Drop to the ground (before the earthquake drops you).
Take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture that is not likely to tip over. If that is not possible, seek cover against an interior wall and protect your head with your arms. Avoid dangerous spots near windows, hanging objects, mirrors and tall furniture.
If you take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture, hold on to it and be prepared to move with it. Hold the position until the ground stops shaking and it is safe to move.
But what if I am:
- In bed - If you are in bed, stay there. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow.
- In a multi-story building - Drop, cover, and hold on. Do not use elevators. Do not be surprised if sprinkler systems or fire alarms activate. Avoid stairs until shaking has stopped.
- Outside - Move to a clear area if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles and other hazards.
- 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 is over. If power lines fall on your vehicle, stay inside until a trained person removes them. Do not open your door or put your feet on the ground.
- In a theater or stadium - Stay at your seat. Duck down and protect your head and neck with your arms. If you can't duck under the seat, at least put your head and upper body under the seat. Don't try to leave until the shaking stops. Exit cautiously, watching for falling debris or anything that could fall during an aftershock. Stay calm and encourage others to do the same.
- In the mountains - Avoid unstable slopes or cliffs. Landslides are a common hazard during earthquakes. Watch for falling rocks and debris.
Myth: The "Triangle of Life" is the best way to protect yourself inside a building. Not true!
The best survival method inside a building is to drop, cover and hold on. The triangle of life advocates you get next to a large object rather than crouch beneath a desk or table. This can expose you to lacerations and crushing injuries from falling objects and debris. Almost all scientific, government and relief organizations, including the American Red Cross, recommend "drop, cover and hold on". Find out more at www.shakeout.org.