An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the ground caused by the shifting of rocks deep underneath the earth’s surface. Earthquakes can cause fires, tsunamis, landslides or avalanches. 

Here are some words to know about earthquakes:

  • Earthquake: a sudden, quick shaking of the earth, caused by rocks moving under the ground
  • Aftershock: a smaller earthquake that follows the main earthquake
  • Fault:  a crack in rocks below the earth’s surface
  • Epicenter: the center of the earthquake
  • Seismic Waves: damaging vibrations that travel outward from the earthquake center
  • Magnitude: the strength of the earthquake, measured on a scale
If there's an earthquake, remember to drop, cover, and hold on!

Before an Earthquake

  • Practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” with your family. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. Crawl only as far as needed to reach cover from falling materials. Hold on to any sturdy furniture until the shaking stops. 
  • Secure heavy furniture and hanging items to the walls.
  • Create a family emergency communication plan. 
  • Build an emergency kit.

During an Earthquake

If you are indoors:

  • Drop, Cover, and Hold On! Take cover under a desk, table, bed or doorframe. Stay clear of windows.
  • Stay put until the shaking stops. Do NOT run outside.
  • If in bed, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out, or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on. Do not use the elevators.

If you are outdoors:

  • Stay outside.
  • Find an open area clear of buildings and power lines.

If you are in car:

  • Stay inside with your seatbelt on until the shaking stops.
  • If a power line falls on your car, do not get out. Call 911 and wait in your car.

After an earthquake

  • Expect aftershocks.
  • Do not enter damaged buildings.
  • Open doors and cabinets carefully, objects may have moved and fallen.
Activity Sheets.


There are activity sheets about earthquakes in the Williamson Kids Coloring and Activity book!