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Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

Readiness. Response. Recovery.

Phone: 503-823-4375

Fax: 503-823-3903

TDD: 503-823-3947

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What should you do when an earthquake occurs?

April is earthquake preparedness month in Portland. One of the most important ways to be prepared is to know what to do during and after an earthquake.


What should you do when an earthquake occurs?During an earthquake you should:

  • If you are indoors, drop and take cover under a sturdy table or other furniture. Hold on to it and stay put until the shaking stops.
  • Stay clear of items that can fall and injure you, such as windows, fireplaces and heavy furniture.
  • Stay inside. You may be injured by breaking glass and falling objects if you run outside.
  • If you are at the coast, walk to higher ground away from the ocean as soon as it is safe for you to move.
  • If you are driving, move your car as far out of the normal traffic pattern as possible and stop if it is safe. Stay away from structures or objects that could fall on you, such as bridges, overpasses, light posts, power lines or trees. Stay inside your car.
  • If you are in the mountains, or near unstable slopes, be alert for falling rocks, trees or landslides that could be loosened by the earthquake.

After an earthquake you should:

  • Evacuate if you are in a tsunami hazard zone. Walk inland or to higher ground as soon as it is safe to do so. Do not wait for official notification. Stay away from the coast until officials permit you to return.
  • Check for injuries. Do not move seriously-injured persons unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Check for hazards such as fires, gas leaks, downed utility lines and fallen objects.
  • Clean up any potentially harmful materials spills.
  • Expect aftershocks. Aftershocks following large earthquakes can be large and damaging.

Source: Living on Shaky Ground: How to Survive Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Oregon.