Rules of individual and group behaviour in case of earthquakes

  1. Stay calm, do not panic, calm down the people around you, protect children, old people and women! Do not let surrounding noises scare you!
  2. Avoid leaving the room or the building, as the initial seismic phase has a small duration and thus you might get blocked, during actually the strong phase of the seismic movement, down the stairway, in the hallways, on the landing, in a crowd of people, in panic, thus leading to unwanted serious accidents.


    Stairways are building elements very sensitive to differentiated movements of the floors and, even if they resisted, people’s going up and down the stair under the effect of the seismic oscillation is extremely dangerous. Even if leaving an apartment located on lower floors or on the ground floor is theoretically possible and feasible in a short while, especially for young people, there are many other risks outside: blind walls and chimneys, bulwarks, ornaments, windows, etc.

  3. Stay in your room or dwelling, away from the windows that can break and cause you injuries; shelter under a beam or a solid doorframe, or under a desk or table resistant enough to protect you from falling debris, from superposed items of furniture, lamps, ornamental plaster, etc. If you have no such possibilities, protect yourself by lying on the floor next to a solid wall on your knees and elbows, face down, covering the back of your head and of your neck with your palms, while your forearms will protect the lateral parts of your head. This recommendation supposes prior knowledge of the resistance elements of the building, by consulting a certified specialist.
  4. If possible, switch off all possible fire sources as soon as possible; if something caught fire, act as soon as the strong shockwave is ended.
  5. Do not run by the door, do not jump by the window, do not run down the doorway, do not use the elevator, avoid rushing groups of people; if possible, open the house door outwards, in order to prevent its getting stuck and to facilitate evacuation once the seismic movement is over.
  6. Do not run in the street.
  7. If you are outside a building, go as far as possible from it; beware the plasters, bricks, bulwarks, cornices, windows, ornaments, as these can usually fall in the streets. Search calmly, without rushing, for an open and safe place.
  8. Give first aid to the wounded.
  9. In case you are surprised by falling debris, try to protect your head and the members and to ensure your survival. Later on, you will search to alarm neighbours and intervention teams about your presence by different methods.
    Recommended behaviour after an earthquake:
  10. Do not leave immediately the space / the room / the apartment / the building you were in when the earthquake occurred. Give first aid to those who are affected. Calm down the people who panicked or are frightened, especially young children.
  11. Help the wounded or the people stuck under light furniture pieces or debris. Do not move the seriously wounded – unless they are in imminent danger of being injured by other causes – until qualified medical staff come.
  12. Make sure the children, the sick and the old people are safe, ensuring clothes and shoes in accordance to the weather, with a view to a possible evacuation from the house or the building for a given period of time, ranging from hours to days.
  13. Do not use the phone, unless you want to call the ambulance, the firemen or the official body charged with post-disaster interventions in justified cases, so as not to block phone lines.
  14. If a fire started, try to put it out by your own forces.
  15. Verify preliminarily the condition of electrical, gas, water, pipe installations; verify visually the condition of the building inside. In case damages are noticed, turn off the local or general supply and notify the intervention unit. Do not use open fire.
  16. Leave the building calmly, without carrying useless things; check out first the doorway and the way out, so as not to expose yourself to dangers.
  17. Prevent injuries by falling debris by using a hard hat or, in default of it, a chair/a stool or any protecting object, such as a bag, a backpack, thick books, etc.
  18. If on your way out you come across stuck doors, try without panic to unblock them. If you do not succeed, and it is a glazed door, calmly break the glass using a chair, a vase, etc., and carefully clean the frame and the area of shards. If you find out that there are people blocked in the elevator, calm them down first of all and then ask for the help of authorised teams.
  19. Avoid seriously damaged buildings, except for cases of help or rescue – in which case you have to take security measures, without taking useless risks. Avoid being mistaken for wrongdoers who sometimes enter such buildings; do not crowd the affected areas unnecessarily.
  20. Help the intervention teams for aid or rescue.
  21. Only listen to national radio-television channels, and to the recommendations made by the empowered bodies.
  22. Be psychically and physically prepared for the possibility of shockwaves after the first seismic movement, without panicking. Do not trust rumours that can frequently appear immediately after earthquakes, even if they are circulated by specialists.
  23. When evacuating buildings, give priority to the wounded, children, old people and women; listen strictly to the rescue teams.
  24. The experience of the previous earthquakes proved that it is useful to have the necessary knowledge for survival until rescue teams come in cases of extreme situations when, for instance, somebody is caught under debris, items of furniture, or in a room, an elevator, etc. that is blocked because of stuck doors or for other causes.
  25. First of all, stay calm, calm down the shocked persons, do not feed panic reactions; give first aid to the wounded, and in case you or somebody in the group has the possibility to move, draw up a rescue plan. Clearing up the entries can only be done if this does not worsen the situation – for instance, by moving the debris or furniture pieces.

A classic communication possibility with the people outside is to hit with a hard object, at regular intervals, in the pipes or in the walls of the room; if you established verbal contact, provide the information you are required and ask for the necessary help. The county/local Inspectorate for Emergency Situations will send specialised staff and listening devices to identify the stuck people and the places.

Do not worry about the time running until the rescue teams come, as in such situations, even if time seems to last forever, the human body mobilises unexpected resources in order to go over a critical period. This is how we can explain extreme intervals of resistance after earthquakes, such as the 1977 one in Romania or similar ones worldwide, intervals that lasted for hundreds of hours, under tough conditions, in cases of apparently fragile persons.
The present document was drawn up by the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations of the County of Iasi and communicated to the students of “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iasi, by means of the Student Services Office.