Earthquake Survival

Duck, Cover and Hold!

Whether in a home, a school classroom, a high-rise or other type of building, it is important to know proper protection during an earthquake. Practice what to do during an earthquake with family members so reaction is automatic when the shaking starts. If outdoors when the shaking starts, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines. If indoors, then follow these steps.

Duck Cover Hold


Duck or drop down to the floor.


Take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture. If that is not possible, seek cover against an interior wall and protect the head and neck with the arms. Avoid danger spots near windows, hanging objects, mirrors or tall furniture.


If cover is taken under a sturdy piece of furniture, hold on to it and be prepared to move with it. HOLD the position until the ground stops shaking, and it is safe to move.

Family Preparedness
  • Know the safe spots in each room (under sturdy tables, desks or against inside walls).
  • Conduct practice drills. Physically move every family member to safe locations.
  • Choose an out-of-area friend or relative whom separated family members can call after the quake to report their location and condition.
  • Learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) from the local Red Cross Chapter or other community organization.
  • Decide where the family will reunite if separated.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.

Excerpts from Illinois Emergency Management Agency