When the earth starts to shake
Protect yourself as quickly as possible. In many situations that means remembering three actions:
- drop, 2. cover, and 3. hold.
• Drop: Get down on your hands and knees to protect yourself from being knocked over. That also puts you in an ideal position to crawl for shelter.
• Cover: Place an arm and hand over your head and neck to shield them from debris. Head for any nearby tables to shelter under until the shaking stops. If a table isn’t in sight, sidle up to one of your home’s interior walls away from tall objects and furniture that might topple. A common misconception in seeking cover is that doorways offer the best protection during an earthquake. But according to the Earthquake Country Alliance, this is only true if you are in an “old, unreinforced adobe house.” In modern homes, the rest of the house is just as strong.
• Hold: Stay put until the shaking stops. If you’re under a shelter like a table, keep hold of it with one hand. If you’re out in the open, continue to shield your head and neck with your arms.
If you use a wheelchair or walker, or cannot drop to the ground, there are other versions of the above protocol to follow that will help keep you safe. For example, if you are in a wheelchair, lock the wheels and then lean over to protect your vital organs, covering your head and neck with your arms.