How to prepare in case of an earthquake?

Melbourne 2:12 am Sunday 22 October '23. Woke up, turned to my side and was nearly asleep again when my bed started rolling for some seconds. Knew it was an earthquake, lately we’ve had a few small tremors. This one was magnitude 5 in the Victoria’s Otway region.
Fearing that further tremors would follow, I got up and started getting my clothes and handbag together and got a bottle of water. No further tremors, got back into bed and the curtain rod in my room fell down, must’ve been moved by the shaking.
Before falling asleep again I started thinking that I should be better prepared just in case: should I pack an emergency bag and what should be in it? I’m in an upstairs flat, what would be the safest thing to do: get outside while still possible or hide inside? :thinking:

Once was in a meeting on a 3rd (top) level in a Japanese factory. I believe the earthquake was 6.2. We ‘westerners’ were in a cold sweat when everything started shaking; our hosts realised we were worried and calmly advised ‘We are having an earthquake now’. Nobody panicked nor were an emergency protocols put into action.

From the Victoria SES


Response suggestion:
Found the same as @PhilT readily. Hopefully similar can be found as readily for all the other states and territories.

How likely:

The Newcastle 1989 Quake stands out for us. One of our family whose home was in Newcastle was visiting us at the time in QLD. She said it was one reason why she did not like to be away from her home. Just in case something happened to it. We obviously thought otherwise. It suffered damage and required repairs.


Whether to get outside or stay inside is a decision you make only after making a risk assessment…preferably long before any earthquakes hit. Check the route you would take to get outside and plan a secondary route. Plan how you’d make your exit in poor visibility…(eg at night with the power out). Look at possible hazards along the route if there was an earthquake. Once you get outside are there hazards that might be present during and after an earthquake? Can you quickly get clear of the building and reach a location where there are no other buildings close by?

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Thanks @Kiwigeo

I’m on the 1st floor of a block of flats, under my flat there’s the car parks. The security doors downstairs could become jammed or blocked by debris, the only other way out would then be my small balcony, maybe I should think of getting a strong rope to lower myself down as it’s a bit high to jump. Unless it becomes unstable, then I’d be trapped inside.

A tall tree and a power pole are on the nature strip, only meters from one of my windows. The block of flats on either side are not really so distant as to give a very safe space, it is a fairly typical sort of set up for apartments in the beachside suburb of Skilda. It’s also quite near to the foreshore in case a tsunami would be caused by a big tremor.

The other night as I was going around getting dressed and gathering the contents of my handbag and some water I thought that it would be a good idea to have a bag already packed for such an emergency, and what would be best to pack.

Sounds like a plan-B. Depending on one’s level of fitness, grip, strength and rope (type and size) this could be challenging. There are systems with a harness and self lowering mechanism available from all good safety specialists for those more challenged, and capable of much higher than a single story if that is one’s need. Which ever method one chooses to exit over the balcony it will need a secure anchor point. There’s a standard for everything. I’ve seen much less expensive kits on line EBay and and Amazon.

How long might the quake (initial shock wave) last?
Newcastle 1989 - 6 seconds.
Christchurch 2011 - 10 seconds.

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Provisional What to pack list:
Having the torch function on my iPhone has made me push candles and torches to the back of the cupboard. Now I think I should have a torch light ready. Also, I found it useful to turn my radio on and hear exactly what was happening and where, so the list should include a small transistor radio. And a portable power bank for my iPhone. And spare batteries for all those devices?

And look for a safe means of getting down from my balcony in case it’s the only exit.