What to do during the earthquake

It is impossible to prevent or stop an earthquake. However, based on forecasts, the authorities can often notify about a possible threat. In the case of a warning about the threat of an earthquake or when it has already started, you should act quickly but calmly, confidently, and without panic.

If you were warned about an earthquake in advance:

Before leaving the house, turn off heating devices and gas; if the stove is burning, turn it off;

Place heavy and large items on the floor. Secure things that can fall;

Listen to official information and procedural instructions on the radio. Do not use the phone unnecessarily so as not to overload the network;

If you are not alone at home, first help children and the elderly to dress and pack, then pack yourself and take an emergency suitcase or quickly pick the most necessary things: documents, spare clothes, a small supply of food, drinking water, medicine, a flashlight, a radio;

Keep calm, warn your neighbours about the threat, and help children, pregnant women, the elderly, and everyone who cannot take care of themselves;

Explain to children how to act when an earthquake starts. In case of evacuation, label your child’s backpack and clothing pockets with their name, year of birth, home address, intended destination, and parents’ names and contact information. Explain to the child when and how to use this note;

Leave the apartment. On the street, move away from buildings as quickly as possible in the direction of squares, wide streets, parks, sports grounds, and undeveloped areas.

If the earthquake has already begun:

Hide. While the impulses continue  – quickly move to a place away from windows or to a place where there is less danger that furniture or other heavy objects will fall on you.

It is best to hide under solid tables, beds, near main walls or columns. While hiding in the kitchen, beware of hanging cabinets and large household devices. If hiding in the bedroom – you can cover your head with a pillow or a blanket and this will protect you from injury if a window or mirror breaks.

If you have a flashlight, it will help you act clearly even if the electricity fails. However, it is better to keep a mobile phone close at hand, which can replace a flashlight and will also be a mean of communication and a source of information for you.

If you find yourself under rubble – don’t panic; assess the situation. Follow a plan of action that will help you get free.

First of all, call for help. If you were heard, wait until the blockage is cleared. If you’re not heard – try to rescue yourself, but without sudden movements.

Assess the situation: do you see what has fallen on you? If you can, free the limbs, and begin to disassemble the blockage, but try not to touch the thing on which everything is held. If you can’t cope, wait for help without giving up trying to make yourself known: call, shout, loudly knock on the pipes.

Wait for the first impulses to subside. After they fade, carefully leave the hiding place, remembering that the danger isn’t over and there is still a risk of injury from broken glass or other objects. Wear shoes to avoid hurting your feet.

Prepare the way for evacuation. Open interior and entrance doors, open windows so that they aren’t blocked and you have the opportunity to leave at any time.

Turn off electrical appliances, the gas stove, turn off the oven, if you have one. 

If necessary, evacuate. Don’t rely on your neighbors for this decision. First of all, listen to the official messages: on the radio, television, on official websites and media: where is the earthquake’s epicenter, whether it is dangerous in your city or district, and whether evacuation has been announced. If you think it is safe at home, then stay home.

If you decide to evacuate:

  1. Turn off gas, water, and electricity.
  2. Take the most necessary things with you: documents, a small supply of food, water, and medicines.
  3. When leaving, do not use the elevator; go on foot. Exit quickly but carefully: with your back to the walls, especially if you have to go downstairs.
  4. Find out if your relatives are safe. After making sure they are okay – help elderly neighbors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and everyone unable to take care of themselves.
  5. Check the official channels where the nearest meeting point is and head to a safe place.

On the way to safe places:

The best option is to move on foot. However, if you are in a car, plan a route away from balconies, trees, and other structures that may fall. During repeated oscillations – stop, open the door and stay in the car until the oscillations stop. Do not stop under bridges, overpasses, power lines, stay away from balconies, eaves and trees.

If you are walking to a safe space:

Avoid narrow and cluttered streets, walk through wide streets and squares, watch carefully for walls that may fall, stay away from towers, bell towers, reservoirs;

In dangerous places, keep a backpack over your head, it can protect you from injury;

Watch out for dangerous objects that may be lying on the ground (live wires, broken windows, broken boards, etc.);

Do not come close to fireplaces, do not hide near dams, rivers, sea beaches and lake shores;

Try to help those who cannot protect themselves (children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and the elderly)

If you see a person in danger, call the rescuers or an ambulance and while they are on their way, if possible, provide them first aid. If a person is trapped – unite with other people to free him (if in that situation it is possible).

When you have arrived at a safe location and the danger has subsided:

  • Remain calm and try to comfort any children or individuals who have experienced mental trauma from the earthquake.
  • Evaluate the impact of the disaster: seek medical attention if necessary. If you are well, assist the injured if possible and call for emergency services for those in need.
  • If your home has been damaged and you don’t have family nearby to provide shelter, evacuation centers should offer temporary housing. After finding a place to stay, find out from local authorities the contact information for organizations offering assistance to those affected.
  • If your home was not damaged, proceed with caution when returning. There is a possibility of aftershocks, gas leaks, damaged electrical lines, and broken glass.
  • Avoid using open flames, heating devices, or gas stoves until you are sure it is safe.
  • Stay informed of any updates or announcements from local authorities regarding the status of the threat.

Important information for the media, bloggers and all citizens who photograph or write about war and the army

What is categorically prohibited to be covered by the mass media during wartime:

  • names of bases and subdivisions, as well as their locations
  • the number of soldiers in bases and units
  • the number of weapons and equipment, their condition and place of storage
  • conditional marks of objects

Any information about:

  • operations carried out or planned
  • system of protection and defense of military units
  • available military protection such as: weapons and equipment(except visible or obviously expressed)
  • procedure for engaging forces (military) and facilities (weapons)
  • intelligence gathering
  • movement and deployment of troops (names, numbers, routes)
  • military units and their tactics, methods of action
  • unique operations and their execution methods
  • the effectiveness of the enemy’s electronic warfare
  • postponed or canceled operations
  • missing or crashed aircraft, ship and search and rescue operations
  • plans for the security of our troops (disinformation, camouflage, countermeasures)
  • informational and psychological operations carried out or planned
  • propaganda or justification of russia’s large-scale armed aggression against Ukraine.

Do not post on social media:

  • consequences of hits by enemy’s missiles or projectiles or moments of their flight in the sky. By doing so you will help the enemy to adjust the fire.
  • time and place of “hits” (neither in publications nor in comments)
  • information about the work of the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces
  • a photo showing numbers, special markings and markings on destroyed or downed enemy equipment.
  • unverified information about victims or dead.