Earthquakes can occur anywhere in the world. In 2011, a small earthquake even shook New York City. In any earthquake, the potential for injury or damage to facilities is real and could include falling bricks, ceilings, glass, furniture, trees, train derailments and power line damage.

In preparation for an earthquake, you should:

  • Look around the places where you spend time (residence hall, classroom, office) and identify safe places, such as under a sturdy piece of furniture.
  • Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit.
  • Plan how you'll communicate with friends and family members during an emergency. E-mail, text and social media may be best as phone networks may overload.
  • Identify a meeting point in open space at at least two routes to get there.
  • Secure items that could fall and cause injuries (bookshelves, mirrors, light fixtures).
Drop Cover Hold On

If you are indoors when shaking starts:

  • Remember to remain calm.
  • “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.
  • Do not try to run out of a 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 when shaking starts:

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

Once the shaking stops:

  • Expect to feel aftershocks.
  • When the shaking stops, look around. If there is a clear path to safety, leave the building and go to your meeting place in an open space away from damaged areas.
  • When exiting the building, move along walls, including when walking down stairs as these areas are more sturdy. Do not use elevators.
  • In cities, it is safer to remain inside a building after an earthquake unless there is a fire or gas leak.
  • Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
  • Check the people around you for injuries.
  • Check around you for dangerous conditions, such as fires, downed power lines and structure damage.
  • In NYC, call 911 or Public Safety at 212-998-2222 if you identify a dangerous condition.
  • Be prepared to evacuate facilities if directed and report to your designated assembly area.
  • For emergency information at other sites around NYU’s global network, contact the site director.

Additional resources:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) earthquake preparedness: click here

The NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) earthquake preparedness: click here

The American Red Cross earthquake safety: click here

United States Geological Survey resources: click here