Getting a Feel For It
These videos will help you understand why you should Drop, Cover, and Hold On at the first sign of shaking. When you feel the initial jolt or swaying motion, move instantly to get down and find cover, before the more violent shaking begins.
The other lesson here is that you need to secure large furniture and fixtures in your home to protect your family from moving and toppling debris.
University of California Earthquake Test: Office/Dining Room
This is a test from the University of California, using ground motion recorded during the 1994 Northridge earthquake (15 seconds of shaking). It shows how quickly furniture can begin to fall.
University of California Test: Bedroom
From the same UC test, showing how important it is to remove shelves and hanging items from above beds.
Japanese Safety Agency Test: Office and Home
This video from Japan shows the effects of a major earthquake (60 seconds of shaking) in the office and home. It shows how quickly rooms with unsecured furniture can become chaotic and deadly spaces. Watch the whole thing to include office scenes, or see the residential excerpts below.
Japanese Test: Living Room
Tall furniture falls, and the televisions get thrown around.
Japanese Test: Bedroom
You know no good will come of that armoire poised above the sleeping area!
Japanese Test: Kitchen
The refrigerator dances around, to no good effect.
These videos are sobering, but there’s good news here! You can, in fact, increase the safety of your home by securing furniture and appliances with straps and other devices. There’s work involved, certainly, but it is possible to make your home safer. See this FEMA booklet for a list of steps to consider (on page 4), and other good advice.