Top 20 Things to do When an Earthquake Strikes
Earthquakes are possibly one of the most common and, sometimes, one of the most devastating of all natural disasters. They mostly strike without warning. There have been many high magnitude earthquakes lately, the most destructive ones being those that hit Haiti, Baja California and Chile. They left hundreds of people dead, thousands injured, and many more homeless. The property damage was estimated to be millions of dollars. Are there ways by which this devastation could be minimized?
Top 20 things to do when an earthquake strikes
You may not be able to control when or where an earthquake strikes, but you can be ready for it, especially if you live in a region that is prone to frequent tremors. There are some things that you should take care of to try and minimize damage during an earthquake.
General tips to follow when an earthquake strikes
- Be calm and do not panic. This could be the most important thing to keep in mind as panicking might make you irrational and cause you to hurt yourself or those around you in confusion.
- Have an evacuation plan in mind for you and your family as this will help you act quickly and avoid harm.
- Important documents should be stored in a fire-proof safe to avoid any damage to them during a disaster.
- Make a list of things that you would need while evacuating, like non-perishable food, torchlights, water, etc.
- Make sure that there are no leaky pipes carrying water or gas, or faulty electrical wires around the house that could cause or add to the damage.
If you are indoors:
- Anchor all heavy objects in the house to the wall or store them on lower shelves.
- Stay away from all glass objects as well as objects that may break or fall.
- Crouch under a sturdy table or bed and cover your head and face with a pillow or with your hands. You could also take shelter in a doorway if it is strong enough.
- Do not try to change your position or move out of the building unless you are absolutely sure that the tremors have stopped completely and there is no falling debris.
- Do not use the elevators as that may be risky, even after the earthquake.
If you are outdoors:
- Stay out if you are already outdoors. Once you find a safe open space, stay there till the tremors stop completely.
- Try to get to a open place, like a playground or a park.
- Stay away from buildings and other structures as they might fall and cause injury. Keep distance from wires and pipes. If they snap, they might cause serious injuries or even fatality.
If you are in a vehicle:
- Stop at the side of the road if you suspect a tremor. Do not stop immediately if you are on a freeway but gradually come to a stop at the side of the road, especially if there are other vehicles still moving.
- Do not halt near shops, buildings or other structures with windows that might break or fall and injure you.
- Do not start driving till you are sure that the tremors have stopped and it is safe to drive.
- Avoid bridges and other elevated structures after a quake as they might have been damaged and may pose a risk.
If you get stuck under debris (despite taking all these measures)
- Do not panic and stay calm.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth. It is advisable to stay still and not talk or shout as this might tire you out and cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
- Help rescuers find you by tapping on pipes or other metal objects.
If you can keep these simple pointers in mind, you will be ready in the face of a natural disaster. Even though you may not be able to control these calamities, you might be able to save yourself and your loved ones from injury or fatality. That would be a big step towards minimizing damage caused due to these natural calamities and feeling safe.