The instant you feel the ground or building start to shake, move quickly to protect yourself. Be aware that some tremors are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might follow.
- If indoors, drop to the ground and take cover by getting under a sturdy table or a piece of furniture. Hold on until the shaking stops.
- If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
- Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or heavy bookcases.
- Use a doorway for shelter only if it is nearby and if you know it is a strongly supported.
- Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to move about. Injuries most often occur when people inside buildings attempt to move during the earthquake. Beware of aftershocks.
- Be aware that the electricity may go out, sprinkler systems may turn on, and fire alarms may be activated.
- DO NOT use the elevators.
- Stay outside. Do not try to enter any buildings to help others.
- Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
- Once in an open, safer location, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at building entrances/exits, and alongside exterior walls where there may be falling debris.
In a moving vehicle
- Stop as quickly as safety permits. Avoid stopping near buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
- Stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
- Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
- If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
- If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
Trapped under debris
- Do not light a match.
- Do not move about or kick up dust.
- Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing to help filter the air you breathe.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if you have one. Shout only as a last resort to minimize inhaling dust that could be dangerous.