ODPEM Government of Jamaica
Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
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Disasters Do Happen
10 Ways to Better Prepare For An Earthquake

Here are some measures that you can put in place to reduce your personal losses after an earthquake before one actually occurs.

  1. Learn about earthquakes: The first step to better protecting yourself, your family, and/or your business is to learn what earthquakes are all about. Unlike hurricanes, earthquakes can strike at any time, without warning, and cannot be predicted. Try to learn more about earthquakes and how they can affect you.

  1. Create a family or business disaster plan: This plan outlines the steps to take if a disaster, like an earthquake, should occur. Being prepared for disasters is everyone’s responsibility! 

  1. Conduct regular earthquake drills: All schools and offices should conduct earthquake drills at least twice per year. These drills will ensure that staff members and students know what to do should an earthquake occur.

  1. Inspect buildings for hazards: Conduct regular inspections of buildings to identify and remove items that could fall and cause injury and/or death should an earthquake occur.

  1. Take cover! If you are inside a building during an earthquake stay there and take cover under a sturdy object such as a strong doorway, desk, table or bed.  Watch out for falling objects. Do Not Rush Outside! 

  1. Try to remain calm! The most important thing to do during an earthquake is to remain calm.  If you can do so you are less likely to be injured.

  1. If you are outside… Try to stay away from high-rise buildings, walls, light poles or other structures that may fall. If possible, go to an open area away from anything that could fall and cause injury.

  1. If you are in a car… Stop in the safest possible open area and remain in the vehicle.

  1. If you are at home… Stay clear of glass windows and heavy objects such as furniture and appliances. Get under a sturdy object such as a desk or table, move into a hallway or crouch against an inside wall. Do not run downstairs, or rush outside while the building is shaking. Protect yourself where you are!  

  1. If you live near the sea or enjoying the beach… Watch out for tsunamis! A tsunami, a Japanese word meaning, “harbour wave”, is a wave or several waves caused by an earthquake that occurs under the sea. You may or may not feel the earthquake that causes a tsunami. If you are along the seashore and you see the sea withdraw from the shore or you notice sizeable waves approaching, consider this a warning sign that a tsunami might occur. Leave the area for higher ground immediately!


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