Earthquake: Duck, Cover, and Hold Tips

When an earthquake strikes:

Duck, Cover, and Hold

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 and teach yourself and your family members to react automatically when the shaking starts. If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls, and power lines. If you are indoors, follow the steps below:

DUCK or drop down to the floor.

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.


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.

When you feel an earthquake. DUCK under a desk or sturdy table. Stay away from windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants, and other heavy objects that could fall. Watch out for falling plaster or ceiling tiles. Stay under COVER until the shaking stops. HOLD onto the desk or table, if it moves, move with it. Here are some additional tips for specific locations.

Duck, Cover, and Hold Tips

1. If you're in a HIGH-RISE BUILDING, and you are not near a desk or table, move against an interior wall, and protect your head with your arms. Do not use the elevators. Do not be surprised if the fire alarm or sprinkler systems come on.

2. If you're OUTDOORS, move to a clear area, away from trees, signs, buildings, or downed electrical wires and poles.

3. If you're on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster, and other debris.

4. If you're DRIVING, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.

5. If you're in a CROWDED STORE OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACE, do not rush for exits. Move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.

6. If you're in a WHEELCHAIR, stay in it. Move to cover, if possible, lock your wheels, and protect your head with your arms.

7. If you're in the KITCHEN, move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards. [Take time NOW to anchor appliances and install security latches on cupboard doors to reduce hazards.]

8. If you're in a STADIUM OR THEATER, stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. Do not try to leave until the shaking is over. Then leave in a calm, orderly manner.


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