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Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

These five words could save your life when the next earthquake strikes. Don’t just learn the words: practice, practice, practice.

When the ground starts to shake beneath you

This is what you do when an earthquake strikes. STOP in place, DROP to the ground, take COVER under anything sturdy, and HOLD ON to the item you’re underneath. If there’s nothing nearby to take cover under, simply COVER your head with your hands.

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Beware of aftershocks!

They could happen at any time, so be ready to drop, cover and hold on again!

Don't run outside!

You don’t know the extent of damage around you. Now is the time to stay calm and look around you. If it’s safe to move, assess your area, and those who might be near you.

Running outside might be very dangerous. It’s rarely the earthquake the kills or injures people, it’s the buildings. In California, building codes and retrofit laws have assured that most buildings that are surprisingly safe during an earthquake. Being inside one of these is often the safest place to ride out an earthquake. Outside, there could be dangerous debris, falling from structures, or already covering the area.

Never stand in a doorway

Experts used to advise people to stand in doorways. That’s before buildings codes were created that made buildings more resilient to earthquakes. Now there is no benefit to standing in a doorway. First of all, standing is difficult when the ground is shaking. Second of all, the door will likely slam shut during the shaking, and that means you and your fingers will pay the price!

How to Drop, Cover, and Hold On - Even When You Can't

Safety for Everyone!

What should you do if you’re not able to drop to the ground? You can still take steps to protect yourself when the earth starts to move beneath you.

If you’re using a wheelchair, you can “LOCK” the wheelchair’s wheels, “COVER” your head, and “HOLD ON” to the wheelchair.

A walker can be used like a cane, to help you get down onto the floor. 

Overall, put your body into a position that will protect your head, and stay away from objects that can fall on you. 

Look around if you have time to think about it – and don’t take cover next to a large glass window, or a bookshelf, or under a skylight. 

Follow these steps, and you’ll be increasing your chances of not only surviving, but doing so without serious injury.

Check Out Our Earthquake Resources

Every year, few organize resources to help you get the most up-to-date information on earthquakes, safety trends, and the Great Shakeout. Check them out!

Need to register? Start here!

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