The Earthquake Country Alliance has worked with experts in earthquake science, preparedness, and mitigation to develop this step-by-step guide for staying safe, before, during and after an earthquake.
Here are the advisory titles:
1. Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing movable items.
2. Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency.
3. Organize disaster supplies in convenient locations.
4. Survive and recover.
5. Drop, cover and hold on when the earth shakes.
6. Improve safety after earthquakes by evacuating if necessary, helping the injured and preventing further injuries or damage.
7. Reconnect and restore — Restore daily life by reconnecting with others, repairing damage and rebuilding community.
Here are some more detailed suggestions.
Drop where you are onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter, if nearby.
Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from window).
Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs.
Under shelter: Hold on to it with one hand, be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts.
No shelter: Hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.
If you’re in bed, stay there. Lie face down to protect vital organs and cover your head and neck with a pillow, keeping your arms as close to your head as possible, while you hold on to your head and neck with both hands until shaking stops. You are less likely to be injured by fallen and broken objects by staying where you are.
In a store: Drop, cover and hold on. Getting next to a shopping cart, beneath clothing racks or within the first level of warehouse racks may provide extra protection.
Outdoors: Move to a clear area if you can safely do so. Avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles and other hazards, then drop, cover and hold on.
This protects you from any objects that may be thrown from the side, even if nothing is directly above you.
Driving: Pull over to the side of the road, stop and set the parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking stops, then proceed carefully by avoiding fallen debris, cracked or shifted pavement and emergency vehicles. If a power line falls on your car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
Otherwise use common sense, protecting your head, neck and vital organs.
If you are unhurt and your property is undamaged, your neighborly spirit will probably cause you to help others in the community. It’s the American way.