Safety Tips: Earthquakes

Preparing for an earthquake is everyone’s job. Southern California is earthquake country. Counties, cities, business establishments and universities have earthquake plans — but if they are going to work, everyone has to have their personal earthquake plan. UCLA’s emergency plan depends on people who are not critically impacted in a quake being able to be self-reliant so that resources can go where they are needed most.

Read the following information carefully, and call the UCLA Emergency Preparedness Planner (in the Office of Environment, Health & Safety) at (310) 206-8611 if you have any questions.

What To Do Before An Earthquake

  • Know what the dangers are, read as much as you can on the subject.
  • Identify hazards in places where you spend most of your time—tall cabinets and bookcases, overhead lamps and ceiling fans, etc. Move heavy objects from high shelves to lower shelves. Know the danger spots such as glass windows, skylights, brick walls, and unsecured furniture.
  • Select safe areas in each room—under tables or desks, or against inside walls and supported doorways.
  • Establish an out-of-state telephone contact to call after a disaster and keep the number in your wallet. Instruct your family to use the number to relay information about yourselves among one another.
  • Keep an emergency kit under or beside your bed. Some of the essentials to include are: first aid items, flashlight and sturdy shoes, extra medication, spare eyeglasses, battery-powered radio, a bottle of water and wrapped snack, a sweater or jacket, and the telephone number of your out-of-state phone contact person.

During An Earthquake

  • When you first feel shaking, immediately take cover under something sturdy: under your desk, in the hallway, or in your door frame (be aware of swinging doors); Cover your head. Stand against an interior wall if necessary.
  • Do not attempt to walk during the quake; you may be thrown to the ground.
  • Do not try to go outside. The area immediately surrounding any building is extremely hazardous due to falling objects and breaking glass. Only exit the building once you have been provided clearance to exit the building or if it is unsafe to remain inside.
  • If you are outside when a quake starts, move away from the sides of buildings, overhead power lines, chimneys, antennas, etc. Drop to the ground and protect your head.
  • Accept that you will be frightened. There will be a great deal of noise, and the lights, except for emergency lighting, may go out.
  • Expect the intensity of the shaking to fluctuate. It may increase and decrease several times before subsiding. Wait a few seconds after the shaking stops before leaving your protection.

What To Do After An Earthquake

  • Make sure you are wearing shoes to avoid injury from broken glass, etc.
  • If an evacuation is ordered, use the stairs. Never use elevators during a building evacuation.
  • Do not reenter your residence or any building, including parking structures, until they have been examined and declared safe.
    University staff (residence hall staff, apartment staff, etc.) or other campus officials will dispense additional information; listen to them and follow their instructions. Your safety may depend on your cooperation, so please comply.