Federal, State, and local emergency management experts and other official preparedness organizations all agree that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes. Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are opportunities to practice how to protect ourselves during earthquakes.
You cannot tell from the initial shaking if an earthquake will suddenly become intense...so always Drop, Cover, and Hold On immediately!
- DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
- Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
- HOLD ON to your shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.
If there is no table or desk near you, drop to the ground and then if possible move to an inside corner of the room. Be in a crawling position to protect your vital organs and be ready to move if necessary, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not move to another location or outside. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl. You are more likely to be injured if you try to move around during strong shaking. Also, you will never know if the initial jolt will turn out to be start of the big one...and that's why you should always Drop, Cover, and Hold On immediately!
These are guidelines for most situations. Read below to learn how to protect yourself in other situations and locations, or visit ready.gov/earthquakes for more information.
If you are unable to Drop, Cover, and Hold On: If you have difficulty getting safely to the floor on your own, get as low as possible, protect our head and neck, and move away from windows or other items that can fall on you.
In a wheelchair: Lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Always protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, a book, or whatever is available