An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth's surface. Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning. They can occur at any time of the year and at any time of the day or night. On a yearly basis, 70 to 75 damaging earthquakes occur throughout the world.

Aftershocks are smaller earthquakes that follow the main shock and can cause further damage to weakened buildings. After-shocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake. Some earthquakes are actually foreshocks, and a larger earthquake might occur at a later date.

Emergency Information

  • The best protection during an earthquake is to get under heavy furniture such as a sturdy desk, table, or bench.
  • The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits, and alongside exterior walls.
  • Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, or falling objects.

Danger Zones

Earthquakes occur most frequently west of the Rocky Mountains, although historically the most violent earthquakes have occurred in the central United States. All 50 states and all U.S. territories are vulnerable to earthquakes. Forty-one states or territories are at moderate to high risk.

Help Your Community Get Ready

The media can raise awareness about earthquakes by providing important information to the community. Here are some suggestions:

  • Disseminate emergency information. Localize the information by running the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the American Red Cross and hospitals.
  • Interview county officials and representatives of the gas, electric, and water companies about shuttian earthquake
  • Conduct a week-long series on locating falling hazards in the home.
  • Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do during an earthquake.
  • Provide tips on conducting earthquake drills in the home.