Earthquakes are rare in Indiana. Unlike other emergencies, the procedures to deal with an earthquake are much less specific. Since earthquake magnitude cannot be predetermined, everyone must initiate emergency precautions within a few seconds after the initial tremor is felt, assuming the worst possible case.

The best earthquake instruction is to take precautions before the earthquake (e.g., secure or remove objects above you that could fall during an earthquake).

During the earthquake remain calm and ACT, don’t react.

  1. If indoors, DROP to the floor under a desk or table or in a doorway; COVER your head and face with your arms, and HOLD on. Stay away from windows, shelves, and heavy equipment.
  2. Do not use elevators.
  3. If outdoors, move quickly away from buildings, utility poles, overhead wires, parking garages and other structures. CAUTION: Avoid downed power or utility lines as they may be energized. Do not attempt to enter buildings until you are advised to do so by Purdue Police or Fire Department personnel.
  4. If in an automobile, stop in the safest place available, preferably an open area away from power lines and trees. Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle for the shelter it provides.


  1. Be prepared for aftershocks. Aftershocks are usually less intense than the main quake, but can cause further structural damage.
  2. Protect yourself at all times.
  3. Evaluate the situation and call 911 for emergency assistance, if necessary.
  4. Do not use flares, torches, lighted cigarettes, or open flames, since gas leaks could be present.
  5. Open windows, etc., to ventilate the building. Watch out for broken glass.
  6. If a fire is caused by the earthquake, implement the FIRE PROCEDURES.
  7. Determine whether anyone has been caught in the elevators or was trapped by falling objects. If so, call 911.
  8. If the structural integrity appears to be deteriorating rapidly, evacuate the building.
    1. Heavy use of the telephone will tie up the lines and prevent emergency calls from going out.
  10. Damaged facilities should be reported to Purdue Dispatch Center at 494-8221.
  11. Should you become trapped in a building, stay calm!
    1. If a window is available, place an article of clothing (shirt, coat, etc.) outside the window as a marker for rescue crews.
    2. If there is no window, tap on the wall at regular intervals to alert emergency crews of your location.
    3. Emergency Personnel will check buildings immediately after a major quake.