Earthquakes – most important tips

Posted by: Judit



Earthquakes occur mostly without prior notice. The Swiss Seismological Service (SED) registers an average of two earthquakes a day in Switzerland and neighbouring countries, making a total of between 500 and 800 quakes a year.The tips of the Swiss Seismological Service provide you with helpful hints on how to behave in case of an earthquake.

Be prepared!

  • If you look for a new rented flat or want to buy a house, you should also consider to check if the house is safe in case of earthquakes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Keep a supply of emergency supply and put together a first aid box. Copy important documents such as your passport or driver’s license and have them within reach in case of an incident. Have a torch, battery-powered radio, and cash (ATMs may no longer function) within reach in case of power cuts.
  • Consider taking out earthquake insurance to reduce your personal (financial) risk.

During earthquake

Inside a building

  • Take cover (e.g. under a sturdy table or doorsticks).
  • 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.).
  • The use of stairs and elevators can be dangerous in an earthquake.


  • Stay outside, do not seek shelter in a building.
  • Keep away from buildings, bridges, electricity pylons, large trees, and other things that could collapse or fall.
  • Keep away from the shores of bodies of water.

In a vehicle

  • 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).

After a strong earthquake

Call the emergency in case of injury.

Provide First Aid for injured persons.



Sources: Swiss Seismological Service

Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=’‘>blueringmedia / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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