Info graphic about what to do in different environments when shaking start

Where Will You Be When the Shaking Starts?

What to Do When You Can't Drop, Cover and Hold

Drop, cover and hold

Drop, cover and hold is the recommended means of self-protection if you are indoors when an earthquake starts. It’s good advice, and you should commit it to memory. Earthquake drills are easy to do, and will help you and your loved ones (especially children) commit the actions to muscle memory.

But what if, when the ground starts shaking, you aren’t at a place where there is something to duck under?

If you are in your car:

If you are driving when the ground starts to roil, pull over, stop and set the parking brake. Do NOT exit the vehicle until the shaking stops. As best you can, avoid parking near overpasses, bridges, power lines, and light poles.

If you are in bed:

If you can safely crawl under your bed, do so. If not, turn onto your stomach so you are lying face down, and cover your head and neck with your pillow. Hold onto the bedposts, if available, with both hands. Do NOT leave the bed until the shaking stops. When you do get up, put on sturdy shoes (not slippers) before getting up. Stepping on broken glass is one of the most common post-earthquake injuries, and will make evacuation extremely difficult.

If you are indoors…

…but there is no solid surface to hide under, crawl and crouch next to an INTERIOR wall — one with no windows or hanging mirrors overhead. STAY PUT until the shaking stops. Note: one of the most dangerous places to be in an earthquake is near an EXTERIOR wall.

If you are in a wheelchair:

If possible, get next to an INTERIOR wall, then stop and set the brake to lock the wheels. Bend forward and cover your neck and head with your arms or a pillow if there is one nearby. Stay put until the shaking stops.

If you are in a store:

Drop to the floor, if possible, near a shopping cart or under a clothes rack. Cover your head and neck, and hold on. Stay put until the shaking stops.

If you are near a shoreline:

Drop to your knees and stay put until the shaking reduces to a level that allows you to stand safely. Walk quickly to high ground/inland. The danger of a tsunami is real.

If you are in a high-rise:

Drop, cover and hold until the shaking stops. If you need to evacuate the building, be sure to use the stairs and NOT an elevator.

Remember, no one knows when the next earthquake will strike or where we will be when it does. Imagining the above scenarios ahead of time may help you know what to do — it may even save your life!

If you want more tips, visit to request a free, 20-minute phone consultation.