11 Essential Earthquake Safety Tips

In Jamaica, we observe Earthquake Awareness Week in January.

To help you get ‘ready’, here are 11 essential earthquake safety tips – 3 ‘before‘ tips, 5 ‘during‘ tips and 3 ‘after ‘tips:

Pratville Primary & Infant School students in Manchester take cover during an earthquake drill - Contributed Photo
Students taking cover during an earthquake drill.


  1. Secure objects like doors and shelves so that there are less items to fall or fly in the event of an earthquake.
  2. Check the house electrical wiring for defects and fix them.
  3. Prepare an earthquake safety kit with minimum: flashlight with batteries, first aid kit, canned foods, bottled water, money, emergency contact numbers and copies of important documents.


  1. If you are outdoors, lie flat where you are.
  2. If you are outdoors, stay away from power lines, trees and buildings (especially buildings with a lot of glass).
  3. If you are indoors, ‘duck, cover and hold‘.
    • Duck under sturdy heavy objects like tables.
    • Cover your head with one hand to protect it from falling and flying objects.
    • Hold the furniture with the other hand so if it moves, move with it.
  4. If you are indoors and have no furniture to ‘duck, cover and hold under’, stand in the doorframe.
  5. If you are indoors, stay away from anything that looks like it could fall.  Common hazards are what-nots, wardrobes, freestanding closets, bookcases, lamps, figurines, hanging plants, mirrors on walls, objects on shelves, hanging lamps or chandeliers, heavy pictures/paintings above the bed.


  1. Be aware that aftershocks may happen in the minutes, hours, days of months after.
  2. Check yourself and your family for injuries.
  3. Walk in heavy soled shoes if possible.  Check stairs and other structures for soundness before standing or walking on therm. Be careful of fires, live wires, glass and other hazards.

For more tips or details, visit the Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODPEM) pages: