How To: The End of the World Survival Guide: Staying Alive During a Massive Worldwide Earthquake

The End of the World Survival Guide: Staying Alive During a Massive Worldwide Earthquake

Will the predicted apocalyptic date—December 21st, 2012—really be the end of the world? In this ongoing five-part series, we examine what would happen if zombies, nuclear weapons, cyber wars, earthquakes, or aliens actually destroyed our planet—and how you might survive.

End of the World Scenario #4: Massive Earthquakes

Earthquakes can strike at any moment. As of today, we can't predict when a quake will strike. The only thing we can do is show which areas of the world are prone to unleashing earthquakes. The picture below shows 203,186 earthquakes (of magnitude 4.0 or larger) since 1898, with a glowing green hue painting a picture that becomes brighter with increasing magnitude.

The fact that we can't predict earthquakes makes them deadlier, leaving us with no forewarning to prepare. An earthquake could strike right now as you read this.

Another scary aspect about this is that the Bible is littered with earthquake mentions in the end of days. This website has 200 bible verses specifically dedicated to earthquakes. Here's just a few of them:

  • Luke 21:11 - There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
  • Matthew 24:7 - For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
  • Revelation 11:13 - And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
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The scariest part is that DECEMBER 21ST, aka THE END OF DAYS, is just a couple of weeks away! These earthquakes will strike worldwide and lead to devastating fires, massive tsunamis, and the eruption of great volcanoes that will swallow up entire cities and destroy mankind once and for all. Hello... hasn't anybody seen 2012?!?

But, just in case it's not that crazy and we have a chance of survival, here's how you can prepare.


The most important thing, as is with any type of disaster, is the planning. Here are a few tips that will come in handy when the big one strikes:

  • Always have an abundance of water. Try and fill other containers around your house with fresh water. You can never have enough water.
  • Prepare a couple weeks worth of canned meals. Include a non-electrical can opener, matches and a portable stove (butane or charcoal).
  • Electricity, gas, and telephones may very likely not be working after an earthquake. The police and fire departments are likely to be tied up. Prepare yourself for three days to a week without these necessities.
  • If the water does stop working, have some buckets and bottles of bleach ready for a makeshift bathroom.
  • Discuss earthquake insurance with your agent. It may be worthwhile if you're in a prime quake location and don't want to lose it all. Just better hope your insurance company doesn't go up in flames.
  • Make sure you know where the gas and water mains and electrical boxes are in your home. You may need to turn these off during the quake.
  • Identify your work and home safe zones. This can be anywhere where you might possible be during the quake.
  • Keep a mobile earthquake kit in your car just in case. Will help in many other instances than just one.

Now that you've planned out some of the more important things, you'll need a bit of tools to set the ball rolling.


  • First aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Flashlights.
  • Portable radio.
  • Extra batteries.
  • Blankets and warm clothes.
  • Strong shoes and boots.
  • Money (ATM's and banks may stop working).
  • Medication.
  • Adjustable pipe wrench to turn off gas or water.
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  • Baby and pet food.
  • Alternate cooking source (barbecue or camp stove).
  • Generator. You can even turn a Prius into one by using a two-foot-long heavy gauge cable, a heavy duty 75 amp plug-style connector, and a circuit box (with mounting box and a 230 volt plug).

This list can also be applied to other disasters, such as floods or wildfires (which can be brought on by major a major earthquake).

Prepping Your Home

As everyone that's been through an earthquake knows, things get shaken around. Not only is this the case with people, but with everything that people own. Televisions, books, vases, paintings and glassware are all subject to the wrath of an earthquake. If you're lucky enough to not have your house knocked down, here are a few tips to keep all your stuff from breaking before it strikes:

  • Secure water heaters, major appliances and tall, heavy furniture to prevent them from toppling over.
  • Fasten all shelves securely to the walls.
  • Install shatter-safe window films to protect yourself from pieces of broken glass.
  • Use brackets to attach wall units, bookcases, and types of tall furniture to the wall.
  • Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves or on the floor. If these fall over they may not only break but also hurt someone badly.
  • Use some non-slip mats to prevent heavy objects from sliding around the house.
  • Place breakable and sharp items (bottles, glass, china, etc.) and flammable products in closed cabinets that won't open during the quake.
  • If you have any deep cracks in the ceiling or foundations, repair them. This could be some structural weakness in your home.
  • Make sure your foundation is strong.
  • Also, secure your chimney.

If you think this may all sound like too much work, watch this video and see just how violent an earthquake can be.

What to Do During the Quake

Thanks to countless elementary and middle school drills, we're very well accustomed as to what to do during a quake. The thing is, this drill is still very much the best way to protect yourself; get under a desk or table and protect ya neck.

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Here are a few other tips to keep yourself protected whenever the earthquake strikes:

  • If you're indoors, stay there. Try and get under and hold tightly onto a desk or table. Try and stay away from exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and other appliances. Also stay away from the kitchen, it is one of the most dangerous places in the house. If you're in an office building, steer clear from windows and don't try and use the elevator.
  • If you're outside, get into the open. Stay away from buildings, power lines and anything else that can fall on you.
  • If you're driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs and power lines.
  • If you're in a mountainous area, beware of the potential for landslides. Likewise, if you're near the ocean, be prepared for tsunamis. Run/drive and get to high ground.
  • If you're in a crowded public place, avoid panicking and do not rush for the exit. Many people will try and do the same and could hurt each other from trampling. Also, doors may swing during an earthquake and could hurt someone rushing for an exit.

Earthquake Is Over. NOW WHAT?

Depending on how large the earthquake is, it can last from a few second to several minutes. Once the earthquake has subsided, you'll want to be prepared for what's next.

  • Tsunamis. Everyone remembers what happened during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. If you're near an ocean beach, run/drive away from the shore and get to higher ground. If you don't have enough time, climb up a building. If your home is large enough, get to the roof. If not, find a building that is tall enough.
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  • Fires. Everyone remembers what happened during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and great fire (no?). If you smell gas, shut off the gas valve. If there's damage to the electrical wiring, shut off the power from the control box. If there's a small fire, turn it off with a fire extinguisher. If the fire is too large, evacuate immediately.
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  • Listen to the radio for important information and instructions. Aftershocks may strike after the original quake, so be weary. They can sometimes cause damage as well.
  • Be careful with any broken glass or other sharp items that may have fallen during the quake.
  • Check for cracks and damage to your home.
  • If you leave home, notify any friends and family.
  • If the phone is working, only use it for emergency calls.
  • Avoid driving, if possible. This will keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.

Now, what will you do to prepare for the worldwide earthquake? Share your tips in the comments below.

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Photos by Bib-Arch, ReadySmart, Columbia Tribune, VinceFX

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