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Earthquake Quick Reference Guide


If you are inside, stay inside!

DO NOT run outside or to other rooms during shaking. In MOST situations, you will reduce your chance of injury from falling objects and even building collapse if you immediately.

DROP down onto your hands and knees!

Before the earthquake knocks you down. This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.

COVER your head and neck!

Place your entire body if possible under the shelter of a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won't fall on you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.  If available nearby, grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and broken glass.

HOLD ON to your shelter!

Or to your head and neck until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

DO NOT stand in a doorway.

You are safer under a table. The doorway does not protect you from the most likely source of injury−falling or flying objects. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by falling or flying objects (e.g., glass, bookcases, etc.), or by being knocked to the ground.

High Rise Buildings

Drop, cover, and hold on. Move away from windows and outside walls. Stay in the building. The electricity may go out, and the sprinkler systems may come on.

DO NOT use the elevators.

If you are trapped stay calm. Try to get someone's attention by tapping hard on metal parts of the structure. That may increase your chances of being rescued.

If you are outside, stay outside.

Stay away from buildings utility wires, sinkholes, and fuel and gas lines. The area near the exterior walls of a building is the most dangerous place to be. Windows, facades and architectural details are often the first parts of the building to collapse. Also, shaking can be so strong that you will not be able to move far without falling down, and objects may fall or be thrown at you. Move away from buildings, utility wires, sinkholes, and fuel and gas lines. The greatest danger from falling debris is just outside doorways and close to outer walls. Stay away from this danger zone. Once in the open, get down low to avoid being knocked down by strong shaking and stay there until the shaking stops.