Earthquakes, a testament to our planet's dynamic geological activity, pose a significant threat to life and infrastructure.
As a seasoned practitioner in the field of disaster management, I've garnered substantial knowledge and experience, which I'd like to share in this article. Herein, I provide technical guidance on actions to undertake (do's) and those to avoid (don'ts) during an earthquake.
Before an Earthquake: Preparation is Key
- Construct or retrofit buildings to withstand seismic forces. Comply with local seismic building codes to enhance structural integrity (source).
- Prepare an emergency kit. This should contain necessities such as water, food, medications, and essential documents (source).
- Develop a family emergency plan. Include evacuation routes and safe spots in your home, such as under sturdy furniture or against an interior wall.
- Ignore minor tremors. These could be forewarnings of a larger seismic event.
- Place heavy objects on high shelves. They can fall and cause injury during a quake.
During an Earthquake: Protect and Survive
- Adopt the 'Drop, Cover, and Hold On' protocol. Drop to your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms. If possible, move to a safer location, and hold on until the shaking stops (source).
- Stay indoors if you are inside. Most injuries during earthquakes occur when people attempt to move in or out of buildings.
- Run outside or to other rooms during shaking. Earthquake-induced structural failures often occur at entrances and exits.
- Stand in doorways. Contrary to popular belief, doorways are not the safest place to be during an earthquake.
After an Earthquake: Proceed with Caution
- Check for injuries and provide first aid. Be aware that serious injuries might not be immediately visible.
- Expect aftershocks. These smaller tremors can occur minutes, days, or even months after the main quake.
- Inspect your home for damage. Look for hazards such as gas leaks, electrical shorts, and structural damage.
- Enter damaged buildings. Additional tremors could cause further structural failure.
- Use elevators. They may be damaged and could trap occupants.
Understanding and applying these do's and don'ts can dramatically increase survival chances during an earthquake. However, each situation is unique, and individual judgment is crucial for optimal decision-making. Always remember, when it comes to natural disasters, knowledge and preparation can be the key to survival.
As always, stay informed and stay prepared
I am an independent safety and survival expert and consultant. I have over 15+ years of experience working with corporations and individuals to help identify, remediate and prepare for threats and and disasters. I help clients understand risks and blog about my thoughts and techniques at DisasterShelters.net