• Drop, Cover, and Hold On
  • Take cover under a piece of heavy furniture or in a corner or against an inside wall and hold on.
  • Stay away from falling objects.
  • If you are in bed when an earthquake happens, remain there. Rolling out of bed may lead to being injured by debris on the floor next to the bed. If you have done a good job of earthquake mitigation (that is, removing pictures or mirrors that could fall on a bed; anchoring tall bedroom furniture to wall studs, and the like), then you are safer to stay in bed rather than roll out of it during the shaking of an earthquake..
  • Stay inside!


  • Do not try to move (that is, escape) during the shaking of an earthquake. The more and the longer distance that someone tries to move, the more likely they are to become injured by falling or flying debris, or by tripping, falling, or getting cut by damaged floors, walls, and items in the path of escape.
  • Do not use a doorway for earthquake protection. The problem is that many doorways are not built into the structural integrity of a building, and may not offer protection. Also, doorways are not suitable for more than one person at a time.
  • Do not leave the building! The most dangerous thing to do during the shaking of an earthquake is to try to leave the building because objects can fall on you. Also you will be going from a known situation into an unknown situation.


An email from titled "Triangle of Life," is making its rounds on the Internet. It contains a message from Mr. Doug Copp, the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of American Rescue Team International (a private company not affiliated with the U.S. Government or other agency.) These recommendations are inaccurate for application in the United States and inconsistent with information developed through earthquake research.

Mr. Copp's assertion that everyone is always crushed if they get under something is incorrect. Identifying potential "void areas" and planning on using them for earthquake protection as suggested by the "Triangle of Life" may be the best thing to teach in countries where the risk of building collapse, even in moderate earthquakes, is great.

Read more about the Triangle of Life here.


  • Move into the open, away from buildings, street lights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.

Moving Vehicle

  • Come to a stop quickly.
  • Stay in the vehicle.
  • Move to a clear area away from buildings, trees, overpasses, or utility wires.
  • Once shaking has stopped, proceed with caution.
  • Avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.



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