Relief & Recovery

Recovering from an Earthquake

General information to help you recover from an earthquake

Immediately after a severe earthquake:

  • Check for injuries to your family and your surrounding neighbours. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in danger of further injury.
  • Be prepared for additional aftershocks. Although most of these are smaller than the main shock, some may be strong enough to cause additional damage.
  • Check for fires or fire hazards.
  • Check your home and property for damage. If indoors, if any part of the structure appears to be unsafe, evacuate the building until a more detailed inspection can be made.
  • Keep clear of damaged buildings, power lines and trees.
  • Be aware of road hazards such as debris, damaged roads or bridges.
  • Do not drive through affected areas unless it is necessary.


If your property has been damaged

  • The structural integrity of your home may be affected – this needs to be declared safe by a qualified building surveyor.
  • If you have a chimney, check its entire length for cracks and damage, particularly in the attic and at the roof line. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire or collapse in aftershocks. The initial check should be made from a distance. Approach chimneys with caution.
  • Inspect for leaking gas lines by smell only; do not use candles, matches, or other open flames. If you smell gas, open all windows and doors so gas can escape. Shut off the main valve at your gas meter, leave the house immediately, and notify authorities of the leak. Do not re-enter the house until repairs have been made and the dwelling has been declared safe.
  • If water pipes are broken, shut off the main valve which brings water into the house.
  • Check to see that sewage lines are intact before permitting continued flushing of toilets.
  • Damaged electricity supplies – these hazards need to be declared safe by a qualified electrician or plumber.
  • There may be asbestos debris in your home. Where there is extensive demolition, repair and renovation work involving asbestos-containing material, licensed asbestos contractors should be employed to undertake the work.
  • Wild animals, including rodents, snakes or spiders, may be trapped in and around your home.
  • Pets and other animals may have died and need to be removed. For advice on safe disposal of animals, speak to your local council or veterinarian.


Power outages

When power outages occur, people often turn to alternative sources of fuel or electricity. Here's how to stay safe.  Find out what to do during a power outage in the guide to power outages.


Your family & friends

The Australian Red Cross activates the Register, Find, Reunite service to reunite family, friends and loved ones after a major emergency.

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