If you're indoors when an earthquake starts:
- “DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON.” If you are not near a strong table or desk, drop to the floor against an interior wall and cover your head and neckwith your arms.
- Avoid windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances and cabinets filled with heavy objects.
- Do not run out of the building during strong earthquakes.
- If you are downtown, it is safer to remain inside a building after an earthquake unless there is a fire or gas leak. There are few areas downtown that are far enough from glass or other falling debris to be considered safe refuge sites. Glass from high-rise buildings does not always fall straight down; it can catch a wind current and travel great distances.
- If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head with a pillow.
- Do not use elevators.
- If you use a wheelchair, lock the wheels and cover your head.
If you're outdoors when an earthquake starts:
- Move to a clear area if you can safely walk. Avoid power lines, buildings and trees.
- If you’re driving, pull to the side of the road and stop. Avoid stopping under overhead hazards
- If you are on the beach, move to higher ground. Earthquake can cause tsunamis.
Once the earthquake stops:
- Check the people around you for injuries; provide first aid. Don't move seriously injured persons unless in immediate danger.
- Check around you for dangerous conditions, such as fires, downed power lines and structure damage.
- If you have fire extinguishers, put out small fires immediately.
- Turn off the gas if you smell gas.
- If you have a home phone line, check to be sure it has not shaken off the hook and is tying up a line.
- Inspect your home for damage.
If you are trapped in debris:
- Move as little as possible so that you don’t kick up dust. Cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort.
A local earthquake may generate tsunami waves that can reach shore in minutes. If you are on the beach or other low-lying area close to the ocean or bay, immediately evacuate by getting to higher ground if:
- Officials issue a tsunami warning and order evacuations;
- You hear the Outdoor Warning System;
- The earth shakes so much that you can’t stand;
- Shaking lasts longer than 20 seconds, and/or;
- You notice water receding from the shoreline.
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