Earthquakes are a common occurrence and being prepared for them is essential. Whether you live in an area prone to earthquakes or are just visiting it is important to know what to do when one strike. Here are 10 things you should do during an earthquake to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
How to Prepare for an Earthquake
Here are some things you can do before an earthquake:
- Create an emergency kit: Prepare an emergency kit that includes essential items such as water non-perishable food a first-aid kit flashlight extra batteries a portable radio and any necessary medication.
- Develop an emergency plan: Develop an emergency plan with your family or roommates that outlines what you will do during an earthquake. Identify safe spots in your home and agree on a meeting place outside of your home in case you need to evacuate.
- Secure your belongings: Secure loose items in your home such as bookcases cabinets and other furniture to prevent them from falling and causing injuries. Also, make sure to store flammable and hazardous materials properly.
- Know your surroundings: Identify the safest areas in each room of your home and the safest exit routes. Learn how to turn off gas electricity and water in your home and make sure everyone in your household knows how to do so.
- Stay informed: Stay informed about the earthquake risk in your area and monitor local news and alerts for information about potential earthquakes. Also, sign up for local emergency notifications to receive updates in case of an earthquake.
Remember being prepared is the key to staying safe during an earthquake.
What to Do During an Earthquake
#1. Drop Cover and Hold On
When an earthquake hits the first thing you should do is drop to the ground take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an interior wall and hold on until the shaking stops. This can protect you from falling debris and reduce your risk of injury.
#2. Stay Away from Windows
If you are inside a building during an earthquake stay away from windows mirrors and other glass objects that could shatter and cause injuries.
#3. Don’t Use Elevators
During an earthquake, elevators can become stuck or fall so it is important to take the stairs instead. If you are already in an elevator when the earthquake starts get out as soon as possible.
#4. Stay Indoors
If you are inside a building during an earthquake do not try to leave until the shaking has stopped. Trying to exit during an earthquake can put you at risk of falling debris and other hazards.
#5. Protect Your Head
If you can’t find cover during an earthquake protect your head and neck with your arms and hands. This can help prevent head injuries and other serious injuries.
#6. Stay Calm
It’s important to stay calm during an earthquake as panicking can make the situation worse. Take deep breaths and try to remain as still as possible until the shaking stops.
#7. Turn Off Gas and Electricity
If you smell gas or hear hissing sounds coming from your gas appliances turn off the gas immediately and evacuate the building. Similarly, turn off the electricity if you notice any damage to the electrical wiring.
#8. Move Away from Buildings Trees and Power Lines
If you are outside during an earthquake move away from buildings trees and power lines. These objects can fall and cause serious injuries.
#9. Move to an Open Area
If you’re outdoors move away from buildings, trees, and power lines and find an open area to wait out the earthquake.
#10. Use Caution When Driving
Earthquakes can cause road damage, so use caution when driving and avoid unnecessary travel.
What to Do After Earthquake
After an earthquake, it’s important to stay alert and take immediate action to protect yourself and others. Here are some steps you can take:
- Check for injuries: Check yourself and those around you for injuries. Provide first aid if needed and seek medical attention if necessary.
- Check for damage: Check your home and immediate surroundings for damage such as cracks in walls broken windows or gas leaks. If you suspect gas leaks turn off the gas immediately and evacuate the area.
- Listen to news updates: Listen to news updates on the radio TV or the internet to stay informed about the situation and any emergency instructions.
- Be prepared for aftershocks: Aftershocks are common after earthquakes so be prepared for additional shaking. Stay alert and be ready to take cover again if necessary.
- Evacuate if necessary: If there is significant damage to the building or if you are instructed to evacuate by authorities follow their instructions and evacuate the building or area immediately.
- Avoid using phones: Use phones only for emergency calls to avoid overloading the network.
- Be cautious with utilities: Avoid using electrical appliances matches or open flames until you’re sure there are no gas leaks. Do not drink tap water until it has been declared safe by authorities.
- Stay put if you’re trapped: If you’re trapped in a collapsed building try to stay calm and avoid unnecessary movement. Use a whistle flashlight or other object to signal for help. If possible try to create a pocket of air around you by moving debris out of the way.
- Help others: If you’re able to help others who may be injured or in need of assistance.
Being prepared for an earthquake can help keep you and your loved ones safe. By following these steps you can reduce your risk of injury and be better equipped to handle an earthquake if it does occur.