An earthquake can be a terrifying experience, and it is important to know what to do in order to stay safe.
While it is impossible to predict when an earthquake will occur, there are several best practices that individuals, families, and communities can follow to minimize their risk and prepare for the event.
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind if you find yourself in an earthquake:
- Drop, cover, and hold on: The most important thing to do during an earthquake is to protect yourself from falling objects and debris. Drop to the ground, take cover under a sturdy table or desk, and hold on until the shaking stops. If there is no sturdy furniture nearby, try to cover your head and neck with your arms and seek shelter in an interior corner of the room.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops: Do not try to leave the building during the earthquake. Wait until the shaking stops before attempting to evacuate, as there may be aftershocks that could cause further damage.
- Stay away from windows and heavy furniture: If you are unable to take cover under a sturdy table or desk, make sure you stay away from windows and heavy furniture, which may fall and cause injury.
- Turn off gas and electricity: If you smell gas or notice a gas leak, turn off the gas supply immediately and evacuate the building. Likewise, if you see sparks or broken electrical wires, turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box.
- Move to an open area: If you are outside during an earthquake, move away from buildings, trees, and power lines to an open area. Stay there until the shaking stops.
- Follow instructions from local authorities: In the aftermath of an earthquake, it is important to follow instructions from local authorities and emergency services. They will provide information on evacuation procedures and any potential hazards in the area.
- Check for injuries and damage: After the earthquake, check yourself and others for injuries. If you or someone else is injured, seek medical attention immediately. Check for damage to your home or workplace, and evacuate if necessary.
If you are outside during an earthquake:
- Walking on a street know that:
- Asymmetric/unbalanced buildings are at higher risk.
- Go into a newer building to shelter-in-place
- Cover your head
- Stay away from glass
- 2. On a Train/Subway know that:
- Trains stop for an earthquake
- You may be asked to get out and walk
- Hold on tightly to the handrails
- Face your travel directions
- Cover your head
- Wait for instructions
- 3. At a Department Store know that:
- Areas with fewer pillars/walls are dangerous
- Cover your head
- Don’t rush toward the exit
- Take cover near a pillar/stairway
There are also some preventive measures we can take:
- Create an emergency kit
Before an earthquake occurs, it is important to create an emergency kit that includes essential supplies such as water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, flashlights, and batteries. This kit should be easily accessible and stored in a safe and secure location.
2. Secure your home
Many injuries and deaths in earthquakes are caused by falling objects or collapsing buildings. To minimize this risk, it is important to secure your home by installing latches on cabinets, securing heavy furniture to the walls, and securing large appliances such as refrigerators and water heaters. It is also important to ensure that your home is up to code and built to withstand earthquakes if you live in a high-risk area.
3. Practice drop, cover, and hold on
One of the most important things you can do during an earthquake is to practice drop, cover, and hold on. This means dropping to the ground, taking cover under a sturdy table or desk, and holding on until the shaking stops. This practice can help protect you from falling objects and can prevent injuries.
3. Stay informed
During an earthquake, it is important to stay informed about the situation. This can be done through the use of a battery-operated or hand-crank radio, which can provide updates on the earthquake and any potential aftershocks. It is also important to follow instructions from local authorities and emergency services.
4. Have a plan for after the earthquake
After an earthquake, it is important to have a plan for what to do next. It is important to have a plan for communication with family members and friends, as phone lines and internet service may be disrupted. So talk to your immediate and extended family members to avoid a panic situation.
To sum up, earthquakes can be a serious threat, but there are several practices that can help individuals, families, and communities prepare and minimize the risk. By creating an emergency kit, securing your home, practicing drop, cover, and hold on, staying informed, and having a plan for after the earthquake, you can increase your chances of staying safe and minimizing damage in the event of an earthquake.