During the last post, I wrote what you should do if you’re caught inside during an earthquake. This post I want to discuss what you can do if you’re outside when and earthquake happens.
One of the universal things that I have read to do when you’re already outside during an earthquake is to move to a clear area as long as you can safely do so. Avoid buildings, power lines, trees and other hazards. Treat every fallen power line as though it was live and could electrocute you!
If you are near tall buildings: Remember windows, facades and other architectural details are often the first things to fall when the shaking starts. So get to a clear area or a safe building as soon as possible.
If you are driving: When you are safely able, pull over to the side of the road. Avoid overpasses and bridges, stop and set the parking brake. You want to avoid tall trees, power lines, signs and anything else that may fall on top of your car. Stay inside your vehicle until the shaking stops. If a power line falls on your car, do NOT get out until a trained person removes the power line from your vehicle!
If you are in a stadium: Stay in your seat. Protect your head and neck with your arms from falling debris. Don’t try to leave your seat until the shaking stops. Then exit slowly avoiding hazards. Make sure that you avoid anything that may fall in an aftershock. There may be a frenzied rush to leave the stadium as well. That is one reason to stay in your seat, you are less likely to be trampled in a stampede.
If you are below a dam: Dams can fail during an earthquake. Catastrophic failure is unlikely, but if you are downstream from a dam you should know the flood-zone information and prepare an evacuation plan. If possible try to get to higher ground. Another key element is that many of the dams in the Western US are Hydro-electric dams, so watch for power lines!