- Pick "safe places" in each room of your home. A safe place could be under a sturdy table or desk or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases, or tall furniture that could fall on you. The shorter the distance to move to safety, the less likely you will be injured. Injury statistics show that people moving as little as 10 feet during an earthquake's shaking are most likely to be injured. Also pick safe places, in your office, school and other buildings you are frequently in.
- Practice drop, cover, and hold-on in each safe place. Drop under a sturdy desk or table and hold on to one leg of the table or desk. Protect your eyes by keeping your head down. Practice these actions so that they become an automatic response. When an earthquake or other disaster occurs, many people hesitate, trying to remember what they are supposed to do. Responding quickly and automatically may help protect you from injury.
- Practice drop, cover, and hold-on at least twice a year. Frequent practice will help reinforce safe behavior.
- Wait in your safe place until the shaking stops, and then check to see if you are hurt. You will be better able to help others if you take care of yourself first, then check the people around you. Move carefully and watch out
for things that have fallen or broken, creating hazards. Be ready for additional earthquakes called aftershocks.
- Be on the lookout for fires. Fire is the most common earthquake-related hazard, due to broken gas lines, damaged electrical lines or appliances, and previously contained fires or sparks being released.
- If you must leave a building after the shaking stops, use the stairs, not the elevator. Earthquakes can cause fire alarms and fire sprinklers to go off.
- You will not be certain whether there is a real threat of fire. As a precaution, use the stairs.
- If you're outside in an earthquake, stay outside. Move away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines. Crouch down and cover your head. Many injuries occur within 10 feet of the entrance to buildings. Bricks, roofing, and other materials can fall from buildings, injuring persons nearby. Trees, streetlights, and power lines may also fall, causing damage or injury. [Consider sitting or lying on the ground to avoid a broken ankle or wrist if you should fall while crouching (especially if you are older and your bones are more fragile.]
- Inform guests, babysitters, and caregivers of your plan. Everyone in your home should know what to do if an earthquake occurs. Assure yourself that others will respond properly even if you are not at home during the earthquake.
- Get training. Take a first aid class from your local Red Cross chapter. Get training on how to use a fire extinguisher from your local fire department. Keep your training current. Training will help you to keep calm and
know what to do when an earthquake occurs.
- Discuss earthquakes with your family. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together. Discussing earthquakes ahead of time helps reduce fear and anxiety and lets everyone know how to respond.
- Talk with your insurance agent. Different areas have different requirements for earthquake protection. Study locations of active faults, and if you are at risk, consider purchasing earthquake insurance.
- If you are near a coastline, as soon as it is safe to do so, head for higher ground QUICKLY. This is also true for any large body of water. History shows those near the Mississippi River during the New Madrid earthquake of 1811-1812 saw a large devastating wave come up from the river.
There is also earthquake safety information called the Triangle of Life that went viral through email a while back. There is disagreement whether this information is correct. Read the comments about it at http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/triangle.asp and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_of_Life. Then read Doug Copp's story in the link right below this one. You have to decide, but Mr. Copp does present a strong argument for the typical corporate corruption routine, as to why his method is being black-balled.