Scientists cannot predict where and when the next earthquake will be. Prepare for an earthquake by having an emergency kit and making a plan now.

When to prepare

The unpredictable nature of earthquakes means you won’t receive a warning until after an earthquake has occurred.

Prepare for an earthquake by making a plan now. Make sure everyone knows what they need to do in an emergency.

Know the earthquake alerts and warnings

What to do:

  • DROP to the ground.
  • COVER your head and neck with your arms and shelter under a sturdy desk or table. If there isn’t safe shelter nearby, crouch alongside a bench or an inside wall.
  • HOLD ON to your shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.
  • If you are inside, stay inside and DROP, COVER and HOLD ON.
  • If you are outside, stay outside and move away from buildings.
  • Be careful of damaged buildings and falling debris.
  • Do not approach fallen powerlines, they are dangerous and should always be treated as live.
  • Do not use lifts.
  • Do not use matches or cigarette lighters in case of gas leaks.
  • Check on your neighbours when it is safe to do so.
  • If you are near the coast, be aware of dangerous tides and tsunamis.

If your home or property has been damaged you should:

  • Put out small fires with a fire extinguisher. Evacuate if a large fire is present, call 000 and alert neighbours.
  • Turn off electricity, gas and water.
  • Protect yourself before you start moving. Wear safe clothing, thick-soled shoes and gloves to protect yourself from injury by broken objects.
  • Use a torch when entering a building – never use matches, cigarette lighters or naked flames in case of gas leaks.
  • Check welfare of pets and animals.
  • Assess your home and property for damage, take photographs as soon as possible and contact your insurance company to organise repairs.
  • Start cleaning up around your home – stack loose material clear of water meters, valves and powerlines.
  • Clean up potentially harmful materials or medicines which may have spilled.
  • Stay informed through official information sources.
  • Take care on the roads and drive with caution.
  • Be careful of damaged buildings and falling debris.
  • Stay away from areas where the ground is broken or trenches. These may be unstable and dangerous.
  • If your home has been damaged you should contact your insurance company to organise permanent repairs.

Prepare your earthquake plan

To ensure you and your family are prepared for an earthquake, it is important to have a plan in place. When an earthquake hits there may not be much time to prepare. You will have a better chance of reducing damage and injury if everyone knows what to do and your property is well maintained.

Your emergency plan
For pets

Prepare an emergency kit

As earthquakes are unpredictable and can happen anytime, your emergency kit must be packed and ready to go. You may be without power, water and other essential services for several days or weeks after an earthquake.

Your emergency kit
Items to add when an alert is issued

Prepare your pets and livestock

When preparing your family and property for natural disasters, you also need to consider your pets and livestock.

Ensure that your pets are properly identified with a name tag or microchip or that you have a recent photo of them with you, and that stock registers for your livestock are current.

Find out more about pet and livestock welfare in an emergency by visiting the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website.

You can also ask your local government if there are pet or livestock welfare arrangements in place during an emergency.

Prepare your pet emergency kit
Manage your livestock
Evacuating without your pets

Prepare your property

As earthquakes are unpredictable, you should prepare your home and property for a potential earthquake.

  • Secure heavy or tall furniture because earthquakes can overturn them, injuring people or blocking emergency exits. These include:
    • Shelves, cabinets and bookcases
    • Refrigerators
    • Storage racks, racking systems in warehouses
    • Gym equipment
  • Store heavy or fragile items on low shelves (under 1.5 meters) as earthquakes may cause them to fall. Items that need attention include:
    • Televisions and monitors
    • Picture frames and glassware
    • Hanging mirrors and plants
  • Pay special attention to rooms where you spend most of your time, such as the kitchen, bedrooms and dining rooms.
  • Pay attention to objects near heaters, as they may fall and start a fire.
  • Keep an in-date fire extinguisher readily accessible in case a fire starts during or after the earthquake.
  • Purchase emergency equipment such as containers to store drinking water and extra fuel supplies.
  • Store all chemicals and poisons securely.

More Information

During an earthquake

Find out what to expect during an earthquake and how to stay safe.

Learn more

Recovering from an earthquake

Find out what to expect after an earthquake.

Learn more

Earthquake overview

When the ground starts to shake, will you and your family know what to do?

Learn more