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Drop, Cover and Hold is the right action to take in an earthquake.

We encourage you to do the same: Drop, Cover and Hold, as part of the world’s biggest earthquake drill.

Drop, cover, hold

It stops you being knocked over, makes you a smaller target for falling and flying objects and protects your head, neck and vital organs.

  • DROP down on your hands and knees. This protects you from falling but lets you move if you need to.
  • COVER your head and neck (or your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk (if it is within a few steps of you). If there is no shelter nearby, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  • HOLD on to your shelter (or your position to protect your head and neck) until the shaking stops. If the shaking shifts your shelter around, move with it.

If you are unable to drop, brace yourself in a chair or wheelchair (lock your wheels) and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. If you are unable to get out of bed, cover your head and neck with a pillow.

Many people are injured while trying to move DURING the shaking. It is safer to Drop, Cover, and Hold until the shaking is over.


Tsunami can arrive in minutes 

The tragic earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia is a reminder for all of us of the importance of knowing how to stay safe in the event of a tsunami. Even if you don’t live near the beach, chances are you will be visiting our coastal areas over the summer.

Our national ShakeOut earthquake drill and tsunami hikoi is a timely opportunity to practice tsunami evacuation. There is still time to register at

You’ll need to self-evacuate

While the Long or Strong, Get Gone advice is vital for felt earthquakes, not all tsunami will be preceded by a felt earthquake – including some that originate close to New Zealand. For example, tsunami can be caused by volcanic eruptions or landslides, and recent research from GNS Science has shown that earthquakes generated in the Kermadec Trench may not be felt strongly, and could generate a tsunami that may arrive in as little as an hour. This means you may be asked to evacuate due to an imminent tsunami risk from an earthquake that may not have been widely felt.

Have a plan to evacuate

Links to evacuation maps for Waikato and Bay of Plenty coastal areas are available on the websites below

If you’re near the coast and experience any of the following:

  • Feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up, or a weak rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • See a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • Hear loud and unusual noises from the sea

Don’t wait for an official warning; move immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones, or as far inland as possible.

Related Links: