Your past experience in earthquakes may give you a false sense of safety; you didn’t do anything, or you ran outside, yet you survived with no injuries. Or perhaps you got under your desk and others thought you overreacted. However, you likely have never experienced the kind of strong earthquake shaking that is possible with a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake: sudden and intense back and forth motions of several feet per second will cause the floor or the ground to jerk sideways out from under you, and every unsecured object around you could topple, fall, or become airborne, potentially causing serious injury. This is why you must learn to immediately protect yourself after the first jolt… don’t wait to see if the earthquake shaking will be strong!
In MOST situations, you will reduce your chance of injury if you:
- DROP down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquakes knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
- COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
- HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
Wherever you are, protect yourself! You may be in situation where you cannot find shelter beneath furniture (or low against a wall, with your arms covering your head and neck). It is important to think about what you will do to protect yourself wherever you are. What if you are driving, in a theater, in bed, at the beach, etc.?