During an Earthquake
Earthquakes strike without warning. They are frightening in the extreme and how a person reacts in this crisis situation will greatly affect their chances for survival or avoiding serious injury. How to initially respond to the quake depends on where you are when it strikes. Essentially, a person is in one of three places when an earthquake strikes: inside a structure, outdoors or in a vehicle.
If You Are Inside
Drop, cover and hold. Drop down to the floor, take cover under a desk or table and hold on to it, and be prepared to move with it. If you cannot make it under a desk or table, brace yourself against an interior wall. Do not move until the shaking stops. Be sure to stay clear of windows, fireplaces or heavy furniture or appliances that are apt to tip over. Do not attempt to leave the structure during the earthquake. Falling objects, such as power lines, trees, brick or shattered glass, can cause serious injury or death.
If You Are Outside
Get away from buildings and power lines, streetlights, trees or any other object that is liable to topple. Should you be in a mountainous area, be alert for falling rocks. Landslides are another danger near unstable slopes. Should you be near a body of water such as a lake or the ocean, move to higher ground. An earthquake can generate abnormally high waves, even on a lake.
If You Are Driving
Stop unless you are on a bridge or overpass, in an underpass or tunnel, or near buildings, trees or utility wires. If possible, move out of the traffic pattern and come to a complete stop. Stay in the vehicle until the shaking stops. After the earthquake ends, proceed with caution. Remember that ramps and bridges may be damaged and are unsafe. The road surface may have been damaged as well and debris may be on the roadway. Drive with extreme caution until you reach your destination. Common sense is often the best determinator of what to do during an earthquake. The most import thing to remember is not to panic.