Top 20 Do’s and Don’ts in Your Condo During Earthquakes

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Editor’s Note: This article has been generously contributed by Patricia Evans. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter the prepper writing contest today.


With unpredictable natural disasters, do you wonder if your condo is a safe renting and living environment in the event of an earthquake? Fortunately, according to studies, taller buildings like most condos today are designed to be safer than low-rise structures during calamities and disasters. While this is great news for you, it’s no reason to be complacent. Increase your survival chances with these 20 dos and don’ts for surviving in your condo during earthquakes.

10 Must Dos in Your Condo During Earthquakes:

1. Stay Calm

Although this sounds cliche, staying calm is one of the important things to do during an earthquake. It may sound difficult because earthquakes are indeed scary, but you have to muster the courage to keep calm and focus on the situation. It will help you do the necessary condo safety steps to protect yourself and your family.


2. Go Under a Sturdy Table

Photo courtesy of Unsplash via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Unsplash via Pixabay

Look for a sturdy table and always remember this formula: “Drop, Cover and Hold on.” First, drop down on your arms and knees as this position will enable you to move without falling. Second, seek cover under a sturdy furniture. Lastly, hold on to the furniture to secure yourself from being moved around.

3. Count Aloud to 60

Apart from calming you down, counting aloud to 60 is an important step to help you monitor any immediate aftershocks. It will also allow people nearby to know your presence.

4. Wait it Out

Photo courtesy of steinchen via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of steinchen via Pixabay

It is crucial that you wait for all the shaking to stop until you get out of cover. Aftershocks can occur seconds after the first quake, depending on the magnitude. Small and medium earthquakes can last only for a few seconds, while large earthquakes can continue for several minutes.

5. Go to an Interior Wall

When there’s no immediate cover, seek shelter near an interior wall. It’s one of the best earthquake safety tips for those living in a condo. The reason is that condo nowadays are stronger and better designed. Remember to use your arms to cover your head and neck.

6. Grab the First Aid Kit

Photo courtesy Hans via Pixabay

Photo courtesy Hans via Pixabay

If you or a family member is injured, use the interval between quakes to quickly grab the first-aid kit. But do this only if it’s within your reach. Take action quickly, calmly, and safely. Check also for other injuries and damages that need immediate attention. Again, stay inside your condo during this time until the shaking stops. Never move anyone seriously injured unless there’s immediate danger.

7. Stay Inside

Staying inside your condo will protect your from falling debris and panicking people outside. Your space is one of the safest places during an earthquake. Modern high-rise condos are designed to withstand shocks and seismic motions. Because of their sturdy construction, as compared to very old high-rise buildings, modern high-rise condos are safer. That condos are safe and great living spaces justify the increasing demand for condo rental.


8. Stay Away from Windows

Photo courtesy of Republica via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Republica via Pixabay

Windows are hazards during an earthquake because they are usually the first to break or collapse. Stay away from this danger zone, as well as from facades, hanging objects, and mirrors.

9. Reach for the Flashlight

Photo courtesy of Cezary Borysiuk via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Cezary Borysiuk via Flickr

Flashlights are important during earthquakes because electrical power will likely be disrupted. As a preparatory measure, make sure that flashlights are within reach or strategically placed in your condo. Keep one in the  drawer near your bed or the living room table to make them easily available.

10. Be Alert


Photo courtesy of DariuszSankowski via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of DariuszSankowski via Pixabay

Many things can happen during this uncontrollable situation, but your best compass for an appropriate action is staying alert throughout.  If using your phone is possible, text or call a family or friend that is out of the area. Tell them where you are and then stay off the phone to conserve battery.

10 Must Don’ts in Your Condo During Earthquakes:

1. Don’t Rush to Go Out

Many injuries occur when people rush outside, not only because of the possible chaos but also of falling and flying objects. Don’t rush outside during an earthquake, only do when the shaking has stopped.

2.Don’t Seek Out Power Lines


Photo courtesy of ColiN00B via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of ColiN00B via Pixabay

Power lines are dangerous during earthquakes because of the electrical current. When the power goes out, let it be. Rely instead on battery-operated devices like flashlights or even your smartphone.

3. Don’t Go Under a Doorway

A doorway isn’t a safe place during earthquakes because you can easily get trampled. Doorways also leave you vulnerable because they cannot withstand earthquake tremors as better as a table or a bed.

4. Don’t Get Out of Bed


Photo courtesy of Quin Stevenson via Unsplash


Earthquakes can strike anytime, even while you’re asleep. Your bed can protect you when the shaking starts. Use your pillow to cover your head. Only leave your bed when there is a ceiling fixture that might fall.

5. Don’t Hide in the Kitchen

As much as possible, do not hide in your kitchen for various reasons. First, the kitchen cabinets can open and drop things like plates, knives, and glass. Second, the stove or any electrical appliance can cause fire. Third, larger appliances like the fridge or exhaust can fall on you.

6. Don’t Use Matches, Candles or Any Flame

 Photo courtesy of Gadini via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Gadini via Pixabay

As there might be damaged gas lines, don’t use matches or any flame during and immediately after the earthquake.

7. Don’t Shout for Help

Yelling during earthquakes can only be a good idea if you’re helping someone who’s experiencing anxious paralysis and cannot seek cover. Otherwise, shouting can make you inhale dangerous amounts of dust. A better option if you want to call the attention of a rescuer is to use whistles, if one happens to be on hand.

8. Don’t Go to Your Car

Photo courtesy of kaboompics via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of kaboompics via Pixabay

If the earthquake strikes while you’re inside your condo, never attempt to go to your car to escape or seek shelter. Again, it’s better to protect yourself inside your condo.

9. Don’t Ride the Elevator

Photo courtesy of StockSnap via Pixabay

Photo courtesy of StockSnap via Pixabay

Don’t ever ride the elevator if you have to get out of the building. When the electrical power goes out, you can get trapped inside the elevator. Use the stairs instead.

10. Don’t do the “triangle of life”

The “triangle of life” has attracted attention as a formula to survive during earthquakes. But some reports reveal that it’s not exactly reliable because it hasn’t been tested during actual earthquakes. For now, at least, stick to the must-dos backed by evidence listed here.

Because of building codes, better design, and the lessons of past disasters, modern condos for rent are much safer and better than low-rise structures. It has also become a trend for developers to make condos earthquake-resistant. Make sure to inspect your condo to know its safety features during disasters. Also, while knowing what to do during an earthquake in a condo is important, it’s equally, if not more important, to prepare for earthquakes in any scenario. Prepare your emergency plan, medical kit, and join disaster preparedness workshops so you can better protect yourself and loved ones during earthquakes.

About the author: Patricia Evans is a part time interior designer and a full-time mother. She has worked in Marketing before but she quit her job to pursue her true passion: interior design. When she’s not busy balancing her household and career, she writes about lifestyle, travel, architectural trends, fashion, health, gardening, tea, and cooking.

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  • Linda S.

    I was raised in Southern Calif & we were taught to always have a pair of easy-to-slip-on shoes loosely secured to your bed. That way if you have to move because of falling walls, fire, etc. your feet will be protected.

  • doodsdayto

    instead of grabbing a first aid and grabbing a flashlight (two actions) make a go bag instead with all the stuff like your FAK, some food and water, whistle, some cordage, a gas or dust mask, even a bump cap and some even a USB disk containing copies of their family docs and a container of spare unit keys (don’t forget to lock when you leave). Add a good soled footwear (you may be walking in some area with fallen masonry of broken glasses), and make that flashlight a headlight so you can free your hands to hold or assist a love one.

  • The Triangle of Life makes far more sense than getting under a table that could collapse f the roof fell on it. And while it may not be “tested”, the result allegedly came after looking at the results of large earthquakes and the number of people who dies trapped underneath tables and desks.

  • TheDude

    But what if your apartment / condo doesn’t use gas? I have electric for my appliances and heaters. Can I use candles?

    • The advice against using candles or open flame assumes a gas leak which is highly likely after an earthquake in some locations. That being said, if there was a gas leak, you would almost guarantee that fire would have broken out already in some location.

      As with all things in life, use your best judgement. If you see other flames or sources of ignition then you should be fine. Ideally you would have other sources of illumination such as headlamps that would allow you to operate hands-free and not catch anything on fire. Buy the right batteries and a simple solar charger and the will last far longer than candles anyway.