Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office
Department of Emergency Management
The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
When the Shaking Stops
Sure, we know to Drop, Cover and Hold. But then what?
Carefully assess your environment with all your senses. Be careful not to
inhale airborne particles (keep eyes and mouth closed) and be on the
alert for heat or smoke. Listen for anything that may still be shifting
open your eyes and look around in all directions. Has anything shifted or
fallen? Slowly get up, being sure to not hit your head or stumble into
anything that has moved. Look at the ground - are there any broken objects
or glass that could hurt you?
3) When you
are back on your feet:
You may need to evacuate your building if there was strong shaking,
especially if there are reports of structural damage. You may also need to
turn off your gas valve if you smell gas. Consider turning off your circuit
breakers, but only do so one by one and after you have shut off all light
switches to prevent any sparking which could cause a fire.
If you are near a large body of water (the ocean or a large lake), move to
higher ground as soon as you can safely do so - damaging waves can arrive
- Go on
foot. Roads and bridges may be damaged.
- If evacuation is impossible, go to the third or higher floor of a
sturdy building or climb a tree. This should only be used as a last
- Stay away from the coast until officials tell you it is safe to return.
The danger may last for days.
4) Once you
have determined that you are safe, begin informing others of your status,
or check in on others. Text first,
talk second - a text is far more likely to go through. Cell
lines may be busy, due to the great amount of phone calls others are
making. Texts take way less bandwidth than a phone call.
For more tips about what to do once the shaking stops, visit earthquakecountry.org/step6.
Remember: as the minutes, hours, and days pass, stay vigilant. Aftershocks
could continue. You can learn more about reconnecting and restoring as time
goes on in the weeks and months following an
earthquake, such as tips on filing insurance claims and rebuilding, at earthquakecountry.org/step7.