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Rules of behaviour during earthquakes Printable version

Last update: 13.03.2023

During the first earthquake tremors

Turn off gas, water and electricity. If an earthquake is weak, it is better to wait it out at a place you are in. In case of a stronger earthquake (tremor strength is five or more points) and if you are in a room on the second or higher floor, do not leave a room. Stand in a safe place near the inner wall, in the corner, in the doorway, near the support column, lie in the bathtub. Creep under a bed or table to protect yourself from falling objects and debris. Stay away from windows and heavy furniture. Do not use the elevator.

If you are outdoors, move to an open area away from buildings and power lines and stay away from torn electric wires. Do not run along buildings or enter them.

If you are in a car, stay in an open area without leaving a car until the tremors stop.

Note: during an earthquake, it is very rare that soil movement causes human casualties.

Major reasons of accidents during earthquakes are as follows:

  • collapse of certain parts of buildings
  • alling of broken glass
  • torn electric wires
  • falling of heavy objects in an apartment
  • fires
  • uncontrolled behaviour of people in panic.

After an earthquake:

Provide first aid to those in need.

Release the aggrieved from under the debris, if this does not require additional equipment.

Turn on radio.

Whenever possible, shut off the water supply, gas and power supply.
Do not use open fire.

Be careful when leaving a room where you were during an earthquake.
Keep your radio on, listen for the services signals.

Do not approach or enter visibly damaged buildings. Be prepared for repeated tremors, the first two to three hours after an earthquake are considered the most dangerous in this respect, although they can happen in several days, weeks or even months. The more time has passed since the first earthquake, the less chances are of repeated tremors.

Prolonged compression syndrome, so-called crash syndrome, is one of the most dangerous injuries. During a prolonged exposure of heavy objects such as fragments of building structures, trunks of fallen trees, massive furniture and the like on a person's arm or leg, the blood flow to the limb stops. This leads to metabolic disorders in the human body. The consequences of a crash syndrome are often associated with amputation.

Having determined that a victim has signs of prolonged compression syndrome, examine the victim; give a pain killer; apply a tourniquet above the place of compression; after freeing the victim, get him/her warm. Remember, there is no time to lose. Get a person to the hospital immediately.

Collapse of building

Full or partial sudden collapse of a building is an emergency situation arising due to mistakes made in the design of the building, deviation from the project during construction work, violation of installation rules, commissioning of a building or its individual parts with major deficiencies, violation of operating rules, as well as due to a natural or man-made emergency.

A collapse can often be facilitated by an explosion resulting from a terrorist act, improper operation of household gas pipelines, careless handling of fire, storage of flammable and explosive substances in buildings.

A sudden collapse leads to a prolonged breakdown of a building, outbreak of fires, destruction of utilities and energy networks, formation of blockages, injury and death of people.

Preventive measures

Consider an action plan in advance in case of a building collapse and familiarize all your family members with it. Explain them the order of actions in case of a sudden collapse as well as the rules of first aid.

Make sure you have and store a complete first aid kit and fire extinguisher in an accessible place. Keep pesticides, flammable liquids and other hazardous substances in a safe, well-insulated place. Prevent storage of gas cylinders in an apartment without need. Familiarize with location of electrical switches, gas and water main taps for emergency shutdowns of electricity, gas and water.

Upon the slightest signs of a gas leak, block its access to an apartment, ventilate a room and notify the “Gorgaz” service by calling 104. It is strictly forbidden to use open fire sources, electrical switches and electrical appliances until the gas is completely evaporated.

Do not clutter building corridors, staircases, emergency and fire exits. Keep documents, money, a flashlight and spare batteries in a convenient place.

What is to be done during a sudden building collapse

If you hear an explosion or find out that a building is losing its stability, try to leave it as soon as possible, taking documents, money and essentials. When leaving premises, go down the stairs, do not use the elevator, as it may fail at any time. Prevent panic, crush on doors during evacuation, stop those who are going to jump from balconies and windows from floors above the first, as well as through glazed windows. Once outside, do not stand near buildings, go to an open area. If you are in a building and there is no way to leave it, then find the safest place: openings of the main inner walls, corners formed by the main inner walls, under the frame beams. If you have children with you, cover them with yourself. Open the door from an apartment to provide yourself with an exit if necessary. Don't panic and stay calm, encourage those with you. Stay away from windows, electrical appliances, turn off water, electricity and gas immediately. If a fire breaks out, try to extinguish it immediately. Use your phone only to call law enforcement officials (tel. 102), firefighters (tel. 101), doctors (tel. 103), rescuers (tel. 112). Don't go out to a balcony. Do not use matches as there may be a danger of gas leakage.

How to act in a debris

Breathe deeply, do not panic, focus on the most important things, try to survive at any cost, believe that help will come. Provide yourself first aid if possible. Try to adapt to a situation and look around, look for a possible way out. Try to determine where you are, if there are other people nearby: listen, raise your voice. Remember that a person is able to withstand thirst and especially hunger for a long time, if not to waste energy. Look in your pockets or nearby for items that could help give light or sound signals (for example, a flashlight, a mirror, or metal objects that can be used to knock on a pipe or wall and thus draw attention). If the only way out is a narrow hole, squeeze through it. To do this, you need to relax your muscles and move, pressing your elbows to the body.

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