drop cover holdDrop, Cover & Hold is the correct thing to do.

Safe places in an earthquake

  • If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, drop, cover and hold. Stay indoors - you do not have to evacuate a building straight away unless it is showing obvious signs of distress.
  • If you are in bed stay there! Cover your head with your pillow to protect it from falling objects.
  • If you are at or near the beach, Drop, Cover and Hold.  
    If the earthquake is LONG or STRONG then GET GONE
    The only warning you will get for a tsunami caused by a local earthquake is the earthquake itself
  • If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
  • If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, move no more than a few steps away from buildings, trees, street lights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold.

In modern New Zealand homes, doorways are no stronger than any other part of the structure - doors can swing and injure you.  Drop, Cover & Hold is the correct action.

If you can't Drop, Cover & Hold!

Some of us aren't as mobile as others for various reasons, and the thought of turning yourself into a turtle under a table is pretty laughable when you can't even get out of your chair without assistance, so what are you to do when all the advice says Drop, Cover and Hold, and you just can't?!

The purpose of those actions is to protect you from the most likely sources of injury - falling over, and being hit by falling objects, like toppling furniture, or your favourite vase that you got as a wedding present that was on top of the china cabinet.

Drop - getting to the ground in a controlled way so that you don't fall and break something. Whatever other way you can stop yourself from falling and hurting yourself is also equally valid. Bracing yourself against walls, doors, your walking frame, curling up into the foetal position in bed if you can, locking the wheels on the wheelchair. If you aren't going to fall down, you're good. Some earthquakes might just be too strong no matter what you do, but try to reduce your chance of falling as much as you can.

Cover - this is about protecting your head and chest as best as possible - that's where all the important bits that keep you living are, so protecting them is pretty important. You can't help anyone if you get knocked out cold! So cover yourself with whatever you can. Make yourself as small a target as possible. Hide under the duvet or a cushion, if you can't get under the furniture, or if nothing else, hide under your own arms. Every bit of extra protection helps!

Hold - Hold on to whatever you are braced against or hiding under, that shaking will be trying to shake your shelter too.

For those who have no options, whether our youngest babies or our eldest grandparents, the best thing to do is make the environment safer, so that there are fewer things that might fall on you or your loved ones. Secure bookshelves and cabinets to the walls with brackets, use the straps to keep the TV from falling over, or get it mounted on the wall. Put some bluetack under ornaments - it might not save them in the biggest shakes, but it'll stop that vase from taking a tumble in the smaller ones. Think about where the baby's crib or Grandpa's favourite chair is in relation to things that might fall.