When it comes to where is the safest place to be during an earthquake, I am almost sure that you will have heard at some point about standing in a doorway. That is bad advice and it could end up getting you killed. It may have been true many years ago but not so much in modern houses. In modern houses, the doorway is no sturdier than any other part of the home.
The correct method to use is the Drop, Cover, and Hold on method for protection during an earthquake. What this means is that you:
- DROP – drop down on to your hands and knees. This will stop you from being knocked down, protects vital organs, and will help you to crawl to safety.
- COVER – cover yourself with the sturdiest object available. If possible try to get under a strong table. If this is not possible then you should get next to an interior wall with no windows.
- HOLD ON – hold on to your shelter if you have one. If you have no shelter, hold on to your neck and head with both arms and hands.
The only time that you should do anything other than the Drop, Cover, and Hold On rule is if you are in a country with unengineered construction, and if you are on the ground floor of an unreinforced mud-brick building, with a heavy ceiling. If this is the case, you should immediately head outside to an open space.
If You Are Outside During an Earthquake
You need to head straight for an open space that is clear of any large buildings, structures, trees, and vehicles. If you are in a tsunami zone, especially a beach or harbor, during a major earthquake, move to higher ground as soon as the shaking stops.
Most injuries occur while the victims were moving during an earthquake or running. Inside the building you have protection. Remember, every step that you take inside the building increases your odds of becoming injured. Outside you become very vulnerable to falling plate glass windows, bricks and concrete with no cover or protection. People will panic and run, but you shouldn’t. You have to protect yourself from the human stampede.