- Find out in advance if your home is in a risk area.
- For new buildings, apply the EUROCODE 8 standard, adapted to your region.
- Secure heavy furniture to prevent it from falling over.
- Hang mirrors and frames securely on the wall.
- Do not hang heavy objects around your bed.
If you are inside
- Are you near an exit? See if you can safely leave the building and go to an open space away from buildings.
- Take cover under a table, desk, bed or other sturdy piece of furniture and hold on to it until the shaking stops.
- Cover your head and torso to protect yourself from objects that may fall on you.
- If there is no sturdy furniture under which you can take shelter, crouch down along an interior wall.
- Stay away from the windows.
If you are outside
- Go to an open area, away from buildings, electrical cables or anything that could collapse (e.g. bridges).
- Are you in a public place? Then seek shelter somewhere where you stay out of the crowd.
If you are driving
- Try to stop in a safe place where you are not blocking the road. Allow free passage for emergency vehicles.
- Stop and stay in your car.
- Listen to the radio to keep up to date with the situation.
- Do not leave your vehicle if electrical cables have fallen on it. Wait until the emergency services come to help you.
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- Do not smoke or create flames or sparks.
- Check whether your home has suffered any structural damage. Also check that there are no other hazards. If you think your home is no longer safe, do not enter and call in an expert, e.g. a fireman, a civil engineer, etc.
- If you are able to return home, shut off the gas and electricity supply to avoid a leak. After an earthquake there is a risk of damaged pipes.
- Have your chimney checked. A damaged chimney can lead to CO in your home.
- Take pictures of the damage. This may help in your insurance claim.
- You can always share information and your experience on www.seismologie.be. This information may be useful to the emergency services.
Impact and probability
In 2018, the National Crisis Center coordinated a large-scale risk assessment for Belgium for the period 2018-2023. Several experts assessed various risks based on their probability and their impact on people, society, the environment and the economy.
For the risk of 'earthquake', the analysis is:
- Impact: low impact
- Probability: likely
Read more about this analysis and what this chart means.
What does the government do?
The greatest risk in the event of an earthquake is damage to or collapse of buildings. Since 2011 there is a European standard (Eurocode 8) that prescribes rules for buildings to ensure they withstand earthquakes.
The Royal Observatory of Belgium continuously measures seismic activity in Belgium. In the event of an earthquake that can be felt, they notify the necessary partners. Municipalities, provinces or the National Crisis Center then fall back on their general emergency and intervention plan.