The knack: How to survive an earthquake, by Dave Heywood and Viki Mason

"The first and most important thing is to remain calm. You'll be taken by surprise and you may only have a second in which to save your life. If you are in a house, stay indoors, away from all windows, and take cover in the strongest area - where the main walls are closest (often the hallway). Or get under a table or bed, or in a closet. Put something solid and strong between you and falling debris (which causes most injuries). If you're in a crowded store or high-rise, do not rush for the exits. Hundreds of people will have the same idea, and as people in crowds tend to panic more easily there's a risk of being trampled to death.

If you're outside, stay outside. Move away from buildings and areas that may have falling debris. But stay away from beaches and other waterfront areas; there could be a real danger of tidal waves. If you're in a moving car, stop, but not on or under bridges and overpasses, or near trees, streetlights or power poles and stay inside the vehicle. If you are trapped under debris, don't make any sudden moves. Signal for help by banging on something. Conserve your energy because it may take some time before help arrives.

Be prepared for aftershocks. Although most of these are smaller than the main tremor, some could be large enough to cause more damage, so don't go sightseeing. Remember, the first tremor may not be the main shock, the big one could still be coming." Interview by Fiona McClymont

Dave Heywood and Viki Mason's website,, offers training and equipment for disaster preparedness. All information comes from Viki Mason's book, `A Practical Guide to Survival'