drop cover hold graphic for earthquake drill

Hello, Dusty Cat here with an update on the dramatic 7.5 that shook New Zealand this month. 

If you haven’t heard about our big adventure (where were you?) let me explain the importance of three words :- Drop, Cover, Hold after our scare this month (November 2016). It’s quite a story for Middle-Earth Monday……..

‘Drop Cover Hold’ or………

An Earthquake Drill with Dusty Cat’

If you live in an area not prone to quakes Drop, Cover, Hold might not be a familiar phrase. It is a simple, effective set of rules for everyone from school children to seniors. Simple advice to keep people safe, and preserve lives.

  • When the quake struck New Zealand it was midnight, Mum and Dad were shaken awake by a low rumbling growl that rapidly became a very VERY loud grumbly roar. Mum was on her feet as she was waking up, and her first thought was us cats and our safety, then ‘what the heck is going on’? 

She strode quickly (not easy when the floor is moving!) into the living room with the rumble still around her, and looked at me in astonishment. I had performed the perfect Drop, Cover, Hold, and was sheltering safely under the sturdy coffee table, not far from my snuggle spot in the living room. Mum called to Dad to come and see how well I had done. They were impressed!

Naturally, as I am a Kiwi cat, I know my earthquake drill!

Drop Cover Hold Earthquake Drill with Dusty the Cat

Why Drop, Cover Hold makes sense for safety

Remember, when you are executing this drill ‘for real’, with shaking buildings, unstable floors and unsteady roof fittings you won’t have time to think. You get down to keep your centre of gravity low so you won’t fall over, you get under safe cover so you don’t get hit by anything, and you grab hold of  your cover with your paws. 

Simple put it’s :-

  • DROP to the ground 
  • Get under COVER or cover your head and neck against falling debris
  • HOLD until the shaking stops.

In 2015 there was a worldwide event called ShakeOut.  It was meant to raise consciousness about safety in quake prone areas worldwide.  Weta Workshop and Thunderbirds were brought in to get the message home to youngsters and their families in a fun video. 

Take a look, because although it does refer to the event that took place in New Zealand, it’s a lot of fun and worth a minute of your time, you learn a lot!

We are OK here, and will keep up with friends in Twitter, Facebook and here on the blog.

We finish with a bit of quick fun. Dad’s cd collection is in custom shelves and, thankfully, they are tightly packed so they just moved out a couple of inches or about 5 cms. He has to push them all back – like this!

CD’s stirred but not shaken!
from Marjorie Dawson on Vimeo.

Dusty Cat
Drop Cover Hold Adviser

Dusty our senior and most recent blogger


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  1. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 14, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    We’re glad all of you (and the cds) are safe!


  2. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Charles Huss

    November 15, 2016 at 1:11 am

    That was terrible news to hear. Glad you are ok.


  3. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    The Daily Pip

    November 15, 2016 at 1:18 am

    I’m so glad you are all safe! We don’t live in area with quakes though my grandparents lived in CA and as a child I spent summers and holidays with them. I experienced a few quakes back then, but I don’t think any were quite as intense as what you had yesterday


  4. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Jeanne Foguth

    November 15, 2016 at 2:32 am

    I didn’t realize you were in that area. So glad that you are safe! We we lived in Central America, we frequently had small tremors – nothing compared to what you experienced!
    Hope you have a wonderful week with minimal aftershocks.


  5. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 15, 2016 at 5:08 am

    Glad everyone is safe, and that all those CDs didn’t have to be put back one by one!


  6. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 15, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Living in Los Angeles, we are VERY familiar with Drop, Cover, Hold! That was a horrible shaker you guys had – I’m glad your family came through safely.


  7. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Erin the Cat Princess

    November 15, 2016 at 7:23 am

    You guys have to live with this every day, like Summer and her mum. It is so good that there is something in place to get everyone through the worst of it. I dont know what we would do here in the UK if we had a big quake, it would be a disaster, but at least I now know what to do if it should! Glad you are all well! purrs ERin


  8. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Random Felines

    November 15, 2016 at 9:25 am

    that’s good advice we hope we never have to use….glad you are all safe and sending purrs to everyone in your area


  9. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 15, 2016 at 9:41 am

    That would sure be scary to us and we are sure glad you are okay.


  10. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    The Island Cats

    November 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

    How scary! We’re glad you guys are okay.


  11. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Susan Friedand-Smith

    November 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I live in earthquake country. Every October 20th at 10:20 a.m. there is a statewide “Great California Shakeout.” (10/20 at 10:20–get it?)

    I am not from earthquake country and although I’ve lived through a few minor ones, they freak me out. I have also heard about the “triangle of life” which asserts the safest place to be is near, not under a large object during a quake (desk, bed, sofa). That the collapsed building will crush the desk, but leave a void next to it.

    I’m not sure what’s best, but if the big one does finally hit here in SoCal, I’m going to be praying and ducking.


    • Avatar for Dusty Cat

      Talent Hounds

      November 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      I have heard the same- interested to hear what people think. My daughter lives in Chile.


  12. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 16, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Having grown up in Los Angeles, earthquake preparedness is at my very core. So glad you’re safe!


  13. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 16, 2016 at 5:36 am

    We are so glad you are okay!
    Have a super Tuesday…

    Noodle and crew


  14. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 16, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Great tips! Being that I am in earthquake country (in California), these are tips I definitely need to remember. I’m glad you all are safe!


  15. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 16, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    So scary! But great post. We live in AZ so don’t have earthquakes that we can feel at least.


  16. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Pawesome Cats

    November 16, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Having grown up in NZ, I remember the earthquake drills in primary school very well. Glad you are all safe.


  17. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 17, 2016 at 1:45 am

    What a scary time for you! I’m so glad to hear you are all safe. I’ve never experienced an earthquake, but thank you for the tips on what we should do in case I’m ever in that situation.


  18. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Hindy Pearson

    November 17, 2016 at 2:12 am

    It must have been scary, especially with animals to worry about. Glad to know you’re all safe, and your husband’s CD collection wasn’t affected!!


  19. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Susan Bewley

    November 17, 2016 at 4:06 am

    It must have been scary and I’m so glad everyone is okay. We rarely have earthquakes here even though we are on fault. The one time we did years ago our kitties knew it was coming before we did and get into position. I thought it was so fascinating even if if a little scary!


  20. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    da tabbies o trout towne

    November 17, 2016 at 5:05 am

    dusty….ya did way better N uz, coz we wooda been scared, freekin out, N a fraid ~~~~….glad everee one iz aye oh kay N we hope all yur nayborz & familee memburrz & palz iz two…letz hope nother quake doez knot happen for 83 bazillion yeerz ~~~~~ insert heartz


  21. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Amy Shojai

    November 17, 2016 at 5:10 am

    So glad y’all are safe! Just north of where I live, Oklahoma has been having quakes pretty regularly but nothing that big. Scary!


  22. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 17, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Fortunately, I’ve never experienced an earthquake – though likely there will be more in the near future thanks to our profound interference with the climate. I suspect my area will be in for some ice storms soon … just gave me an idea for a post. thanks.


  23. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 17, 2016 at 6:39 am

    So glad everyone is safe, and thank you for sharing some important tips!


  24. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Tonya Wilhelm

    November 17, 2016 at 6:58 am

    So scary. I am so glad everyone is ok. Great tips and reminders. It’s been awhile (school) since I’ve thought about it.


  25. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Ruth Epstein

    November 17, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Phew thank goodness you are all safe, I have practiced here in my place as we live in San Francisco and want to be ready, Layla has her baggie next to the door too, thanks for the reminder though


  26. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Beth Patterson

    November 17, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    That must have been quite scary! I am glad that Dusty has good instincts to staying safe in earthquakes. I’ve heard that we should expect earthquakes in areas that don’t normally have them due to fracking.


  27. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    that must have been scary! glad everyone is ok! We practice this. It’s a game we play – easier with a dog? Ottawa has yet to have “the big one” but it is built on THREE fault lines so it will happen one day.


  28. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Talent Hounds

    November 17, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    I have earthquake alerts and major PTSD from the huge one in Chile a few years ago where we nearly lost my daughter. I HATE them as I like control. I am so glad you and all my pals in NZ are OK (one friend had major damage at her vineyard). So glad the cats did not run away- I had one friend that happened to. I like the simple memorable phrase and actions – my instinct is doorways and bathrooms and under tables but I also heard about the triangle theory???


  29. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Rebecca at MattieDog

    November 17, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    We are so glad that you all are all okay – and that all of your good practice came in at the right time! We here in Seattle have earthquake drills – so we’re familiar with drop, cover hold! But you do have us thinking of making sure we have a good practice that includes our pups! Thank you!


  30. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Sweet Purrfections

    November 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    So glad all of you are safe. Believe it or not, we are on a fault line in SC. We had an earthquake a couple of years ago where we felt the house “rumble” beneath us.


  31. Avatar for Dusty Cat


    November 17, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    That would be so scary! We had a small one here once, but thankfully we are not in an area prone to them. So glad you are okay! I’m pinning this, too!


  32. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Carol Bryant

    November 17, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Yowza I am glad you are all okay. Here in our part of Pennsylvania in the states, we experienced a few years ago…get ready for it: An earthquake (minor but never happens here) and within the same month and hurricane and evacuation due to flooding. Craziness.


  33. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    christy caplan

    November 17, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    First – I’m really glad you’re ok. This is really scary – I’m watching the video right now. I lived in San Francisco for awhile and we were always thinking about earthquakes and what we’d do — and we got some tremors. It was really scary. It’s so good to share disaster preparedness tips like this. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way.


  34. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Tenacious Little Terrier

    November 17, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    I’m glad you’re all OK! We currently live in earthquake country but haven’t had any yet.


  35. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Paul Kirhagis

    November 18, 2016 at 1:30 am

    wow, so glad you came out unscathed. I can’t imagine what an earthquake is really like!


  36. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Cathy Armato

    November 18, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Oh my goodness, I did hear something about the earthquake but not that much coverage. I’m so glad you are ok, it looks like you just bounced right back with no damage! Amazing. These are great videos, the kids must love that first one it’s Fun to watch. Genius method your husband used to push those CDs back in place. Now all you have to do is replace the book with a feather duster & you’ve got a hubby that cleans, BOL!!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them


  37. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Layla Morgan Wilde

    November 18, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Well done Dusty! I’m so relieved everyone survived but still, what a scary ordeal. Being prepared is good but you never really get used to it. In NY, we have a fault line but never feel more than a tremor.


  38. Avatar for Dusty Cat

    Malaika Fernandes

    November 29, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Well done Dusty i am so relieved to know that you and your folks are doing okay. This was a very informative post didnt know about the drill as we thankfully dont experience too many quakes in India


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