An earthquake is a shaking of the earth’s crust, striking without warning and varying greatly in severity. Earthquakes can be caused by underground volcanic forces, breaking of rock under the earth’s surface, and sudden movement along an existing fault line.

Warning signs that may indicate an earthquake is imminent can include:

  • Erratic animal behaviours such as scared or confused pets or birdcalls not usually heard during the night
  • Sudden water level changes in wells or artesian bores


Earthquake preparation

Follow the steps in our 'Preparing for emergencies' article to make sure you are always prepared for an emergency situation. 


What to do in an earthquake

If you are inside during an earthquake

  • Keep clear of windows, chimneys and overhead fittings
  • Shelter under and hold onto a strong door frame, table or bench
  • In high rise buildings, keep clear of windows and outer walls and shelter under a desk near a pillar or internal wall
  • Do not use elevators
  • In crowded buildings, do not rush for doors but move clear of overhead fittings and shelves

If you are outside during an earthquake

  • Keep clear of buildings, overhead structures, bridges, powerlines and trees
  • If you are on a city street, shelter from falling debris under strong archways or building doorways
  • Do not go under awnings as they may collapse

If you are in a vehicle during an earthquake

  • Stop in an open area until the shaking stops
  • Beware of downed powerlines and road damage, including overpasses and bridges
  • Listen to your car radio for warnings before moving


Where to check for alerts during a disaster

During a disaster we will provide information on our specifically designed website: