What to do in Case of an Earthquake in Korea

While the Korean peninsula may be safe from strong earthquakes, the number of incidents around the country has been on the rise raising concern that the peninsula could be vulnerable to a possible major event.

Given the country’s history — a magnitude 7 earthquake hit Korea during the Joseon Kingdom — and the increase in activity since records began being recorded in 1978, experts here have cautioned that Korea needs to prepare itself for possibility of a deadly earthquake.

In recent years, the amount of earthquakes in Korea has risen from an average of 19.2 incidents per year from 1978-1998 to 47.9 from 1999 to 2014.

Though almost all of these have been relatively small — 2015 saw 44 earthquakes in Korea, with only 5 registering between 3.0-4.0 (ones which can be sensed by people) while the other 39 registered under a 3.0 according to the Korean Meteorological Association — it’s never a bad idea to be prepared in just in case.

What Can You Do to Prepare?

In the event of an earthquake, follow these tips from National Geographic’s website on what to do in an emergency:

  • Drop down; take cover under a desk or table and hold on.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit.
  • Stay away from bookcases or furniture that can fall on you.
  • Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
  • If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
  • If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place. Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

Local Tips

  • Register with your country’s embassy to receive emergency services and advisories in case of a disaster.
  • Stay informed — monitor local media for any advisories or warnings.
  • Save the number and website of your government’s embassy on your phone.
  • Download the AFN 360 app for your smartphone to give you free access to all the American Armed Forces radio stations in the Pacific region.
  • Download the ROK Ministry of Public Safety and Security “Emergency Ready” app for smartphones and tablets. The app is free and allows users to make emergency 119 calls quickly and locate the nearest emergency shelters.
  • Be prepared — know where your local emergency shelters are and any relevant numbers or websites in case of an emergency.
  • Stay inland in case of possible tsunamis near the coastal regions.

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