The aim of this study was to investigate human behaviour during the 2012 Northern Italy Earthquakes. Furthermore, the current study used Kuligowski and Mileti's (Fire Saf J 44:487-496, 2009) extended model and the Social Attachment Model as a framework to explain the behavioural responses. The study included 1839 participants who were affected by the earthquake occurred in the Emilia-Romagna region (Italy) on 20 May 2012. The most frequent behavioural responses during the earthquake were moving to another room of the house, escaping from home, and waiting in bed. According to Kuligowski and Mileti's (Fire Saf J 44:487-496, 2009) extended model, perceived risk was associated with evacuation, and emergency preparedness was related to more efficient and effective responses during the earthquake. In line with the Social Attachment Model, affiliation behaviours were more frequent than flight behaviours, while, contrary to predictions, the social context did not influence emotional responses, evacuation behaviour, and search for protection.