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.
After an earthquake has occurred, you may experience aftershocks. These can happen minutes, days, weeks, or even months later, so staying alert is crucial. Practice the DROP, COVER and HOLD ON sequence every time you feel an earthquake.
Additionally, while rare, there is a possibility that the first earthquake event may be a "foreshock" to a more significant earthquake. It's important to take all earthquakes seriously and be prepared for any possible outcome. Aftershocks can occur minutes to hours after the initial earthquake and may last for weeks, months or even years after the main event.
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.
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.
Once the earthquake risk has passed and the All Clear has been issued, remain cautious and follow the safety advice in the alert. If you are near a large body of water such as the beach do not return to the water until you have received official advice that it is safe to do so. Do not re-enter damaged buildings!
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.