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What to do During an Earthquake

A loud rumbling may be heard several seconds before the earthquake. These few seconds could provide you with the chance to move to a safer location. You may have several options.

Whether you are in your home, a school classroom, a high-rise or other type of building, it is important to know how to protect yourself during an earthquake. Practice what to do during an earthquake with your family members so you can react automatically when the shaking starts.

If you are indoors, follow these steps:

    Drop -- Drop down to the floor.

    Cover -- Take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture. If that is not possible, seek cover against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid danger spots near windows, hanging objects, mirrors or tall furniture.

    Hold -- 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.

If you are outside when the shaking starts, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines. If driving, stop safely as soon as possible. Do not stop under overpasses or bridges. Turn off the engine and turn on the radio. Stay inside your vehicle below window level until the shaking stops. Do not get out of your vehicle if downed power lines have fallen across it.

In addition to Drop, Cover, and Hold, here are a few do's and don'ts...

Do move away from windows. Don't run for doorways.
Do get under a table or other sturdy furniture. Don't get in an elevator.
Do face away from windows, bookcases, or heavy objects. Don't continue driving; pull over and turn your vehicle off.
Do protect yourself from flying objects. Don't stop your car on overpasses or bridges, or under underpasses or power lines.
Do kneel, sit, or stay low to the floor if sturdy furniture is unavailable. Place your hands on the floor for balance. Don't forget to take some time to calm yourself after the shaking stops.
Do move to safe open areas, if you are outside.  

REMEMBER: Many injuries occur when people run through a building during an earthquake. Remain calm; think before you move.

For more information about how you can protect yourself during an earthquake, click here.

What to do before an earthquake

What to do after an earthquake