Safety experts agree that "Drop, Cover and Hold On" is the safest procedure during an earthquake. It's what you'll practice on October 17 at 10:17 a.m. for the Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill for a full minute. Sign up at www.shakeout.org if you haven't done so already, and set your cell phone to alert you to the exact time.
The Earthquake Country Alliance offers the following guidelines for other scenarios you may find yourself in:
If there is no table or desk near you, drop to the ground and then if possible move to an inside corner of the room. Be in a crawling position to protect your vital organs and be ready to move if necessary, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
Do not move to another location or outside. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl. You are more likely to be injured if you try to move around during strong shaking. Also, you will never know if the initial jolt will turn out to be start of the big one. That’s why you should always Drop, Cover, and Hold On as your first response.
If you have difficulty getting safely to the floor on your own, get as low as possible, protect our head and neck, and move away from windows or other items that can fall on you.
In a wheelchair: Lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Always protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, a book, or whatever is available.
In bed: If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are. Broken glass on the floor has caused injury to those who have rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways.
In a high-rise: Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Avoid windows and other hazards. Do not use elevators. Do not be surprised if sprinkler systems or fire alarms activate.
In a store: When Shaking starts, Drop Cover and Hold On. A shopping cart or getting inside clothing racks can provide some protection. If you must move to get away from heavy items on high shelves, drop to the ground first and crawl only the shortest distance.
Read more about "Drop, Cover and Hold On" at www.dropcoverholdon.org