Earthquakes and Building Collapse


To provide guidelines for the safe handling of earthquake and building collapse incidents.


In the event of an earthquake and/or building collapse, the following guidelines shall be adhered to.

  1. Roll call officers for location and their injuries.
  2. After an earthquake or building collapse information is received in the RCC. Officers will do an exterior survey in assigned areas and report back to RCC.
  3. Officers will render emergency first aid and report all injuries and trapped persons to RCC.
  4. Residence Life, Housing and Dining Services facilities within assigned areas will be surveyed first.
  5. Exterior campus survey – Officers will note and report the following to RCC:
    • All life threatening emergencies
    • Small fires – (use available resources to extinguish if possible)
    • Structural damage to building
    • Broken of fallen power lines
    • Burnout on the exterior of electrical boxes
    • Gas Odors
    • Sewer and water line damage
    • Pavement cracks or sink holes
    • Unknown spills
  6. Watch for animals – Pet behavior may change dramatically after an earthquake.
  7. Building Coordinators will report building damage and injury estimates to the RCC.
  8. Rescue and Interior Building Survey
    1. Rescue maximum number of victims, with minimum risk to rescuers.
      1. Priority to live victims; dead are noted and removed later.
      2. Initially, rescue victims who are easy to get to, extricate, and evacuate.
    2. Search and survey the interior of only structurally sound (“Safe to enter”) structures
      1. Size up each structure before entering.
      2. Surround structure and check for both victims and safety problems.
      3. Look through windows, doors and openings for victims and hazards before entering.
      4. Surround structure and call to victims, then quietly wait for a response.
      5. Examine and report any damages to: walls, floors, doors, windows, ceilings, stairways, sewage or water line damage, gas leaks, electrical burnout areas and foundations.
      6. Interview victims already out for information on escape routes and victims still trapped.
      7. Obtain floor or architectural plan of structure. Create map if plan not available.
      8. Determine most likely victim locations considering type of facility, type of activities taking place at time of incident, and date and time.
      9. Remove or rescue exterior surface victims.
      10. Search and rescue in damaged structures performed by teams with specific functions. Most personnel on teams drafted from available survivors.
      11. Draw locations on live and dead victims and hazards on map during search.
      12. Search team - Searches for and triages victims. Performs non-CPR life saving procedures, such as repositioning airway or controlling life threatening bleeding, before continuing with the search.
      13. Medical Team – Performs medical assessment and provides treatment after search team locates victim.
      14. Extrication team – Performs extrication of victims from debris.
      15. Evacuation team – Evacuates victims after extrication.
      16. Debris Line team – Forms line and passes debris out of structure onto pile outside. Debris piles formed by debris line marked, so that they are not checked again.
      17. Other teams may be formed as needed; some teams may be combined or may overlap.
      18. All team members briefed on safety and procedures before beginning assignment.
      19. Map likely survival areas.
    3. Report building survey information, deliver map of trapped, injured and dead to the Director of Safety and Transportation, Maintenance, and Planning, Design and Construction.

Note: If the area were to experience an actual earthquake EMS services may be limited.

During an earthquake

During an earthquake, remain calm and quickly follow the steps outlined below.

  1. If indoors, seek refuge in a doorway or under a desk. Stay away from glass windows, shelves, and heavy equipment. "Duck, Cover and Hold!"
  2. If Outdoors, move quickly away from buildings, utility poles, and other structures. Caution: Always avoid power or utility lines, as they may be energized. Know your assembly points.
  3. If in an automobile, stop in the safest place available, preferably away from power lines and trees. Stop as quickly as safety permits, but stay in the vehicle for the shelter it offers.
  4. After the initial shock, evaluate the situation and, if emergency help is necessary, call Safety and Transportation at 417-836-5509; be prepared for aftershocks.
  5. Damaged facilities should be reported to Maintenance at 417-836-4904 during working hours and 417-836-5133 on weekends and after hours. The incident may also be reported Safety and Transportation at 417-836-5509.
  6. If necessary, or when directed to do so, Activate the building alarm. Precaution: Also report the emergency by telephone.
  7. When the building evacuation alarm is sounded, walk to the nearest marked exit and ask others to do the same.
  8. Assist the handicapped in exiting the Building! Remember that the elevators are reserved for the handicapped persons. Do not use elevators in case of fire. Do not panic; remain calm.
  9. Once outside, move to a clear area that is at least 500 feet away from the affected building(s). Keep streets, fire lanes, hydrants, and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and crews. Know your area assembly points.
  10. If requested, assist emergency crews as necessary.
  11. A Campus Emergency Command Post may be set up near the disaster site. Keep clear of the Command Post unless you have official business.
  12. Do Not Return to an Evacuated Building unless permitted to do so by a University official.

Important: After any evacuation, report to your designated campus area assembly point. Stay there until an accurate head count is taken. The Building Coordinator or Resident Assistant will take attendance and assist in the accounting for all building occupants.