Worldwide, more than one million earthquakes occur each year or an average of two a minute. Preparing ahead is now a must.
An earthquake is a term used to describe both a sudden slip or a fault that results in ground shaking and radiated seismic energy caused by the slip, or by volcanic or magmatic activity, or other sudden stress changes in the earth.
Just like the world has witnessed in recent times, a major earthquake in an urban area is one of the worst natural disasters that can occur. The U.S. Geology Department report indicates that between 1970-2017 alone, earthquakes have been responsible for over a million deaths around the world – from Armenia to China, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Iran, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, and Turkey.
So, what do you do before, during, and after an earthquake?
What to Do Before an Earthquake?
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries at home.
- Learn first aid.
- Learn how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity.
- Make up a plan of where to meet your family after an earthquake.
- Don’t leave heavy objects on shelves (they’ll fall during a quake).
- Anchor heavy furniture, cupboards, and appliances to the walls or floor.
- Learn the earthquake plan at your school or workplace.
What to Do When there’s an Earthquake?
- If you are INDOORS — STAY THERE! Get under a desk or table and hang on to it (Drop, Cover, and Hold on!), or move into a hallway or against an inside wall.
STAY CLEAR of windows, fireplaces, and heavy furniture or appliances.
GET OUT of the kitchen, which is a dangerous place (things can fall on you).
DON’T run downstairs or rush outside while the building is shaking or while there is the danger of falling and hurting yourself or being hit by falling glass or debris.
- If you are OUTSIDE — get into the OPEN, away from buildings, power lines, chimneys, and anything else that might fall on you.
- If you are DRIVING — stop, but carefully. Move your car as far out of traffic as possible. DO NOT stop on or under a bridge or overpass or under trees, light posts, power lines, or signs. STAY INSIDE your car until the shaking stops. When you RESUME driving, watch for breaks in the pavement, fallen rocks, and bumps in the road as the bridge approaches.
- If you are in a MOUNTAINOUS AREA — watch out for falling rocks, landslides, trees, and other debris that could be loosened by quakes.
- If you are near the OCEAN – check out the safety rules in your country (It’s better you check it up right now than wait until it happens).
What to Do After an Earthquake?
- Check yourself and others for injuries. Provide first aid for anyone who needs it.
- Check water, gas, and electric lines for damage. If any are damaged, shut off the valves. Check for the smell of gas. If you smell it, open all the windows and doors, leave immediately, and report it to the authorities (use someone else’s phone).
- Turn on the radio. Don’t use the phone unless it’s an emergency.
- Be careful and look around for broken glass and debris. Wear boots or sturdy shoes to keep from cutting your feet.
- Stay away from damaged areas.
- If you’re at school or work, follow the emergency plan or the instructions of the person in charge.
- Expect aftershocks.
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