Where Should You Hide During an Earthquake?


Quick Answer

The best place to take shelter during an earthquake is underneath a sturdy desk or table, preferably one that covers the entire body. If this option is not available, protecting the head and neck is the most important safety concern. Do not stand in a doorway, as that advice is outdated and unsafe.

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Full Answer

Sheltering under a strong desk or table is part of the safety protocol known as "drop, cover and hold on." This procedure is designed to prevent indoor injuries from falls, falling objects and flying glass that may occur during an earthquake. The three steps involved are to first drop to hands and knees; then, cover at least the neck and head, and the whole body if possible; and last, hold on to the shelter object if one is available. Wait until the shaking stops before moving, and be aware that aftershocks may occur. If there is no table or desk nearby, sit near an interior wall or by low-lying furniture that won't topple over. Avoid doorways, fireplaces, appliances and windows.

If outside, get into the open and away from buildings, tall trees and power lines. If driving, avoid parking on or under bridges and overpasses and stay clear of light posts, power lines, trees and road signs. Be aware of the potential for landslides if in a mountainous area. If near the coast, watch for tsunamis. Finally, when in a public place, stay low, cover the head and neck and avoid panicking or rushing nearby exits.

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