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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Earthquake Readiness Tips

Another strong earthquake happened and it made think what can one do during an earthquake.  Panic usually sets in when you do not know what to do. Drills could help but a lot of people do not take it too seriously. After what happened, I wanted to know more about being prepared before the earthquake and being able to do the right thing during and after an earthquake.

Here are some helpful tips that I found in the internet:

Before Earthquakes

  1. Have an emergency kit. It is useful during earthquakes as well as typhoons and other natural calamities. Your kit must have food, medicine, water, flashlight, batteries, battery powered AM Radio or a gadget with AM Radio and a first aid kit.  Buy a fire extinguisher if possible. Put you kits in a safe place and let everyone know where to get it.
  2. Avoid putting jars, bottles, and heavy or breakable materials overhead especially along your normal exit path. These items could fall and hit you during earthquakes.
  3. Repair cracks and other structural defects in your house or buildings. Small cracks could open up during tremors leading to bigger damage.
  4. Secure flammable materials. Fires usually follow after earthquakes if flammable materials are not properly secured.
  5. Hold earthquake drills and take it seriously. Drop, cover, hold, and identify safe places to stay.  Know the earthquake drill in your school, and office. Make one for your home. Make a family earthquake preparedness plan.
  6. Know the emergency numbers in your place.
  7. Put your important documents in a safe place.  Documents like passports, insurance, bank passbooks etc.
During Earthquakes

When Indoors
  1. Drop to the ground. Take cover under a table, desk or anything sturdy.  Hold on to something stable until the shaking stops. If you can't find anything to cover yourself, brace and cover your head with your arms and stay at the corner of a structure or somewhere with ample support.  The key is to find a place where there are no falling objects or find a place where you are protected from these falling objects or debris.
  2. Stay away from breakable materials like windows, glass, bottles, and TV screens. They could break and it could cause injuries.
  3. If you are in crowded building, do not panic join the frenzy of the people trying to get out of the building.  Many deaths are caused by stampede during the rush for the exits.
  4. Never use the elevator. Just imagine being stuck there and the big probability that power will be cut off during strong tremors.
  5. As much as possible secure your cellphones and wallets so that you can contact important people after the earthquake and also be able to buy some thing if necessary. Never forget to bring those items when exiting your house or building.
When Outdoors
  1. Stay there and do not go back inside a building.  Find an open space away from buildings, lampposts, electric wires, or walls to avoid potential harm.
  2. Wait until the shaking stop before deciding next what to do.
When Driving
  1. Slow down and find a good place to stop.  Avoid stopping suddenly because you might cause an accident. Avoid stopping in bridges, flyovers, or near electric posts or tall buildings.
  2. When the shaking stops, proceed to your destination with caution and be wary of panicking pedestrians, broken items in the street, and other obstructions. Be watchful of your speed and be aware of possible traffic light outages.
When Trapped under Debris
  1. Do not light a match. There might be leaking gas or flammable objects nearby that could a start a fatal fire.
  2. Find something to cover your mouth. Dust inhalation should be your first concern.  Do not move around too much or kick indiscriminately because it will move the dust to the limited air that you breathe. 
  3. Find a pipe or something that make a sound so that the rescuers can locate you.  Shout only at the last resort like when you can hear the searchers because shouting exposes you to dust inhalation. 
After Earthquakes
  1. Watch out for expected aftershocks. Aftershocks are very common and it increases the initial damage caused by the initial tremor.  Do not move until you are that it is already safe.
  2. Before going back to your house, you have to check for initial damage. If the house or building has visible damage in its structure, you should avoid going inside unless it is necessary.
  3. Check for injured or trapped persons.  Apply immediately first aid to injured people. Call for help if someone is seriously injured and avoid moving a severely injured person.
  4. Check for fires and extinguish it ASAP to avoid more damage and injuries.
  5. Turn on your radio to check on the latest news. Listen to possible Tsunami alerts, fires, and get info on damaged roads and buildings.  Announcements on classes and work stoppages are normally broadcasted over the radio.
  6. Clean up spilled liquids.
  7. Anticipate possible power outages and prepare your emergency kits.
  8. Inspect utilities. Check for sparks, leaks, and other issues.
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