Understand how to ensure the safety of yourself and those close to you in the event of an earthquake. In the majority of cases, taking quick action by dropping to the ground, seeking cover, and holding on will help protect you.
Drop, Cover, and Hold on
In most scenarios, you can ensure your safety by following these steps immediately:
- Get down onto your hands and knees before the earthquake’s force makes you fall. This position keeps you from falling while allowing you to maintain mobility if needed.
- Find cover for your head and neck, and if possible, shield your entire body by taking refuge under a sturdy table or desk. If no shelter is nearby, position yourself near an interior wall or beside low-lying furniture that won’t topple over. Use your arms and hands to cover your head and neck.
- Hold onto your shelter (or protect your head and neck) until the tremors subside. Be ready to adjust your position if the shaking causes your shelter to move.If You Are Inside, Stay Inside
Avoid running outside or to other rooms during an earthquake, as staying in place reduces the risk of injury. To minimize the chances of harm, follow these guidelines:
- If you can, in the moments before the shaking intensifies, quickly distance yourself from glass windows, hanging objects, bookcases, china cabinets, or large furniture that might topple over. Keep an eye out for objects that may fall, such as bricks from fireplaces, light fixtures, wall decorations, high shelves, and cabinets with swinging doors.
- If there’s something nearby, grab it to shield your head and face from falling debris and shattered glass.
- If you’re in the kitchen, promptly turn off the stove and seek cover as soon as you sense the earthquake.
- If you happen to be in bed, hold on and remain in place, using a pillow to protect your head. Staying in bed reduces the risk of injury since broken glass on the floor can be hazardous if you attempt to walk or roll onto it.
- Do not stand in a doorway, as it is safer to take cover under a sturdy table. In modern homes, doorways are not structurally stronger than other parts of the house, and they do not offer protection from the most common sources of injury during earthquakes – falling or flying objects. The majority of earthquake-related injuries and fatalities result from falling or flying objects such as TVs, lamps, glass, or furniture, or from being knocked to the ground.
If you find yourself in a high-rise building during an earthquake, follow these steps:
- Move away from windows and exterior walls.
- Stay inside the building.
- Avoid using elevators, as a power outage may occur, and sprinkler systems may activate.
- If you become trapped, remain composed. Attempt to attract attention by gently tapping on hard or metal sections of the structure, as doing so could improve your chances of rescue.
If you are within a crowded area during an earthquake, remember to:
- Drop, cover, and hold on for safety.
- Avoid rushing towards doorways, as others may have the same impulse.
- Move away from display shelves carrying items that could potentially topple over.
- If possible, seek cover and secure something to protect your head and face from falling debris and glass
If you find yourself outdoors during an earthquake, it’s crucial to:
- Remain outside; do not attempt to enter a building.
- Stay indoors if you are already inside, and if you are outside, stay outside.
- Distance yourself from structures, utility wires, sinkholes, fuel and gas lines, as falling debris poses the greatest risk near doorways and close to the exterior walls of buildings.
- Seek an open area away from trees, telephone poles, and buildings. Once you’re in an open space, crouch down and remain there until the shaking subsides.
- Remember that the vicinity near the outer walls of a building is the most hazardous area. Windows, facades, and architectural features are often the initial components to collapse. It is essential to steer clear of this danger zone.
If you are inside a moving vehicle during an earthquake, follow these steps:
- Safely and promptly bring the vehicle to a stop.
- Move your car to the shoulder or curb, ensuring you are away from utility poles, overhead wires, and both under- and overpasses.
- Stay inside the vehicle and engage the parking brake. While the car may sway or shake, it remains a safe place to stay until the earthquake subsides.
- Turn on the radio to access emergency broadcast information.
- In the event that a power line falls on your car, remain inside until a trained individual can safely remove the wire.
- When it becomes safe to resume driving, be vigilant for earthquake-induced hazards, such as road surface damage, fallen utility poles and wires, rising water levels, collapsed overpasses, or bridges.