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An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the ground. Although earthquakes are uncommon in New York City, tremors occasionally occur and residents should be prepared. In the event of an earthquake, consider the following:


Drop, Cover and Hold On:

  • Drop to the floor.
  • Cover your head and neck with your arms. If you can move safely, crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table. If there is low furniture, or an interior wall or corner nearby, and the path is clear, these may also provide some additional cover. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures.
  • Hold on to any sturdy shelter until the shaking stops.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside.
  • Move carefully after the quake, watching for items that may have fallen or broken. Put on sturdy shoes before investigating further to prevent potential injuries from broken glass.
  • If power is out, use a flashlight and turn on a battery-operated radio for more information. Do not use candles or open flame as a source of light.
  • If you smell gas, leave immediately and call 911. If gas is leaking and you know how, turn off the source of gas at the outside main, and call the gas company from outside your home.
  • Open closet and cabinet doors carefully, as items may have shifted inside.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks, which often follow an earthquake.
  • If you are confined to a wheelchair, try to get under a doorway or into an inside corner, lock the wheels and cover your head with your arms. Remove any items that are not securely attached to the wheelchair.
  • If you are unable to move from a bed or chair, protect yourself from falling objects by covering up with blankets and pillows.
  • Do Not use the elevators.


If you can, go to an open area away from trees, telephone poles, utility lines and buildings.
Once in the open, Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Stay there until the shaking stops. This might not be possible in a city, so you may need to duck inside a building to avoid falling debris.


  • Pull to the side of the road and stop as quickly as safety permits. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • STAY in the vehicle.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
  • Anticipate traffic light outages and other power interruptions.


  • Expect aftershocks. Drop, Cover, and Hold On whenever you feel shaking.
  • When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move and there is a safe way out through any debris. Then exit the building.
  • In the event of an injury or any dangerous conditions, call 911 or SJU Public Safety (718 990-5252). If you are located at a study abroad site, contact the site director for emergency information.
  • Help people who are trapped or injured, especially those who may require special assistance such as infants, seniors, and people with access and functional needs. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate