How to Drop,
Cover, and Hold

Why is it important to do a Drop, Cover, and Hold On drill? To react quickly you must practice often. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake, before strong shaking knocks you down—or drops something on you. Practicing helps you be ready to respond.

If You Are Inside:

Move no more than a few steps, then Drop, Cover and Hold On.
DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!)
Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table.
Hold On
HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.
If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run to another room just to get under a table.
Hills with trees and a sun rising
If You Are Outdoors:

When the shaking starts, you should find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold On. Stay there until the shaking stops.

Two people drive in a car
If You Are Driving:

Pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.

These are general guidelines for most situations. Depending on where you are (in bed, driving, in a theater, etc.), you might take other actions, as described in Recommended Earthquake Safety Actions. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings in British Columbia you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops.

Bookshelf falling on person
Ground Shaking During an Earthquake is Seldom the Cause of Injury.

It is extremely important for a person to move as little as possible to reach the place of safety they have identified because most injuries occur when people try to move more than a short distance during the shaking. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl.

Look Around You Now, Before an Earthquake.

Identify safe places such as under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an interior wall in your home, office or school so that when the shaking starts you can respond quickly. An immediate response to move to the safe place can save lives. And that safe place should be within a few steps to avoid injury from flying debris.

What NOT To Do…

Person trying to find cover in a doorframe.
Get in a Doorway!

An early earthquake photo is a collapsed adobe home with the door frame as the only standing part. From this came our belief that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake. In modern houses and buildings, doorways are no safer, and they do not protect you from flying or falling objects. Get under a table instead!

Person being hit by debris while trying to leave a building
Run Outside!

Trying to run in an earthquake is dangerous, as the ground is moving and you can easily fall or be injured by debris or glass. Running outside is especially dangerous, as glass, bricks, or other building components may be falling. You are much safer to stay inside and get under a table.

Person cowering next to a cabinet while wall falls on them
Believe The
In recent years, an e-mail has circulated which recommends potentially life threatening actions, and the source has been discredited by leading experts. Please click here to learn more.
Additional Resources

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