When looking at websites about earthquake preparedness, I found multiple references to a “Rabbits in the Hole” story to use with preschoolers for earthquake drills. I couldn’t find an official version of the story, so I wrote a little book of my own, aimed at the preschool or kindergarten age child.* It tells the story of a bunny school where the teacher tells the bunnies how to stay safe if the ground shakes. It is intended to teach essential skills in a simple, manageable way, without creating fear.
You can download and print a copy of the story for schools or childcare settings here: rabbits-in-a-hole-earthquake-drill. Here is a version for parents to read at home: rabbits-in-the-hole-for-parents
For adult reference, here are current recommendations (source) on what to do indoors:
- DROP down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquakes knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
- COVER your head and neck (and entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk.
- If there is no shelter nearby, crawl away from windows and things that could fall on you, covering your head and neck with your arms and hands.
- HOLD ON to your shelter (or continue covering your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
What to do outdoors: Move no more than a few steps, away from trees, buildings and power lines. Then drop and cover.
If you are driving: pull over, stay in your car with your seat-belt buckled (and your child buckled in their car seat) until the shaking stops.
What NOT to do:
- Do NOT stand in doorways. In modern buildings, the doorways are no stronger than other parts of the house. You are safer under a table.
- Do NOT try to run outside or run around inside the building. Although it is safer to be near an interior wall, away from windows, it’s not a big enough benefit to risk running to another room during an earthquake. It’s better to drop, crawl a few feet to the safest space, cover, and hold.
- If in bed, stay there – put a pillow over your head for protection.
* Note: This book is for children age 2 – 6. If you have a baby or young toddler, we can’t rely on them to follow instructions. In the case of an earthquake, it’s the adults’ job to keep them safe. Pick up the child in your arms, tight against your chest as you drop and find cover for both of you. If possible, cover the child’s body with your own. (source)
There’s a lot more information on earthquakes at the Earthquake Country website.
You may also be interested in my posts on:
- teaching child safety to toddlers and preschoolers,
- talking to children about scary topics
- carseats is your child ready to move to the next level?
- a collection of resources for parent educators.