Many people (international and domestic) move to Alaska and they don’t know what to do when an earthquake happens because they don’t have them at home. Earthquakes can occur in Alaska at any time ... without notice. In fact, Alaska experiences minor earthquakes on a regular basis. Knowing what to do can reduce the dangers and make a big difference in how an earthquake will affect you, should a major earthquake occur.
What to do when a major earthquake happens?
If you are INDOORS when shaking starts:
- “DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON.” If you are not near a strong table or desk, drop to the floor against an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
- Avoid windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture (filing cabinets and bookshelves), large appliances and cabinets filled with heavy objects.
- Do not try to run out of your building during strong shaking—you can be killed or injured by falling debris (glass, roof tiles, concrete, etc.).
- If you are on campus, it is safer to remain inside a building after an earthquake unless there is a fire or gas leak. Glass from high-rise buildings does not always fall straight down; it can catch a wind current and travel great distances.
- If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head with a pillow.
- Do not use elevators.
- If you use a wheelchair, lock the wheels and cover your head.
If you are OUTDOORS when shaking starts:
- Move to a clear area if you can safely walk. You should avoid overhead power lines, buildings and trees.
- If you’re driving, pull to the side of the road and stop. Avoid stopping under overhead hazards or near buildings.
Once the earthquake shaking stops:
- Be prepared for aftershocks—they may be frequent and could exceed the first quake.
- Check the people around you for injuries; provide first aid. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of a gas leak, hazardous material spill, fire or falling debris.
- Check around you for dangerous conditions such as fires, downed power lines and structure damage.
- If you have fire extinguishers and are trained to use them, put out small fires immediately.
- Check your phones to be sure they have not shaken off the hook and are tying up a line.
- Inspect your residence and work areas for damage.
If you are trapped in debris:
- Move as little as possible so that you don’t kick up dust. Cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Keep a whistle in your emergency kit.
- If you feel an earthquake, you can visit the Earthquake Information link on the Geophysical Institute to report a quake, look for earthquake information, and search other data.
UAFAlert delivers messages on a "best effort" basis to email and SMS text-capable wireless devices, such as most cellular telephones. Effective emergency response requires personal preparedness and planning. While no emergency communications system can be guaranteed to be effective and reliable in every situation, we encourage you to sign up for UAFAlert as one part of your personal emergency preparedness plan.
UAFAlert is a personalized service designed to complement other tools already used by UAF to advise the campus community during crises or emergencies. Examples include:
- Mass Notification & Advisory System (E-Mail)
- SMS Text Messages
- UAF alert page: You may sign up for alert notifications on this page.
- 1-800-900-UCLA (recorded campus emergency information)
- Desktop Alerts
- Outdoor Warning Speakers located around campus.