PUBLISHED September 2018

Staying Safe in Earthquakes

Caused by shifts and cracks along continents and fault lines, earthquakes can range in severity from barely-felt to city-swaying events that cause widespread damage and destruction.​

The earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 in Canterbury showed us just how devastating earthquakes can be, and unfortunately, many people were caught off guard. We want to make your world safer, and though we can’t stop forces of nature, we can help you through them. Here’s how to stay safe around earthquakes.

During an earthquake

Earthquakes can strike quickly, and without warning. You may feel a large jolt, or a “rolling” of the earth below your feet.

  • Stay calm.
  • Get into the “drop, cover, hold” position – the best place for this is under a sturdy piece of furniture, like a table. Exit when it’s safe to do so, and do not use lifts or elevators.
  • If you’re outside, move away from trees, buildings and power lines, then drop, cover and hold.
  • If you’re driving, safely pull over (away from buildings, trees and power lines, and remain in the car until the shaking stops. Avoid bridges or overpasses.

After an earthquake

After an earthquake, be prepared for aftershocks. Though they won’t be as powerful as the first one, they can still be severe and cause further damage.

  • Check on people around you and tend to small injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, or there is a fire that you can’t safely contain, call the emergency services. Only use phone lines unless absolutely necessary, to keep them as open as possible for emergency calls.
  • Put your family emergency plan into place – meet at a specific area, collect children from school etc.
  • Keep pets under your immediate control – they may be disoriented and stressed.
  • Check for damage to supplies – turn off water and electricity. If you hear a “whooshing” or hissing sound or if you can smell gas, open a window and order everyone out. If you can safely turn the gas off, do so. Inform the authorities of the escaping gas and other damaged ammenities.
  • Stay tuned into your local radio station and heed all instructions from Civil Defence or emergency service personnel. Stay away from damaged areas and debris.

If your home, car or contents have been damaged by an earthquake, take photos and report it to us as soon as possible. You can also make a claim with EQC:

For domestic property EQC cover the first $150k for house damage. You can lodge a claim with EQC either online or by making a phone call as listed below.

Phone: 0800 DAMAGE (0800 326 243)