Shaking up your quake safety knowledge

Chances are you’ll always remember where you were at 3:40 p.m. on Easter Sunday 2010.

The magnitude-7.2 earthquake, centered just over the border in Baja California, caught everyone’s attention in San Diego County (and Southern California) as lamps swayed, windows rattled and floors shook. The 45-second temblor frayed a few nerves as well because it seemed to get stronger as time passed.

Admit it: You were trying to recall what to do in the event of an earthquake.

Stand under a doorway, right?

Run outside as quickly as possible?

Look for a space where you can crawl into that might protect you from a falling beam?

You were not alone and, according to county and state earthquake safety experts, you were wrong.

“Drop, cover and hold on” is what these experts advise. Drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table and hold on until the shaking stops.

Why not get in a doorway? Experts say in modern houses and buildings, doorways are no safer, and they do not protect you from flying or falling objects.

Trying to run in an earthquake is dangerous, the experts say, since the ground is moving and you can easily fall or be injured by debris or glass. Running outside is especially dangerous, as glass, bricks or other building components may be falling.

As to the so-called “triangle of life” protection theory made popular via e-mails, earthquake safety experts note the source has been discredited through peer review.

A good guide about earthquake safety can be found at


If, during Sunday’s earthquake, you were thinking that your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance would cover any damage, you’re probably wrong about that as well.

“Most standard homeowners, mobile home owners, condominium and renters insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage,” is what the California Earthquake Authority has to say on the matter. “Similar to flood insurance, earthquake insurance usually must be purchased separately.” Visit

for more information.

Before the next significant quake rolls through the region, practice “drop, cover and hold” with members of your family (kids do it once a year at school) and consider making a call about that insurance.

You’d better get shakin’, because that next big quake is coming.