An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth’s surface. Earthquakes strike suddenly, without warning, and may occur at any time of the year, day or night. Forty-five states and territories in the U.S. are at moderate to very high risk of earthquakes, and such areas are located in every region of the country.


There will be no warning in the event of an earthquake. Consider stocking a few days’ supply of items, which may become scarce or unavailable, such as food, water, alternative power and light sources, and first aid supplies.

During an earthquake

If inside when the shaking starts:
  • Stay where you are and wait it out; it will be virtually impossible and dangerous to change locations. Do not go outside until shaking stops.
  • Drop down on your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • If you can move safely, crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table.
  • If in a hallway, move against a corridor wall, and cover head with arms.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors, and walls, and anything that could fall, such as light fixtures or furniture.
  • Be aware fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
  • If you must leave the building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages, or other damage.
If outside when the shaking starts:
  • Find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights.
  • Drop to the ground.
  • Stay until the shaking stops.
  • If in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses, and power lines. Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps the earthquake may have damaged.

After an earthquake
  • If there is a clear path to safety, leave the building, and go to an open space away from buildings and damaged areas with nothing overhead.
  • If you are trapped, do not move about or kick up dust. Tap on a pipe or wall, and shout out, so rescuers can locate you.
  • Check for injuries, and dial 911 as needed. Be aware emergency responders may not be available for some time. It may be necessary to act to free trapped individuals or provide first aid if qualified emergency response is delayed. Consider your safety, and use good judgment.
  • Do not use the telephone, unless necessary. Leave lines open for emergency calls.
  • Try to account for all individuals.
  • Examine area for damage and hazards, particularly hazardous materials release and gas, electric, or water line damage. Report any problems to facilities.
  • Expect and prepare for aftershocks.
  • Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks, and even months following an earthquake.
  • Watch for small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.
  • Clean up spilled medications, chemicals, or flammable liquids immediately.
  • Watch for fallen power lines; stay out of damaged areas.
  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Be careful when driving after an earthquake, and anticipate traffic light outages.
  • Criminal behavior, such as looting, often occurs in disaster scenarios. Lock doors, and employ other means of security, as appropriate.

Important ATSU Emergency Numbers


Security Emergency and non-emergency 
(On Campus) ext. 33
(Off Campus) 1-660-349-9513

Kirksville Police: 
(On Campus) Dial 9-911 
(Off Campus) Dial 911


Security Office: *7 from any campus phone
Switchboard : 0 
Security Phone: 480-341-9075

Security *Emergencies Only*
(On Campus) *7 from any campus phone

Mesa Police: 
(On Campus) Dial 911 
(Off Campus) Dial 911