An earthquake just occurred. Now what? Understanding what to do after an earthquake is essential for safety. Below are a few tips to help keep you, your family and others around you safe.
What to Do After an Earthquake
- Remain inside. Do not rush outside when the shaking stops.
- Activate pre-prepared emergency plans.
- Assess the situation/check for hazards. Rule out gas leaks, etc., before striking matches or using appliances.
- Check for injuries and render first aid as needed.
- Monitor emergency media for damage and public safety information.
- Check for obvious structural damage and any resulting hazards such as fires, gas leaks, exposed/arcing electrical components/wiring, leaking sewage, broken water pipes, dangling fixtures/furniture. Leave switches and valves as found unless a hazard exists.
- Have the building surveyed by a qualified structural engineer before re-entry.
- Make plans for temporary alternative shelter, if necessary.
- Consider leaving the gas supply turned on as it may be the only source of energy available, assuming there’s no danger, fire or smell of leaking gas.
- Report the smell of gas as soon as possible to the gas utility or fire department and, take the following precautions:
- Evacuate the building and move to a distance of 100 yards/meters from the building
- Monitor and control any possible sources of ignition
- DO NOT operate electrical switches – leave them as found
- DO NOT plug in/unplug any electrical cords/appliances
- Shut off the gas supply to the building at the meter
- DO NOT reopen a gas valve after a temporary shut-off. When it is safe to do so the operation should only be performed by a qualified person.
- Treat downed electrical wires as live until confirmed otherwise by a qualified person.
- Maintain a 10 yard/meter clear area around downed wires and establish protective barriers, if possible.
- Shut off power to damaged building areas at the circuit breakers where possible.
Water and Sewage
- Conserve water as much as possible. Water from heaters and toilet tanks can be used, but should be treated with iodine tablets.
- Note that water supplies may be contaminated.
- Shut off the water supply to conserve supply and avoid contamination if water or waste water lines are broken in or near your building.
- Fill all available containers (including bathtubs) with cold water for storage as service may be interrupted by subsequent aftershocks.
- Mobile phones and landlines should only be used to report extreme emergencies.
- Replace any landline handsets that have been dislodged.
Once you’re safe, report damage to your HUB broker immediately. We’ll help you determine the next steps and report the claim. The sooner you report losses, the quicker the claim will get resolved and you can be on your way to recovery.