Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

When an earthquake hits, do you know the drill?

by A Martínez and Monica Bushman | Take Two®

113050 full

Thursday is the day for the "Great California ShakeOut," the annual, state-wide earthquake drill. 

Most of us now know the basic drill: "Drop, Cover, and Hold On." There's also the warning not to run or go outside. But what if you already are outside when a quake hits? What if you're asleep in bed? In a car? Or in a store? 

Margaret Vinci, manager of the Office of Earthquake Programs at Caltech, says "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" still applies, but there are some more tips to keep in mind that are specific to different locations where you might find yourself when a quake hits:

In a grocery or clothing store?

Get underneath a shopping cart if you can. It will provide some protection from falling objects. Getting inside clothing racks can also give you some protection.

In a big warehouse store like Costco or Home Depot?

If you're in the aisles, take cover inside the bottom level of the racks. 

In a parking lot?

If you're in an open areas like a parking lot, drop immediately, crawl into a ball to protect your inner organs, and then put your hand over your head and your hand over your neck. The least amount of movement you make when the earth starts to shake, the safer you're going to be. 

Outside of a building?

The facade of the building can come crumbling down, so you don't want to be near the front of the building. You want to be away from glass too, if possible. Also look out for electrical wires that can fall. Get next to a retaining wall or under a park bench if you can.

In bed?

Stay in bed, pull the covers over your head to protect you from glass, and put a pillow over your bed to protect you from falling objects. Don't get out of bed or get under your bed. If you're next to your bed or under it, you're at risk of getting crushed by your bed.

In a car?

If you're driving, you'll feel like your tires are going flat and you'll start to see things sway. Pull over to the side of the road, set your parking brake, lay down on the front seat. Avoid parking under overpasses or bridges, but don't go looking for the perfect place to stop. 

Other places that you DON'T want to be in an earthquake?

A lot of people think that stairwells are good places to go because they're sturdy parts of the building, but if you're in a stairwell, you can be thrown down the stairs. You don't want to be in a stairwell. You don't want to be running to the roof either, like they said in the movie "San Andreas." Unless you're being picked up by the Rock, don't head for the roof.

Looking for more tips? Click here.

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