Campus response

SPU’s response to an earthquake will depend on the severity of the earthquake. If there are injuries, SPU can provide first aid and facilitate other medical care as needed.

If the earthquake is significant, SPU will generally evacuate campus buildings. Depending on the severity of the earthquake, SPU may prohibit reentry into a building until its structural integrity has been evaluated. After an extreme earthquake, additional measures may be necessary, such as coordinating with governmental and non-governmental disaster relief agencies.

How to prepare for an earthquake

  • Know the evacuation routes and assembly areas for the campus buildings you live, work, or study in (see “Evacuation and Assembly” for more information).
  • Be aware of your surroundings and think about where you could seek shelter from falling objects.
  • Secure overhead items in your work area to avoid injury during an earthquake.
  • Develop a personal emergency preparedness kit.

What to do as an earthquake occurs

  • Remain calm.
  • If indoors, take cover under a freestanding desk or table and hold on.
  • Stay away from windows, tall objects, and overhead lights.
  • If no cover is available, duck and hold near an interior wall.
  • Shield your head, neck, and face from falling debris.
  • If outdoors, move away (at least 30 feet if possible) from buildings, utility wires, trees, and all overhead obstructions.

What to do after an earthquake

  • Call OSS at 206-281-2911 about any injuries, significant property damage, fire, gas leak, or anything that poses a threat or otherwise requires attention.
  • Evacuate a building if it is damaged, if there are gas leaks or fires, or if directed to do so by SPU officials. Move a safe distance away to an evacuation assembly area.
  • If in a laboratory, and if it is safe to do so, turn off all gas burners before evacuating.
  • Use extreme caution in rescue attempts if others are trapped. If possible, wait for trained personnel to guide rescue efforts.
  • Report any missing people to a Building Emergency Coordinator.

What NOT to do

  • Do not rush outside. Many earthquake injuries occur due to falling debris just outside doorways.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Do not call 911 or OSS simply to report the earthquake.
  • Do not use matches, lighters, or other open flames.
  • Do not turn on lights or electrical equipment.
  • Do not move seriously injured individuals unless necessary.

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