While earthquakes are typically not associated with the Midwest, Indiana does have a history of major quakes in both modern and prehistoric eras. Learn about the history of Indiana earthquakes from the IU Indiana Geologic Survey.

During a major earthquake, you may experience a shaking that starts out to be gentle and within a second or two grows violent and knocks you off your feet. You may be jarred first by a violent jolt—as though your building was hit by a truck. A second or two later you'll feel the shaking and, as in the first example, you will find it very difficult (if not impossible) to move from one room to another.

During the Earthquake

If you are indoors

  • Drop to the floor under a sturdy desk or table, Cover your head and face with your arms, and Hold on.
  • If suitable furniture is not nearby, sit on the floor against an interior wall and cover your head and face with your arms.
  • Stay clear of windows, bookcases, shelves, mirrors and fireplaces.
  • Do not use elevators!
  • If possible, extinguish any open flames or sources of ignition immediately.

If you are outside

  • Get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines.
  • If driving, pull over to the side of the road, stop, and stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.
  • Avoid overpasses, bridges, and power lines.
  • If the earthquake has been severe, do not attempt to cross damaged bridges, overpasses or damaged sections of road.

After the Earthquake

  1. Check for injuries, starting with yourself. Do not move seriously injured individuals unless they are in immediate danger. Help people who are trapped by furniture or other items that do not require heavy tools to move. Rescue and emergency medical crews may not be readily available.
  2. Keep phone lines open. Do not use the telephone except for genuine emergency calls, such as a serious injury, fire or gas leak.
  3. If you suspect or know that someone is trapped in the building, notify the IU Police Department on your campus by calling 911 or, if the phone lines are out, have one person travel to the IUPD station. Have someone post a message at the front of the building noting the time, date, number of victims and their last known location in the building.

  4. Check for gas and water leaks, broken electrical wiring, and broken sewage lines in your area. Check building for cracks and damage. If there is gas leaking, extinguish all sources of ignition and do not turn on or off any electrical switches in the area. Call your campus Facilities department for assistance immediately. If there is damage, report it to your campus' Facilities Department and the IU Police Department on your campus. Attempt to block off damaged areas to keep people away from the hazard until additional help can arrive.
  5. Do not touch downed power lines or damaged building equipment.
  6. Check for hazardous materials spills and releases. If any are discovered, follow the procedures in this guide.
  7. If the building is damaged, evacuate and attempt to secure the building against entry. Notify Police by calling 911, and the Campus Facilities Services or Physical Plant Offices for your campus to notify them of the damage and evacuation. Do not reenter damaged buildings.
  8. If you have to evacuate, post a message in clear view stating where you can be found. List reunion points so that others looking for you later can find you. If you have a university pager, radio or cellular phone, take them with you along with batteries and chargers if available. This may be your only method of communication for several hours.
  9. Turn on a battery powered radio for damage reports and information. Check your local campus radio station for campus information.
  10. Do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency. Keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.
  11. Be prepared for aftershocks. Aftershocks are usually smaller than the main quake but may be large enough to do additional damage to structures weakened during the main shock.

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