Below are some measures that you can take to help minimize damage and to help protect yourself in the event of an earthquake. (excerpted from FEMA's "Are you ready?" guide, FEMA Natural Hazards Earthquakes)
Before an Earthquake
During an Earthquake
Minimize your movements during an earthquake to a few steps to a nearby safe place. Stay indoors until the shaking has stopped and you are sure exiting is safe.
|If you are||You should|
Take cover under a sturdy desk, table, or bench or against an inside wall, and hold on. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
Stay in bed - if you are there when the earthquake strikes - hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, loadbearing doorway.
Stay inside until shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Most injuries during earthquakes occur when people are hit by falling objects when entering into or exiting from buildings.
Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
DO NOT use the elevators.
Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
|In a moving vehicle||
Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped, watching for road and bridge damage.
|Trapped under debris||
Do not light a match. Do not move about or kick up dust.
Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort - shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
After an Earthquake
For more information, try these links:
Federal Emergency Management Agency : (FEMA)