Earthquake: Drop, Cover & Hold on Tips

By CERT Team17 drop cover hold3

When you begin to feel an earthquake, DROP to the floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture like a desk or table. Stay away from windows, bookcases, pictures and mirrors, hanging plants, and other heavy objects that may fall. Be aware of falling materials such as plaster, ceiling tile that may come loose during the quake. Stay under COVER until the shaking stops. HOLD ON to the desk or table that you’re under and if it moves, move with it.

  • If you are not near a table or desk, move against an interior wall, and protect your head with your arms. Do not go into a doorway! Not only can the shaking cause the door to swing shut forcefully, but many interior doors are not load-bearing.
  • HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS – Do not use the elevators and don’t be surprised if the fire alarm and sprinkler system come on.
  • OUTDOORS – Move to a clear area away from buildings, poles, power lines, signs, and trees.
  • NEAR BUILDINGS – Be aware of falling bricks, glass, plaster, and other debris. Move a distance of at least 1 1/2 times the height of the building (collapse zone).
  • DRIVING- Pull to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, powerlines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.
  • STORE OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACE – Do not rush for the exit. Move away from shelves and displays that may fall over or contain objects that could fall, then drop, cover, and hold on.
  • WHEELCHAIR – If you’re in a wheelchair, stay in it. Move to cover, if possible (e.g., an interior wall), lock your wheels, and protect your head with your arms.
  • KITCHEN- Move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards, then drop, cover, and hold on.
  • THEATER OR STADIUM – If possible, get on the floor between the rows and cover your head with your arms, otherwise stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. Do not try to leave until the shaking stops, then leave in a calm, orderly manner.

After an earthquake, be prepared for aftershocks and plan where you will take cover when they occur. For more information contact