  7. Prepare for the after shock (second tremor).

After an earthquake

Portions of this information taken from NEHRP (National Earthquakes Hazard Reduction Program), Los Angeles City Fire Department Earthquake preparedness handbook, and American Red Cross.