Tremor felt across Johannesburg and surroundings | EMS advice and tips

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Within a few moments social media sites were abuzz with users citing their experience, some of them a few hundred kilometres apart from each other.

South Africa is not accustomed to earthquakes, we do however experience tremors from time to time, but none of them causing any real damage or making national news.

At approximately 19:35 this evening, several people took to social media and reported that they have felt severe earth tremors across Johannesburg, Pretoria and some even report as far as Botswana.

Several users reported that the tremor lasted for more than 60 seconds.

Emergency Services always face a challenge with such an incident. When panic sets in, emergency contact centres should be prepared to handle more than normal the volume of emergency calls. On top of this, emergency services must combine resources to ensure that they are ready for a possible influx of emergency calls. Questions that must be asked include: “What infrastructure has been damaged?” “Will emergency resources be able to reach affected people?”

What should you do during an earthquake? 

  • Stay calm.
  • Try and stay where you are. Use large and sturdy objects such as a big desk to crawl under. If you are in a building, try and stand with your back against the wall near the centre of the building. You should try and stay away from windows and outside doors.
  • Should you be outside at the time of an earthquake, look around you. Ensure you are clear from power cables or anything overhead that might fall on you. Do not stand near or against a building, debris might fall on top of you.
  • Use the stairs to evacuate premises (only when it is safe to do so)

What should you do after an earthquake?

  • Establish if you have sustained any injuries. Check around you and try to see if anyone else sustained any injuries. If you can provide first aid, proceed to do so.
  • Call ER24 on 084124 for medical assistance if someone sustained an injury.
  • If the building you are in sustained structural damage, even if you are unsure, evacuated calmly and quickly. (If possible)
  • Try and listen to your local radio station for emergency or news updates.
  • Do not enter any damaged buildings or areas.
  • There might be debris lying around. Be very careful around broken glass and other items that can cause you harm. Do not take off your shoes.
  • Stay away from beaches until the area has been announced as safe.
  • If the area you are in has an evacuation or emergency plan, try and follow it.
  • Expect aftershocks.


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