Earthquakes can strike suddenly and without warning. Find out what to expect during an earthquake and the actions you can take to stay safe.

What to expect

In Australia, earthquakes with magnitudes of less than 3.5 rarely cause damage. However, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.0 or more can cause structural damage, leading to injury or death.

During an earthquake, furniture and other unsecured objects may fall or be overturned. There may also be damage to buildings, roads and other infrastructure. In severe cases, buildings may collapse or shift from their foundations.

Prepare for aftershocks
If an earthquake strikes and you are indoors
If an earthquake strikes and you are outdoors
If an earthquake strikes and you are in a coastal area

If you have recently experienced an earthquake, you can report your earthquake experience to Geoscience Australia using the Felt Report. Earthquake effects may vary significantly over small distances due to changes in ground conditions, your building type, and what you were doing at the time. By reporting your individual experience, you are helping to inform emergency services about the earthquake impacts in your area.

If you must evacuate to a safer place

When an earthquake strikes you are safest staying inside until the shaking stops. Once the shaking has stopped check the building you are in for damage.

If the building you are in is damaged and threatening your safety, you should leave for a safer place. Only leave after the shaking has stopped, but be aware that aftershocks may occur.

Staying safe while relocating

In life threatening situations

Even if you have planned well, life-threatening situations can still happen. Your shelter could be damaged, or someone could become ill or injured.

For life-threatening emergencies, call 000.

Emergency responders will try to come to your aid. However, there may be delays due to the dangerous conditions.

If your property is damaged and unsafe, call the State Emergency Service on 132 500 for assistance.

Wait for the All Clear

How to stay informed

It’s essential that you know how to access different information sources to stay up to date during an earthquake.

Radio is a reliable source of information during telecommunications outages, so ensure you have a battery-operated AM/FM radio and fresh batteries in your emergency kit.

More Information

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Find out what to expect after an earthquake.

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Earthquake overview

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Prepare for an earthquake

You should have an emergency kit and an action plan.

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