Main Content


Una vivienda agrietada y rota debido al daño producido por un terremoto

Sea un ejemplo a seguir e inspire a los demás a tomar medidas. Comprométase a prepararse (en inglés) y coménteselo a los demás.

Comprométase a prepararse (en inglés)

Uno de los fenómenos de la naturaleza más atemorizantes y destructivos son los terremotos intensos y sus consecuencias devastadoras. Los terremotos son un temblor rápido y repentino de la tierra, provocado por el rompimiento y desplazamiento de una roca subterránea a medida que libera energía acumulada durante largo tiempo.

Durante cientos de millones de años, las fuerzas de las placas tectónicas han dado forma a la Tierra, a medida que las grandes placas que forman la superficie terrestre se desplazan lentamente. A veces, estos desplazamientos son graduales. En otras ocasiones, las placas se obstruyen sin poder desplazarse ni liberar la energía acumulada. Cuando la energía acumulada crece lo suficiente, las placas se liberan. Si el terremoto se produce en un área poblada, puede provocar muchas muertes y lesiones, y ocasionar daños materiales considerables.

Si bien a veces se cree que los terremotos son un fenómeno de la costa oeste, en realidad existen 45 estados y territorios a lo largo de los Estados Unidos que presentan un riesgo entre moderado y alto de sufrir terremotos, incluida la falla de Nueva Madrid en el centro de los EE.UU.

El terremoto de la costa este de 2011 fue un ejemplo de que es imposible predecir cuándo o dónde se producirá un terremoto. Por lo tanto, es importante que usted y su familia se preparen con anticipación.

After an Earthquake

If Trapped Under Debris

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

When the Shaking Stops

  • When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move and there is a safe way out through the debris. Then exit the building.
  • Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake. Drop, Cover, and Hold On whenever you feel shaking.
  • Check for injuries and provide assistance if you have training. Assist with rescues if you can do this safely.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake. Never use a lighter or matches near damaged areas.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
  • If you are near the coast, learn the tsunami risk for your area. If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis, when the shaking stops, walk inland or to higher ground immediately. Monitor official reports for more information on the area’s tsunami evacuation plans.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home had been damaged and is no longer safe. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, or relief organizations. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.
  • After it is determined that its’ safe to return, your safety should be your primary priority as you begin clean up and recovery.
  • Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency by visiting:
  • Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
  • Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire.
  • Inspect utilities.
    • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
    • Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
    • Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

FEMA Publications

If you require more information about any of these topics, the following resources may be helpful.

Related Websites

Find additional information on how to plan and prepare for an earthquake and learn about available resources by visiting the following websites:

Listen to Local Officials

Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.