Earthquake! What do we do?

male under desk

We can be faced with various disasters, but I have found Earthquakes to be the disaster most feared, the disaster that most people are not prepared for.  With an Earthquake, we don’t know when the next one will happen, how it will impact our families or our communities.  There are so many unknowns, and that can be frightening.

Being prepared and knowing what action to take will help provide you with peace of mind.

Read on to find out what to do when facing an Earthquake so you and your family can take action!

Earthquakes – When the earth starts moving!

Most injuries in an earthquake happen when people do the wrong thing. Do you know what to do when the floor beneath your feet starts moving? If you’re like most people, human nature takes over, and your first instinct is to flee to safety and run outside of your building to safety.  What most people in Canada and the US don’t realize, that is NOT what you do!  You are putting yourself in greater danger.

When the ground is moving and shaking, that is when unsecured items in your home or workplace will become projectiles and shoot across the room, damaging whatever is in the way. Those heavy bookcases you always meant to secure topple to the ground throwing books and knickknacks everywhere, damaging whatever is nearby. If you are trying to flee to safety, you are putting yourself in greater danger.

Proper planning and knowing what to do when facing an Earthquake can make a significant difference.  Read on to find out how you can be better protected when faced with an Earthquake!


DROP, COVER & HOLD ON must become second nature to all of us living in areas that earthquakes can impact.  This is what will protect us in an earthquake. It’s a simple process to follow:

  1. Drop down and get underneath your desk or heavy table, protect your head and hold on until the shaking stops.
  2. Once the shaking has stopped, count to 60 and then check your surroundings and make sure nothing has fallen and shattered into a  million pieces that could injure you or your family.
  3. If the area is free and clear of debris and broken glass, then get out from your safe place and check on your family.  If needed, evacuate your home or building.

Protecting our Kids in an Earthquake

A challenge for parents is to resist the urge to run down the hall to check on the kids when facing an earthquake. As a parent, we will do whatever it takes to protect our kids from any danger, but it is critical that you first must Drop Cover, Hold On to protect yourself. Think of putting on your Oxygen Mask in an airplane so you can better help others; this is a similar situation.

If you are trying to run down the hallway to your kids as the earthquake is shaking your home,  what happens if you are knocked unconscious by falling debris? Who will be able to help your kids then?

Having said that, if your home is adequately prepared with heavy items secured correctly in place and your kid’s rooms and crib area is safe,Baby playing on floor your kids should not be injured by shooting debris. To not run down the hall to our kids is easier said than done – I fully understand.

Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to you!

For younger kids old enough to know what to do in an earthquake, have them practice to get under a desk or table and sing a song while safely under the table as the earthquake happens.  Pick your family’s Earthquake Song (ours was Happy Birthday), and this will be the song your kids sing when under a desk.  If you can hear them singing, this will give you peace of mind knowing they are safe and also helps keep their minds off what is happening.

Practice by yelling EARTHQUAKE, have them go to their safe spot in each room and then sing, and when an earthquake happens, they will know what to do.

No Table, No Desk  – What then?

I know you think, well, that’s all good, but what if I’m not near a heavy desk to shelter – then what would do I do?

You must plan some alternatives; if unable to get under a desk or table, go against an interior wall and drop cover and brace yourself against the wall covering your head.  Do not try to run into another room; you could find yourself in greater danger as you try to get there.

Extra Earthquake Tip: 

shoes under bed

Keep a pair of shoes upside down under your bed along with a flashlight.  This makes it easy for you to get out of bed, easily reach your shoes and prevent unnecessary injury to your feet.  There may be broken debris, and if the power is out, you may not be able to see it.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Go through each room in your home to determine what action you can take when facing an earthquake.  For me – I am hoping I am in bed.  I would stay there, put the pillow over my head, wait for the shaking to stop, count to 60 then determine my next move. Hopefully, it’s to roll over and go back to sleep!

Practice makes perfect, and we are talking about life safety.  I would encourage you and your family to practice what to do in an Earthquake.  Next time you are out and about, have a conversation about what you would do if there were an earthquake right now.    Thinking it through, identifying what action you would take will help you make a better decision when facing an Earthquake.

Until next time – Stay Safe and Be Prepared!