The Great ShakeOut, an annual international earthquake drill and information source, offers tips on how to survive an earthquake. 

Drop, cover and hold on

• Drop to the ground.

• Cover your head and neck with your arms and seek shelter by getting under a sturdy table or desk.

• Hold on to your shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.

• If there is no table or desk nearby, move to an inside corner of the room and be in a crawling position to protect vital organs; cover your neck and head with your hands and arms.

• Do not move to another location or outside because earthquakes occur without warning and may be so violent that you can’t run or crawl. You are more likely to be injured if you try or move around during strong shaking. 

If you are unable to drop

• If you have trouble getting safely to the ground on your own, get as low as possible, protect your head and neck, and move away from windows and other items that could fall on you.

If you are in a wheelchair

• Lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Always protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, book or whatever is available.

In bed

• Hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured in bed, and broken glass can injure those who have rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways.

In a high-rise building

• Drop, cover and hold on, and avoid windows and other hazards. Don’t use elevators.

In a stadium or theater

• Stay in your seat or get on the floor between rows and protect your head and neck. Don’t try to leave until the shaking stops, and then leave slowly and watch for anything that could fall from aftershocks.

In a store

• Drop, cover and hold on. A shopping cart or getting inside clothing racks could provide protection. 


• Move to a clear area if you can safely do so. Avoid power lines, trees, signs, building, vehicles and other hazards.

In a vehicle 

• Pull over, stop and set the parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside until the shaking stops. 

The doorway myth

• Many people think a doorframe is the safest place to be during an earthquake, but The Great ShakeOut recommends that doorways aren’t the safest place, and do not provide protection from falling or flying objects. Hiding under a sturdy table or desk is safer. 

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