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Taking the proper actions, such as “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”, can save lives and reduce the risk
of injury. Everyone, everywhere, should learn and practice what to do during an earthquake, whether at home, work, school or traveling.

In MOST situations, you will reduce your chance of injury if you:

DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.
COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand
If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)
Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs
HOLD ON until shaking stops
Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

Why Drop, Cover, and Hold On? Our special report explains why official rescue teams, emergency preparedness experts, and others recommend “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” as the best way, in most situations, to protect yourself during earthquake shaking.

Specific situations…

It is important to think about what you will do to protect yourself, wherever you are, when the earth begins to shake. What if you are driving, in a theater, in bed, at the beach, etc.?

Persons with Disabilities: See EarthquakeCountry.org/disability for recommendations for people who use wheelchairs, walkers, or are unable to drop to the ground and get up again without assistance.

Indoors: Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen cabinets with heavy objects or glass. However, do not try to move more than 5-7 feet before getting on the ground. Do not go outside during shaking! The area near the exterior walls of a building is the most dangerous place to be. Windows, facades and architectural details are often the first parts of the building to break away. If seated and unable to drop to the floor: bend forward, Cover your head with your arms, and Hold On to your neck with both hands.

In bed: Do not get out of bed. Lie face down to protect vital organs, and Cover your head and neck with a pillow, keeping your arms as close to your head as possible, while you Hold On to your head and neck with both hands until shaking stops. You are less likely to be injured by fallen and broken objects by staying where you are.

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