Here are a few things you should do after an earthquake to ensure your safety:

  • Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary.

  • Do not run outside. It is frightening to stay in a building immediately after an earthquake, but it is much safer than immediately going outside. An earthquake is not like a fire. You do not have to evacuate a building straight away unless it is showing obvious signs of distress.

  • Look quickly for damage around you, particularly in buildings where furniture and fittings may have become hazardous.

  • Look for small fires and, if possible and safe to do so, extinguish them.

  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window, get everyone out quickly and turn off the gas if you can.

  • If you see sparks, broken wires or evidence of electrical system damage, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box if it is safe to do so.

  • If available, put on long trousers, a long-sleeved top, sturdy shoes and heavy duty gloves to protect yourself from injury by broken objects.

  • If you are in a store, unfamiliar commercial building or on public transport, follow the instructions of those in charge.

  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, Drop, Cover and Hold. Aftershocks can occur minutes, days, weeks, months and even years following an earthquake.

  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines, and stay out of damaged areas.

  • Use social media or text messages instead of calling to keep phone lines clear for emergency calls.

  • Keep control of your pets; protect them from hazards and protect other people from your animals.

  • If your property is damaged:

    • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

    • If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.

    • Take photos of any damage. It will help speed up assessments of your claims.

    • Do not do anything that puts your safety at risk or causes more damage to your property.

Stay informed by listening to the radio or following your local Civil Defence Emergency Management Group online.

Check on your neighbours and anyone who might need your help.


If you need extra support or advice, we're here to help you 24/7.

Article originally published by getready.govt.nz

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