During an Earthquake: Some Specific Situations
If you cannot drop to the ground, try to sit or remain seated so you are not knocked down. If you are in a wheelchair lock your wheels. Protect your head and neck with a large book, a pillow, or your arms. The goal is to prevent injuries from falling down or from objects that might fall or be thrown at you.
For more resources for people with impaired mobility and other access and functional needs, visit the Earthquake Country Alliance.
Drop, cover, and hold on. Move away from windows and outside walls. Stay in the building. The electricity may go out, and the sprinkler systems may come on. DO NOT use the elevators.
If you are trapped stay calm. Try to get someone s attention by tapping hard or metal parts of the structure. That may increase your chances of being rescued.
Crowded Indoor Public Places
Drop, cover, and hold on. Do not rush for the doorways. Others will have the same idea. Move away from display shelves containing objects that may fall. If you can, take cover and grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and glass.
Stadium or Theater
Stay at your seat and protect your head and neck with your arms, or any way possible. Do not leave until the shaking is over. Then walk out carefully watching for anything that could fall in the aftershocks.
Near the Shore
Drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops. Estimate how long the shaking lasts. If severe shaking lasts 20 seconds or more, immediately evacuate to high ground as a tsunami might have been generated by the earthquake. Move inland 3 kilometers (2 miles) or to land that is at least 30 meters (100 feet) above sea level immediately. Don’t wait for officials to issue a warning. Walk quickly, rather than drive, to avoid traffic, debris and other hazards.
Below a Dam
Dams can fail during a major earthquake. Catastrophic failure is unlikely, but if you live downstream from a dam, you should know flood-zone information and have an evacuation plan.
- Page last reviewed: October 26, 2011
- Page last updated: September 21, 2017
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