The page content begins here

What to do?

Earthquakes cannot be predicted. However, their potential effects and damage can be minimised by taking some simple measures at home and when on holiday.

New, redeveloped, and converted buildings

what to do: before: buildings 1
  • Earthquake-resistant building design (following SIA building code 260 ff.) offers the best protection against the consequences of an earthquake. The primary goal of this type of design is to prevent the collapse of a building and thereby avoid fatalities and injuries.
  • Consider taking out earthquake insurance to reduce your personal (financial) risk.

Sources of danger inside buildings

what to do: before: inside 1
  • Make sure that objects that could fall down or topple over due to the shaking, and thereby cause injuries, are secured. This includes, for example, ceiling linings, shelves and their contents, televisions and stereos, and light fittings.

Be prepared (for earthquakes and other emergencies)

what to do: before: prepared 1
  • Think about what to do during an earthquake.
  • Put together a first aid box.
  • Keep a supply of emergency provisions (see flyer „provisions“ from the Federal Office for National Economic Supply FONES).
  • Copy important documents such as your passport or driving license and have them within reach in case of an incident.
New image with text
  • Have a torch, battery-powered radio, and cash (ATMs may no longer function) within reach in case of power cuts.
  • Know where the main valves and switches for gas, water, and electricity are and how to turn them off.

Inside a building

  • Take cover (e.g. under a sturdy table).
  • Beware of falling objects (e.g. shelves, heavy furniture, televisions and stereos, light fittings) and keep away from windows and glass walls, which may shatter.
  • Only leave the building when the surrounding area is safe (when there are no more falling objects such as roof tiles, etc.).




what to do: during: outside 1
  • Stay outside, do not seek shelter in a building.
New image with text
  • Keep away from buildings, bridges, electricity pylons, large trees, and other things that could collapse or fall.
New image with text
  • Keep away from the shores of bodies of water.

In a vehicle

what to do: during: vehicle 1
  • Stop the vehicle and do not leave it during the quake.
  • Do not stop on bridges, in underpasses, or tunnels.
  • Keep away from buildings at the side of the road (danger of collapse).

Inside the damage zone

what to do: after: inside damage zone 1
  • Expect aftershocks.
  • Help others without putting yourself in danger.



what to do: after: inside damage zone 2
  • Check building for damage. Leave the building in the case of severe damage.
    The building may be at risk of collapsing and will not withstand further quakes.
  • Exercise caution when leaving the building.
    Pieces of masonry, roof beams, tiles, and the like may still fall off.
  • Check the building and surrounding area for potential fires.
    When possible, extinguish small fires and / or alert the fire service.
New image with text
  • Check water and gas pipes and electrical wiring for damage.
    Turn off supply if damage is suspected.
what to do: after: inside damage zone 3
  • Seek information from television, radio, or the internet.
  • Follow the instructions of emergency service personnel.
what to do: after: outside damage zone 1
  • Only use telephone in an emergency.
    Phone lines should be kept free for genuine emergencies.
  • No individual travel by car.
    Roads should be kept free for emergency services.
  • Power cuts are likely.

Set off on a journey of discovery with the busy picture. Click on the black circles for helpful recommendations on how you should behave during an earthquake, and to find out how the Seismological Service responds in an emergency situation.