15 things to do during and after an earthquake

EWN has put together a list of what you can do to protect yourself during and after an earthquake.

FILE: The road damage following an earthquake. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Are you ready if an earthquake hits?

Following Nepal's 7.9 magnitude earthquake on 24 April, that has claimed thousands of lives, it's useful to know what to do if or when an earthquake hits.

Your chances of surviving an earthquake are much better if you prepare in advance and know what to do when an earthquake strikes.

The quake struck between the capital Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara in Nepal, killing over 2,000 people, bringing down homes, bridges and other infrastructure.

WATCH: Massive earthquake rocks Nepal.

Chief content editor for the Hindustan Times says even with warnings of the quake, the city was never ready for a quake of this magnitude despite the fact that Kathmandu is a known hotspot for quakes.

"Clearly the facilities aren't ready to handle casualties on this kind of scale and it would be difficult to handle even if the quake hit a rich country because of the magnitude of the quake."

Eyewitness News has put together a list of what one can do to protect yourself during and after an earthquake:


First thing is to try and stay calm!

  1. Drop down onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.

  1. Cover your head and neck under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall.

  1. If you're indoors, stay there. Get under, and hold onto, a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances.

  1. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot. If you're in an office building, stay away from windows and outside walls and do not use the elevator.

  1. If you're outside, get into the open. Stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you.

  1. If you're driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses.

  1. If you're near the ocean, be aware that tsunamis are associated with large earthquakes. Get to high ground.

  1. If you're in a crowded public place, avoid panicking and do not rush for the exit. Stay low and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.

  1. Don't use elevators (they'll probably get stuck anyway).


  1. Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there's evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box.

  1. If the phone is working, only use it in case of emergency. Likewise, avoid driving if possible to keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.

  1. Be aware that items may fall out of cupboards or closets when the door is opened, and also that chimneys can be weakened and fall with a touch.

  1. Listen to the radio for important information and instructions.

  1. If you're at school or work, follow the emergency plan or the instructions of the person in charge.

  1. Expect aftershocks.

Nepal is still dealing with rescue efforts and countries around the world have pledged their support to the mountainous region.

LISTEN: Update on the situation in Nepal.