What to do after an Earthquake is over

There are many aspects that must be considered when figuring out what to do in the aftermath of an earthquake. Some of these can and should be planned for in advance, particularly in earthquake prone areas. Some cannot be planned for.


The more severe the earthquake was, the more damage that is normally done. A quake of magnitude 2 on the Richter scale is often barely noticed by people. If the magnitude is over 7, on the other hand, there is going to be damage done, most of the time. The focus is then on the severity of the quake, and it is probably best to explain this in terms of a major quake.

Medical needs

A person crawling out from under rubble isn’t likely to be in great shape. Medical needs are important, and it is a good idea to know where to get medical treatment if it is needed. It is also a great idea to have emergency first aid supplies on hand, in case there isn’t any available medical treatment.


A supply of water is something that can be planned for. It is common for water lines to rupture during an earthquake. It also isn’t unusual for sewer lines to rupture, contaminating the water supply. If no drinking water is on hand, this is the first order of business. A person can survive a great length of time without food, but they won’t survive long without water. Even in areas with mild temperatures, this means a minimum of one gallon of water, per day, per person. Five gallons a day is far better.


It is important to keep everyone dry, warm, and protected after a big quake. Some places set up shelters for the affected people, but not every place does. This can also be pre-planned. Having a tent or a place to go, can mean the difference between life and death. Shelter is the second on the importance list, naturally after medical needs.


It isn’t recommended to necessarily stockpile food items. However, having cans of food that can be retrieved easily, can save lives. This can also be planned for. It is a good idea to have a cache of food, stored away from buildings, if possible. This way, if the worst happens, there will still be something to eat. As distasteful as it is, even dog or cat food is better than starving to death.


When a big quake happens, people suffer. Some have more problems than others. It is important to help anyone in need. When people help one another, amazing things happen. This is true of any natural disaster. A neighborhood that pools their resources is much more likely to survive than one that doesn’t.

More people die in the aftermath of an earthquake than during it. People can’t control the severity of the quake, but they can pre-plan, to give themselves the best chance of survival. They can help others who didn’t prepare quite as well. What to do in the aftermath of an earthquake is basically to not panic, work methodically, and when possible, to plan for events before they happen.


US Geological Survey
Oregon State University
University of California, Berkley