Earthquake emergency response
How to stay safe during and after an earthquake
The University encourages staff and students to actively look up, down and around for any signs of damage inside and outside buildings following an earthquake and any aftershocks – look for cracking and movement in walls and ceilings and check for any items, utilities or structures that may have moved, been damaged or become loose.
- If on campus, please use the Snap Send Solve app or submit a Campus Management ServiceNow request to report damage that needs to be assessed.
- If there is an urgent need for an emergency service response due to a threat to life, dial Triple Zero (000) immediately.
- If emergency services are contacted, please remember to advise Security of the incident as soon as possible. Contact numbers for all campuses are available on the Emergency page.
Staff and students are encouraged to download Vic Emergency app to receive alerts and advice related to all manner of emergencies and incidents, including earthquakes, and to set up a customised ‘Watch Zone’ for their home and work location. This information is also available on the Vic Emergency website.
Actions and resources
If you are indoors during an earthquake
Ensure you do the following if you are indoors during an earthquake:
- Drop, Cover and Hold On
- DROP to the ground;
- take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and
- HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
- Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
- Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
- Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
- DO NOT use the elevators.
- Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
- Drop, Cover and Hold On
If you are outdoors during an earthquake
Ensure you do the following if you are outdoors during an earthquake:
- Stay there.
- Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
- Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls.
If you are trapped under debris during or after an earthquake
Ensure you do the following, if you are trapped under debris during or after an earthquake:
- Do not light a match.
- Do not move around 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.
After an earthquake
General steps recommended to take after an earthquake:
- It is not uncommon for aftershocks to occur. Know what to do if you are impacted by an aftershock – Drop, Cover and Hold On.
- Stay safe by avoiding damaged buildings, fallen and damaged trees and powerlines, blocked or damaged roads and other hazards.
- When cleaning, protect your health and safety. Wear strong boots, gloves and protective clothing and wash your hands and clothes regularly.
- Electricity, gas and water supplies may be disrupted. If your property has been damaged, have all utilities checked and tested by a licenced technician before you use them.
- More information on earthquakes, including locations and magnitude, is available at Geoscience Australia
In the event of a life-threatening emergency, call Triple Zero (000) to request police, fire or ambulance attendance.
Security can be contacted at each campus on:
- Parkville: (03) 834 46666 or 1800 246 066 (free call)
- Burnley: (03) 834 46666
- Creswick: (03) 5321 4333 / After hours: 0425 700 042
- Dookie: (03) 5833 9200
- Southbank: (03) 9035 9311 / After hours: (03) 834 46666
- : (03) 9731 2000
For information regarding how to stay safe during and after an earthquake please review the advice provided by the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES).
If you require any further assistance or advice, please email Health and Safety Assist or call +61 3 834 40888 and follow the prompts to Health & Safety Services.