It’s easy to panic during the chaos of an earthquake. Focusing on emergency preparedness planning before the tremors start can avoid damage and injury. A little earthquake preparedness can go a long way.
For those living on fault lines, it’s essential to have regular earthquake drills, so responses during an actual earthquake become automatic. Being aware of earthquake safety is especially important because many quakes last only seconds.
Family members should be mindful of what to do, where the safe places are in a room (for example, along interior walls or under a sturdy desk or table), and what areas to avoid, such as windows or walls with objects hung on them. Families should also have a plan for reuniting after a disaster.
Scientists have not yet really determined a way to predict an earthquake. That is why, when a strong earthquake strikes, a lot of people gets injured, or even killed, and properties gets damaged. The only thing we can do, if we live in an area near fault lines, is to be prepared everyday for such eventualities.
Earthquake Preparedness and Safety Tips:
Before an earthquake is also an excellent time to stock up on emergency supplies. An earthquake emergency kit should contain bottled water, candles, flashlights with batteries, a battery-operated radio, non-perishable food (including food for family pets and a manual can opener), and a basic first-aid kit.
You will never know what will happen after a quake, thus, you should always have an emergency kit for everyone in your household. Each kit must contain at least one gallon of water, food supply for at least three days (you should select non-perishable food), and a first aid kit.
You should ensure that you regularly change the food and water in your emergency kit. The food and water in your kit will be of little use if they are already not fit to eat or drink. Instead of saving your life, such might even exacerbate your situation.
Know where the Mains are
Earthquakess might cause fire from gas leaks and electricity. Thus, it is important that you know where the main switches of your utilities are so that you can turn them off when needed.
Other ways to prepare a home for an earthquake:
- Ensure that heave appliances and furniture are anchored to the ground
- Heavy items like mirrors or pictures should not be hung on walls over couches, beds, or chairs
- Heavy objects should be stored on lower shelves, and flammable products should be kept latched in cabinets on bottom shelves
What To Do During An Earthquake
This is a big part of Earthquake Preparedness: knowing what to do when it is happening. Those who are indoors during an earthquake should remain inside, and move to somewhere safe in the home.
The first thing you and your family should do is to stay away from objects that might fall off. Stay away from book cases, cabinets, and hanging objects, such as chandeliers, or ceiling fan.
During an earthquake, it is wiser that you stay put, particularly under sturdy tables or door frames. Do not run around or even attempt to get out of the house. There are more dangerous things outside your house that could injure you, such as lampposts and cars.
Those standing against a wall should protect their heads with their arms and hands, while those taking cover under a sturdy table should grab hold of it so they can move with it.
Those who are outdoors during an earthquake should move to an open space, out of the path of potential falling objects, and away from trees, power lines, and buildings.
Make sure that the emergency kit that you prepared is easily accessible. If possible, place it in a location where you and your family will run into during a quake.
Stay away from the kitchen. One of the most dangerous places in the house during an earthquake is the kitchen because there are many pots and pans hanging around and drawers full of knives and cutlery. Furthermore, there is a danger of a gas leak in the kitchen that might cause fire.
If you are outside
Those outdoors should remain in the open space until the shaking stops. Those who are driving when an earthquake starts should pull over and remain in their cars. Drivers should avoid stopping on overpasses, under bridges or underpasses, or by power lines and large trees.
What To Do After An Earthquake
The first thing to do after an earthquake is to assist anyone who may have been injured in the quake. Once injuries have been assessed, the next step is to check the building for earthquake damage. If the building seems to be damaged, residents should leave quickly and carefully, as the building may need to be inspected by professionals.
Do not attempt to light a match or a candle immediately after the quake; you are not sure if there are gas leaks. Lighting up a match might ignite a fire, so be very careful. If you can, shut off the main gas valve if you smell gas.
If a gas leak is suspected, the area must be evacuated immediately, and the fire department and gas company notified. If the power is out, large appliances should be unplugged to avoid damage from a power surge when the electricity is turned back on.
You should also call the gas company once you are away from the gas leak. Do not try to call, especially using your mobile phone, near gas leaks.
If sparks or broken wires can be seen, or if burnt insulation is smelled, the power should be turned off at the source. If turning off the circuit breakers or fuse box means stepping in water, an electrician should be consulted before proceeding further.
There will sure be aftershocks after an earthquake, so do not let your guard down even if your house is intact and all the members of your family are well. Be sure to check the news for information about the quake and other important updates.
Can you think of anything we missed? Let us know!