Preparing and Planning for an Earthquake: Safety Tips

by | Feb 9, 2020

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Last updated on November 19th, 2023

After my recent trip to Puerto Rico, I realized how unprepared I was for an earthquake or tsunami. To help us all travel safely and well, we’ve compiled some safety tips from Discover Puerto Rico and our community to consider when you travel to earthquake and tsunami-prone areas.

Our planet experiences over 20,000 earthquakes every year. Do not throw caution to the wind when traveling in most of the world’s earthquake regions, possibly even your own backyard.

  1. If you are INDOORS — STAY THERE! Get under a desk or table and hang on to it (Drop, Cover, and Hold on!) or move into a hallway or against an inside wall. STAY CLEAR of windows, fireplaces, and heavy furniture or appliances. GET OUT of the kitchen, which is a dangerous place (things can fall on you). DON’T run downstairs or rush outside while the building is shaking or while there is danger of falling and hurting yourself or being hit by falling glass or debris.
  2. If you are OUTSIDE — get into the OPEN, away from buildings, power lines, chimneys, and anything else that might fall on you.
  3. If you are DRIVING — stop, but carefully. Move your car as far out of traffic as possible. DO NOT stop on or under a bridge or overpass or under trees, light posts, power lines, or signs. STAY INSIDE your car until the shaking stops. When you RESUME driving, watch for breaks in the pavement, fallen rocks, and bumps in the road at bridge approaches.
  4. If you are in a MOUNTAINOUS AREA — watch out for falling rock, landslides, trees, and other debris that could be loosened by quakes.
  5. If you are near the OCEAN — see these safety rules from NOAA’s Tsunami Warning Center.

Do you have more safety tips to share? Send them to [email protected]. Let’s all travel safely and well.


Tips from JourneyWoman Readers

“Check what local apps are available. In Japan you’ll know if an earthquake has happened within the country as everyone’s phones will ping with alerts at the same time!”


“The City of Vancouver has good suggestions on their web page some of which can be used when travelling. When I used to teach emergency preparedness I told people, if nothing else, put a pair of solid soled shoes under your bed. In the day people usually have shoes in but in bed we are barefoot and after a major earthquake there is generally a lot of broken glass, from windows and fallen stuff. The other is to make sure there is not a large framed picture over the head of the bed unless it is solidly bolted to the wall (a large glass frame literally is fatal if crashed in your head while you sleep.”


As the CEO and Editor of JourneyWoman, Carolyn is a passionate advocate for women's travel and living the life of your dreams. She leads JourneyWoman's team of writers and chairs the JourneyWoman Women's Advisory Council and Women's Speaker's Bureau. She has been featured in the New York Times, Toronto Star and Zoomer as a solo travel expert, and speaks at women's travel conferences around the world. In March 2023, she was named one of the most influential women in travel by TravelPulse and was the recipient of a SATW travel writing award in September 2023. She is the chair of the Canadian chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a member Women's Travel Leaders and a Herald for the Transformational Travel Council (TTC). Sometimes she sleeps. A bit.


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