Drop, Cover and Hold

My wife was on the phone when the earthquake hit. She was talking to a friend living in San Francisco, about 30 minutes north of our house. “Oh my God, earthquake,” my wife exclaimed into the phone. “An earthquake?” asked her friend. “Are you sure?”

The earthquake only lasted for a few seconds, just long enough for it to register with my wife and I that it was indeed an earthquake. It didn’t even last long enough for us to react. It was like a huge hand reached out of the sky and gave our house a quick, little shake. A few seconds later my wife’s friend in San Francisco exclaimed into the phone, “Oh my God, earthquake,” as it quickly rolled north from its epicenter.

In the split second the earthquake was shaking our house, I was thinking of training I give to employees at my workplace. In an earthquake, you should drop to the ground, take cover under something solid and hold on for the ride. If there isn’t something solid to take cover under, then crouch down along a wall and cover your head and neck with your arms. Try to avoid exterior walls, windows, mirrors, wall hangings and other objects that might break or fall over in an earthquake.

Not everyone agrees that this is the best technique for surviving an earthquake. Another recommendation is the “Triangle of Life.” However, most authoritative organizations such as the California Offices of Emergency Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey and the American Red Cross recommend drop, cover and hold as the best action to take during in an earthquake.

If you are ever on the phone with someone in the next neighborhood and they yell “earthquake” into the phone, don’t wait–drop, cover and hold.

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

After having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area or over 20 years, I can tell you theat earthquakes can be scary and surreal experiences. Always do what you can to be prepared.

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Bon L.
Bon L.4 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Ruth R.
Ruth R.5 years ago

read, sent, and saved

Sue H.
Sue H.5 years ago

Thanks for the reminder.

Veronica Goddard
Veronica G.5 years ago

here in Uk, we are blessed in that, as yet, we don't have to contend with earthquakes- just the odd tremour. It just struck me as so like a woman, me included, to carry on talking on the phone.
Good advice though, to drop, cover and hold.

Ellinor S.
Ellinor S.5 years ago

thank you

Heather B.
Past Member 5 years ago

Good advice. Thanks, Andrew.

cecily w.
cecily w.6 years ago

I have been through a couple earthquakes, and as the author says, they are very brief. Often so brief that you don't realize what is happening while it is happening. During that split second, of course, horrible things can happen. If you do anything at all, you are more likely to automatically duck and cover than you are to think about Triangle of Life analysis.