Earthquakes are one of nature’s most frightening natural phenomena. When an earthquake occurs, the ground will shake perceptively for a relatively short time, perhaps only for a few seconds or for as much as a minute in a great earthquake.
A. Precautions to Take During an Earthquake
- 1.Try to remain calm and reassure others.
- If you are in a high-rise office building, get under a desk. Do not run for exits, since stairways may be broken and jammed with people. Power for elevators may fail and stop operating. Seek safety where you are at the time of the incident and then leave calmly if evacuation is necessary.
- Do not be surprised if the electricity goes out or if elevator, fire, and burglar alarms start ringing, or if sprinkler systems go on. Expect to hear noise from breaking glass, cracks in walls, and falling objects.
- Do not be surprised if you feel more than one shock. After the first motion is felt, there may be a temporary decrease in the motion followed by another shock. This phenomenon is merely the arrival of different seismic waves from the same earthquake. Also, after-shocks may occur. These are separate quakes, which follow the main shock.
B. Precautions to Take After An Earthquake
When the shaking stops, there may be considerable damage and people may be injured. It is especially important that everyone remains calm and begins the task of taking care of one another. The first concern is for those who are hurt and the next concern is to prevent fires. After that, damage can be assessed and remedial measures begun.
- Remain calm and take time to assess your situation.
- Help anyone who is hurt and administer emergency first aid when necessary. Cover injured persons with blankets to keep them warm. Seek medical help for those who need it.
- Check for fires and fire hazards. Put out fires immediately if it is safe to do so.
- Check for damage to utilities and appliances. Shut off electricity if there is any chance of damage to wiring.
- Shut off water lines in your suite if breakage has occurred.
- Do not turn on electrical switches or appliances.
- Do not touch power lines, electric wiring, or objects in contact with them.
- Do not use the telephone except to call for help or to report serious emergencies (medical, fire, or criminal) or to perform some essential service. Jammed telephone lines interfere with emergency services and it is thoughtless to use the telephone for personal reasons or to satisfy curiosity. When the emergency is clearly over, contact relatives and friends so they will know you are safe.
- Clean up and warn others of any spilled materials that are dangerous.
- Listen to the radio for information about earthquake and disaster procedures.
- Be prepared to experience after-shocks. They often do additional damage to buildings weakened by the main shock.
- Use great caution when entering or moving about in a damaged building. Collapses can occur without much warning and there may be dangers from gas leaks, electric wiring, broken glass, etc.
There are no rules to eliminate all earthquake danger. However, damage and injury can be greatly reduced by following the simple rules outlined above.