– Every year there are ~60 earthquakes each day (21,900 a year)
– On average there are over 360 earthquakes a year that have a magnitude of 4.0- 5.0 9 (one per day)
– There is a probability of 27% of experiencing an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 or more in any given year.
Many people safely survive earthquakes and come out relatively unharmed, but that isn’t always the case. This is a very dangerous scenario and one that you should try to prepare yourself for.
This is especially important if you live in an area where earthquakes are common and can happen at any time. Keep reading to find out just what floor of a building is the safest during an earthquake.
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Table of Contents
Which Floor of a Building Is Safest During an Earthquake?
If there is an earthquake happening near a building that you are in, it is best to go to one of the higher floors of the building. Many people instinctively go down, but you should try to get to the third floor or even the highest floor that is available.
You should avoid going downstairs as the lower floors are not the ideal place to be. If you are on the top floor during an earthquake, find a safe place to hide and stay put until the danger passes.
If you are on a ground-level floor, when there is an earthquake, it is best to try to go higher if possible. Though you don’t want to do this if the earthquake is very bad and makes it harder to travel.
Always avoid elevators and take the stairs if it is safe and the building isn’t being damaged. If this is not a safe option, you should find a sheltered place to hide until the worst of it is over.
Some places to hide that provide the best protection are:
- Door frame
If you have nothing to hide under, you should try to go to a room with no windows and no hanging objects. Or, at the very least, position yourself away from windows and hanging objects to better protect yourself.
Where Should You Not Go in a Building If There Is an Earthquake?
If there is an earthquake going on and you are in a building, it is always best to try not to move around and travel through the building. This can be dangerous and make it more likely that you could get hurt.
Something could fall on you, or a window could shatter and cut you if you are close by. In most instances, it is best to try to stay where you are if you can find some kind of shelter.
The number one place that you shouldn’t go in an earthquake is to the bottom or lower floors. This may be your first instinct, but it is not the right place to go if you want to be in a safer area of the building.
The ground floors or lower floors are the areas experiencing the worst of the earthquake, so you don’t want to go there. Some people may be trapped on these floors because the earthquake is very bad and they can’t go to a higher floor.
Earthquakes impact the earth, as the name suggests, and do the most damage at ground level. Though this impacts the top floors of a building, the impact is much milder and won’t be nearly as dangerous.
That is why it is suggested that you go to the highest floor that you can get to for safety. Higher floors won’t sustain as much damage and can provide more support if the building starts to become damaged.
Should You Leave a Building During an Earthquake?
If there is an earthquake, it is always best to not leave where you are if you are currently being sheltered. In many cases, a building is a safer place to be, and you can find shelter to hide under as a means of protecting yourself.
Experts recommend getting to a higher floor if possible, but even this can be risky. This is why this may not be a good option for every situation.
You will have to decide for yourself if it is safe to travel to the top floor or not. In some cases, the risk might be worth it, but you should always try to remain stationary during an earthquake if you can.
In general, you should never try to exit the building in the middle of an earthquake. The only time this would be a good idea is if the building is actually starting to collapse and you are on the ground floor.
If this is the case, the safest option may be to flee the building, as the ground floor will suffer the worst. Though this is really the only instance where it is actually safer to go outside in an earthquake.
Buildings can provide shelter in natural disasters like this, making it best to stay inside.
Where Is the Safest Place to be If a Building Collapses?
If the earthquake is very aggressive and does a lot of damage to one area, it is very possible for a building to completely collapse. This happens regularly, especially if the building is right where the earthquake is or if the structure wasn’t sound.
Very tall buildings can be more vulnerable, as well as older buildings that may already be damaged structurally. This could result in a building collapsing due to a bad earthquake.
If this is the case, you will want to be on the highest floor possible. The higher the floor, the safer you will be as the impact will be lessened.
The best place to be is the very top floor as no other floors will be collapsing on top of this one. This makes the top floor safer and more structurally sound if the building collapses altogether.
The ground floor is by far the worst place to be as this is where the most impact is going to be. All of the top floors will be raining down on the ground floor, crushing all of the barriers and structures that could keep you safe.
This is why the top floors are better as they don’t have that kind of damage coming to them. They will fare better and come out less damaged, meaning that you will be safer in these areas of the building.
This is why it is best to try to exit the building if you are on the ground floor and can see that the building is going to collapse.
Can Homes Withstand Earthquakes?
Most homes, in general, are not built to survive an earthquake if it is severe. Residential homes tend to be quickly constructed and are often heavily reliant on less durable materials like drywall.
This does not do much in making an earthquake-proof home that can withstand a severe earthquake. The good thing is that most homes can survive the average earthquake with minimal or no structural damage.
This is because buildings that are relatively new and well made are durable and can take a bit of pressure. This may not be the case for severe earthquakes, but it is generally what happens.
Homes constructed with wood and concrete tend to hold up the best as wood is more sturdy and flexible, allowing it to withstand a lot of movement. While concrete is extremely hard and very difficult to damage.
Though the concrete must be reinforced with other measures to make it less prone to cracking under pressure.
If an earthquake is happening, you could also try to earthquake-proof your home by removing heavy and tall objects that could fall. You can lay this on the floor and even use them as shelter to hide under.
The fewer items that could fall, the better, as falling items are one of the biggest dangers of earthquakes. These objects can do a lot of damage to a home and could even injure you.
Which Floor Is Safer If There Is an Earthquake?
If there is an earthquake happening, the safest place in a building for you to be in is the top floor. Or at the very least one of the top floors that are above the ground level.
The most dangerous place to be on the ground floor, which is getting the worst of the earthquake. This is also where the most damage will be if the building collapses, crushing the ground and bottom floors.
The very top floor is the best place to be as it will be getting the least amount of damage. If the building collapses, this floor won’t have other floors falling on top of it either, making it a safer place to hide.
These are things to consider if you live in an area with earthquakes that could cause serious damage to buildings. You will want to try to go to the top floor for safety but limit how much you are moving around.
You only want to be moving if it is necessary to find better shelter as you are at risk if you are trying to go somewhere else during an earthquake.