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Posted on: May 1, 2022

Earthquakes and Preparedness

Earthquake Preparedness

Southern Illinois is located in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The Office of Emergency Management wants to remind you of the steps you should take before and during an earthquake to be better prepared.  


  • Develop a family earthquake plan. Prepare yourself and your home by completing the activities on this checklist.
  • Decide how and where your family will reunite if separated.
  • Choose an out-of-area friend or relative who separated family members can call after the quake to report their whereabouts and condition.
  • Know the safe spots in each room: under sturdy tables, desks, or against inside walls.
  • Know the danger spots: windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces and tall, unsecured furniture.
  • Conduct practice drills. Physically place yourself in safe locations.
  • Learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) from your local American Red Cross chapter or other community organization.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
  • Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged. (Safety note: Do not attempt to relight a gas pilot).
  • Secure water heaters and appliances that could move enough to rupture lines.
  • Secure heavy furniture, hanging plants, heavy pictures or mirrors.
  • Keep flammable or hazardous liquids in cabinets or on lower shelves.
  • Maintain emergency food, water and other supplies, including a flashlight, a portable battery-operated radio, extra batteries, medicines, first aid kit and clothing. 

Remember to DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON when you feel the ground shaking. DROP down to the floor, take COVER under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and HOLD ON to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends. 


  • If indoors, stay there and take cover under a table, desk, or other sturdy furniture.
  • Face away from windows and glass doors.
  • A doorway without a door is an acceptable location in which to stand.
  • Lie, kneel or sit near a structurally sound interior wall or corner away from windows, brick fireplaces, glass walls, etc.
  • Protect your head and body from falling or flying objects.
  • Remain where you are until the shaking stops. Think out your plan of action first, then move.
  • Know exit routes if in a commercial building. Take cover and don't move until the shaking stops.
  • If outside, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls, and power lines.
  • Lie down or crouch low to maintain balance.
  • Get to the best available shelter if there is no open area available.
  • If driving, stop safely as soon as possible. Stay inside your vehicle until the shaking stops.
  • Do not stop your vehicle under overpasses or bridges.
  • Stay below window level in your vehicle.
  • Turn off the engine and turn on the radio. Follow emergency instructions.
  • Stay in the vehicle if downed power lines have fallen across it. Do not touch metal. Wait for help. You might be able to back away from lines.
  • If you have to leave your vehicle, move to an open area quickly. 

This information is brought to you by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the City of Carbondale Office of Emergency Management. For more information please contact the City of Carbondale Office of Emergency Management at 618-457-3245.

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