Idaho is a semi-active earthquake zone. Actions taken before, during, and immediately after an earthquake may mean the difference between life and death. The following rules should be observed:
1. Before the tremor:
Most casualties result from partial building collapse, falling objects and debris, like toppling chimneys, falling bricks, ceiling plaster and light fixtures. Many of these conditions can be prevented by taking a few steps now to prepare. A brief survey of your home and office will indicate what hazards exist.
- Secure fixtures such as lights, cabinets, bookcases and top heavy objects to resist moving, coming lose or falling during shaking. Place large and heavy objects on lower shelves, securely fasten shelves to walls. Special care should be taken to remove hazardous objects from above sleeping areas. Do not hang plants in heavy pots that could swing free of hooks.
- Store bottled goods, glass, and other breakables in low or closed cabinets and use nonskid padded matting, hold-fast putty or Velcro whenever possible.
- Hold drills so each member of the department knows what to do in an earthquake.
- Prepare an office/home emergency kit. An example can be found at
2. During the tremor:
- Don’t panic. The motion is frightening, but unless it causes something to fall on you, it is relatively harmless.
- If you are indoors, stay indoors. Get under a desk, door frame, table or bench, or against an inside wall.
- Stay away from glass.
- Do not use candles, matches, or other open flames either during or after the tremor. Douse all fires.
- Do not be surprised if the electricity goes out.
- If you are outside, move away from buildings and utility wires. Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.
- Do not run through or near buildings. The greatest danger from falling debris is just outside doorways and close to outer walls.
- If you are in a vehicle, stop as quickly as safety permits. Stay in the vehicle. The car will move a great deal, but it is a relatively safe place to be.
3. After the tremor:
- Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of additional life-threatening injury.
- If the building is severely damaged, leave it immediately.
- Do not turn on utilities, including light switches. Do not use any type of open flame for lighting purposes. If you smell gas, open windows and leave the building. Do not re-enter the building until officials say it is safe.
- Do not use telephones except to report an emergency.
- If your supervisor is available, contact him/her for further instructions.
4. General Instructions:
- Do not go sightseeing.
- Watch or listen for updates by phone or on the radio.
- Do not use the telephone except to report medical or fire emergencies, safety hazards, or violent crime emergencies.
- Keep streets clear for emergency vehicles.
- Be prepared for aftershocks. Most of these are smaller than the main quake, but some may be large enough to do additional damage.
- Cooperate with public safety officials. Do not go into damaged areas unless your help is requested.
At the university, an additional hazard exists due to the number of chemicals and gas lines in laboratories. Leave the area immediately if chemical containers are broken or if gas lines or tanks are ruptured.
In case of severe damage or loss of life, the Campus Emergency Coordination Team will implement emergency procedures as soon as possible. The director will coordinate all campus operations and activities. Housing, food, medical care, and other emergency provisions will be made as needed.