Earthquake Facts & Preparedness

Earthquake Damaged Road

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Logo
Provided by NOAA’s
National Weather Service


  • An earthquake is the sudden, sometimes violent movement of the earth’s surface from the release of energy in the earth’s crust.
  • There are over a million earthquakes that occur annually, including those too small to be felt.
  • One earthquake is felt approximately every 30 seconds.


Know what to do when the shaking begins:

  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
  • If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
  • If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place. Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

Identify what to do after the shaking stops:

  • Check yourself for injuries.
  • Check others for injuries. Give first aid for serious injuries.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires, and eliminate fire hazards.
  • Listen to the radio for instructions.
  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
  • Use a telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies.

Click for more information regarding earthquakes from the American Red Cross