At first indication of ground shaking: DROP COVER HOLD

  • Stay where you are.
  • Protect yourself: Drop to the floor. Cover yourself under or next to any available furniture, as possible.  Hold on to your shelter.
  • Be aware of items that might fall. Move away from windows and heavy objects.
  • Don’t enter or exit a building during shaking due to danger from falling debris.

Follow Guidelines Depending on your Situation


  • Place your head between or near your knees to protect your face from falling glass or objects.
  • Crouch under a table or desk away from the windows and hold on.
  • Physically locate yourself in the innermost corner of the room and away from windows.
  • Avoid bracing yourself in an inner doorway because of possible injury from the moving door.
  • Don’t use elevators during an earthquake.


  • Move far away from buildings to avoid being struck with broken glass or debris.
  • Stay away from utility poles, power lines, and trees.

In a Vehicle

  • Drive away from underpasses and overpasses. Avoid stopping close to buildings and utility wires as possible.
  • Stay in the vehicle until the shaking stops.
  • When shaking stops, proceed cautiously. Avoid bridges and elevated structures.

In a Classroom or Laboratory

  • Turn off gas burners. Extinguish open flames. Beware of hazardous chemicals.
  • Faculty members are to remain in control of their classes. Keep students inside until the shaking has stopped unless an identified hazard such as fire or toxic fumes exist.

In an Auditorium

  • Crouch in the aisles of the auditorium or large lecture hall. Cover your head and neck.
  • Stay calm, and urge others to stay calm.

After an Earthquake 

  • After a large earthquake, information and assistance will be provided at the Major Disaster Assembly Areas (refer to Disaster Assembly Locations section).
  • Recognize that the electricity and lights are probably out.
  • Don’t move a seriously injured person unless he or she is in danger of further injury.
  • Be prepared for additional, likely milder earthquake shocks as they may cause additional damage.
  • Don’t use a telephone except for a true emergency.
  • Tune the radio to KGMI 790 AM or other local stations broadcasting emergency information.
  • Check for fire and fire hazards. Don’t use candles around natural gas breaks.
  • Report gas, water, and sewer breaks to Facilities Dev & Operations (360) 650-3420 or University Police (360) 650-3911.
  • Don’t use any elevator unless it has been checked.
  • Wear shoes to avoid injury from broken glass.
  • Don’t eat or drink from open containers because they may contain broken glass.
  • Don’t drink from taps unless you have been told the lines are safe.
  • Don’t flush toilets unless Facilities Dev & Operations or University Police has told you that sewage lines are intact.
  • Watch for downed power lines.
  • University Police and the University Emergency Response Team will direct response to an earthquake.
  • Keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles. Do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency.