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This Policy is designed to assist Suffolk University in responding to earthquakes and maintaining services when those events occur that may prevent employees or students from entering or leaving the University for an extended period of time.

What to Do During an Earthquake

Stay as safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe. Be prepared for aftershocks.

If Indoors

  • DROP to the floor
  • COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building
  • Do not run outside
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture
  • Wheelchair users: apply the chair’s brake and cover your head with your arms
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may activate
  • DO NOT use the elevators

If Outdoors

  • Stay there
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects

If in a Vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake

If Trapped Under Debris

  • Do not light a match
  • Do not move about or kick up dust
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing

What to do After an Earthquake

  • After the shaking stops, check for injuries and administer first aid if necessary and if qualified. DO NOT move victims unless absolutely necessary
  • Report injuries and damage to the Suffolk University Police Department via 8111 or 617-573-8111. If not possible to call, then notify in person if safe to do so
  • Upon notification by emergency personnel, evacuate the building to your designated assembly area. DO NOT use the elevators. Bring emergency supplies, warm clothing and purses/wallets with you; close all doors behind you
  • Replace telephone handsets that have been shaken off. DO NOT use telephones except to report fires or medical emergencies
  • DO NOT use matches, lighters or other open flames
  • Assist persons with disabilities
  • Notify emergency personnel as soon as possible of the location of anyone unable to evacuate the building
  • DO NOT return to an evacuated building unless directed to do so by emergency personnel
  • DO NOT enter a parking structure until you are told it is safe by emergency personnel
  • Be prepared for AFTERSHOCKS
  • Access for updated information as it becomes available
  • If outdoors, watch for downed power lines and possible falling debris
  • Do not enter damaged buildings. Return only when campus officials deem the building(s) to be safe
  • The Suffolk University Police Department will control access to affected areas, and in conjunction with Risk Management, will make evaluations to determine if further actions are warranted


Reviewed by
Incident Support Team10/7/2015
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