Home > Health & Safety > How to behave in case of an earthquake?

How to behave in case of an earthquake?


5.5 magnitude earthquake at 130 km from Beirut (11th of May, 2012). It was felt in Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan. Source: EMSC – click here for more info

How to behave during a strong Earthquake:

  • Immediately seek a safe location such as beneath a table or desk, along an interior wall, or in a doorway (if you live in an old, adobe house that is not reinforced), away from windows or hazardous objects.
  • Protect the back of your head and your eyes (most people die because of flying objects, not because of building collapses). The best is to Drop, Cover, and Hold On! Drop to avoid falling if the earthquake is strong (it is sometimes impossible to run or even crawl during a strong earthquake), protect your head with your hands or a pillow if you’re in the bed, and don’t move until the quake stops.
  • Do not take stairs (that might collapse) and elevator (that may remain blocked).
  • If cooking, turn off heating elements immediately.
  • If outdoors, stay in open areas away from buildings, power lines, trees and other potential hazards.
  • If driving, stop quickly but safely and stay in the vehicle. Do not stop near power lines, bridges, overpasses or other potentially dangerous locations.
  • Stay calm and brace yourself to keep your balance, sitting if possible.

After a strong earthquake, just get as far as you can from the sea. An altitude of 50 m should be enough to be safe (very easy to reach). In case you don’t have time to escape, just climb up in a building. A tsunami would have moderate impact in Lebanon since the country does not have large flat-lands on the sea level.

I just picked out the most important points, if you want to know more about it just give a look to this link. Your homework is now to tell your family about it, and to keep these rules in a backward part of your mind!

As you may know – or not – major earthquakes have occurred and may occur again in Lebanon; Beirut has been destroyed several times during the 2000 last years. The next strong earthquake could take place today as well as in 1000 years.

The danger is that the country and the people are not prepared to face it, and a earthquake of 6-7 on the Richter scale could have devastating consequences. It is useless to panic or live in fear of such an event, but it is also very important to know how to behave, since it can save your life in case of major earthquake.

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Categories: Health & Safety
  1. Joumana
    May 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    is it better to stay inside the building or to run outside? When we were kids they used to tell us to run outside but now with all the buildings so close to each others and no big empty spaces anymore, isn’t it better to stay inside? And especially when we live on the coast side with a risk of tsunami, what’s best? Run to elevated floors or take the car and try to go towards the mountains? Do we have time for that?

    • Erik Vincenti Zakhia
      May 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Joumana ! Your question is a difficult one. The best is to be outside if nothing risks to fall on you. If there are really too many buildings packed together, then it depends (force of earthquake, etc…) but personally I would always feel safer outside.

      Concerning the Tsunami: if a strong earthquake happens (in the sea), you should have a few minutes (it depends how far is the earthquake from the coast) to take your car and go up a hill (pretty easy to reach in Lebanon). If you don’t have time, and that there is a high building that didn’t suffer from the earthquake, then the best is to run to elevated floors.

      But in Lebanon, I have the feeling that we should fear a strong earthquake more than a Tsunami (there are no large planes close to the sea, there always is a protective hill somewhere close). Whereas most buildings are not built to resist to a strong earthquake.

      Anyways, let’s pray for nothing of all that happening 🙂

  2. marcel
    July 30, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    why no one talks about todays earthquake i feel in lebanon

  1. November 19, 2014 at 9:06 pm

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