How To Get Help If You’re In An Earthquake

by Paul Konrardy


  • Be safe, be smart.
  • Drop, cover, and hold on! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. It is very dangerous to try to leave a building during an earthquake because objects can fall on you.

If You Are Indoors

  • Stay away from windows.
    • In a shaking or weakened structure, windows can shatter with a force that can injure — even if you are standing several feet away, indoors or out.
  • If you are in bed, hold on and stay there; protect your head with a pillow.
  • Stay away from windows, doors (they might swing shut), and heavy appliances.
    • In a shaking or weakened structure, windows can shatter with a force that can injure — even if you are standing several feet away, indoors or out.

WHN TIP – Stay low: Crouch down and get into a fetal position, under or near a sturdy object like a desk or bed. Hold onto it – you may have to move with the object!

  • In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
    • Check for and extinguish small fires, and, if exiting, use the stairs.
  • Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit.
    • After the shaking has stopped, if you go outside, move quickly away from the building to prevent injury from falling debris.

If You Are Outdoors

  • Find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines.
    • Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops. Injuries can occur from falling trees, street lights, power lines, or building debris.
  • Be careful — trees, power lines, poles, street signs, and other overhead items may fall during earthquakes.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris that could be loosened by the quake.

If You Are In a Vehicle

  • Pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking has stopped. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution.
  • Avoid bridges, ramps, buildings, and other structures that might have been damaged or weakened by the quake.
  • Tune in to the local radio stations for traffic and media reports.

For More Information

Earthquake Hazards Program – USGS – This site offers more about earthquakes in the Northern California regions. Click on General Quake Info or Hazards & Preparedness for more information. The U.S. Geological Survey is a multi-disciplinary science organization dedicated to the timely, relevant, and impartial study of the landscape, our natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten us.

Earthquake Safety – Safety tips from the Alaska Sea Grant College Program. Alaska Sea Grant’s extension program offers technical assistance and information to individuals and businesses that enjoy and depend on Alaska’s seas and coasts. – kids’ section has information for children, parents, and educators.

Remember … 

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical or legal advice. These tips are from first responders, lawyers, insurance agents, and people who have shared real-life advice; always check with a doctor, lawyer, or appropriate professional you trust before making any legal or healthcare-related decisions.

Thank You … 

A special thank you to the first responders, emergency workers, government officials, lawyers, insurance agents, and people who gave us their time, insight, and real-life advice.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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