Although New England has not experienced a damaging earthquake since 1755, numerous less powerful earthquakes have been centered in Massachusetts and neighboring states. Seismologists state that a serious earthquake occurrence is possible. There are 5 seismological faults in Massachusetts, but there is no discernible pattern of previous earthquakes along these fault lines. Earthquakes occur without warning and may be followed by after shocks.

If You are Indoors

If you are indoors when shaking starts, take the following steps:

  • “Drop, cover, and hold on.” If you are not near a strong table or desk, drop to the floor against an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Avoid windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and cabinets filled with heavy objects.
  • Do not try to run out of the structure during strong shaking.
  • If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head with a pillow.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • If you use a wheelchair, lock the wheels and cover your head.

If You are Outdoors

If you are outdoors when shaking starts, take the following steps:

  • Move to a clear area if you can safely walk.
  • Avoid power lines, buildings, and trees.
  • If you’re driving, pull to the side of the road and stop. Avoid stopping under overhead hazards

Once the Earthquake Shaking Stops

  • Check the people around you for injuries; provide first aid. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Check around you for dangerous conditions, such as fires, downed power lines, and structural damage. Inspect your home for damage.
  • If you have fire extinguishers and are trained to use them, put out small fires immediately.
  • Turn off the gas only if you smell gas.
  • Check your phones to be sure they have not shaken off the hook and are tying up a line.

If You are Trapped in Debris

  • Move as little as possible so that you don’t kick up dust. Cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort.