Drop down or flee out? New official earthquake recommended instructions for schools and kindergartens in Israel

Carmit Rapaport, Isaac Ashkenazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The official earthquake protection instructions for schools and kindergartens in Israel have recently been updated from the traditional “drop, cover and hold on” approach to the “flee outside to an open space” approach. This paper aims to describe the decision-making process, discuss the dilemmas behind it and suggest new insights for challenging current instructions in other countries. Design/methodology/approach: The authors analyze human behavior patterns during earthquakes in general, and at schools in particular, while taking into consideration the environment (in terms of applying building codes and the level of earthquake risk in various zones), personal characteristics (age, gender and past experience) and earthquake characteristics (intensity and duration). Findings: Five aspects should be taken into consideration when changing current earthquake instructions: the general official earthquake protection instructions, the structure and construction of schools and kindergartens, common behavior during emergencies, warning systems and the need to establish standardized protection instructions and guidelines for every school and kindergarten in the country. Practical implications: Policymakers in other countries should critique current instructions to maximize citizens’ chances of survival and mitigate possible earthquake hazards, including by improving risk communication with the public. Originality/value: The paper describes a national decision-making process which questions current official earthquake instructions at schools and kindergartens, based on evidence gained from current construction conditions, human behavior analysis and other countries’ experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-64
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Best practice
  • Decision-making
  • Earthquakes
  • Human behavior
  • Risk management
  • School

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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