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Protecting Yourself During Earthquakes

earthquakeAn earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earths crust, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock. Aftershocks are similar or lesser earthquakes that follow the main earthquake.

During an earthquake you want to Drop, Cover and Hold On! Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place. If you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are safe to exit. Research has shown that a lot of injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building, or try to leave. Also, the greatest danger exists directly outside buildings and along exterior walls. Most earthquake related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass and falling objects.

If indoors during an earthquake:

  • Drop to the ground
  • Take cover under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture. If there isn't a table or desk near you, cover your head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Hold on until the shaking stops
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall on top of you
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake starts. Hold on and protect your head with your pillow. If you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall, move to the nearest safe place
  • Only use a doorway if you know it is strongly supported, load-bearing doorway, and it is close to you. Many interior doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection
  • DO NOT use an elevator
  • Be aware that electricity may go out or the fire alarms may turn on

If outdoors during an earthquake:

  • Stay outdoors
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires, and stay in the open

If in a moving vehicle:

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously after the earthquake has stopped, as roadways, bridges and ramps might have been damaged.

If you get trapped under debris:

  • Do not move about or kick up dust
  • Cover your mouth with clothing
  • Do not light a match
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you