Earthquake Safety Tips Earthquake Awareness

Earthquake Awareness Earthquake Safety Tips



An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time.

Earthquakes are measured using observations from seismometers. The moment magnitude is the most common scale on which earthquakes larger than approximately 5 are reported for the entire globe. The more numerous earthquakes smaller than magnitude 5 reported by national seismological observatories are measured mostly on the local magnitude scale, also referred to as the Richter scale. These two scales are numerically similar over their range of validity. Magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes are mostly almost imperceptible or weak and magnitude 7 and over potentially cause serious damage over larger areas, depending on their depth. The largest earthquakes in historic times have been of magnitude slightly over 9, although there is no limit to the possible magnitude. The most recent large earthquake of magnitude 9.0 or larger was a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan in 2011 (as of March 2014), and it was the largest Japanese earthquake since records began. Intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale. The shallower an earthquake, the more damage to structures it causes, all else being equal.

At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a tsunami. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides, and occasionally volcanic activity.

Safety Tips:
Have an earthquake readiness plan.
Consult a professional to learn how to make your home sturdier, such as bolting bookcases to wall studs, installing strong latches on cupboards, and strapping the water heater to wall studs.
Locate a place in each room of the house that you can go to in case of an earthquake. It should be a spot where nothing is likely to fall on you.
Keep a supply of canned food, an up-to-date first aid kit, 3 gallons (11.4 liters) of water per person, dust masks and goggles, and a working battery-operated radio and flashlights.
Know how to turn off your gas and water mains.

If Shaking Begins
Drop down; take cover under a desk or table and hold on.
Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you're sure it's safe to exit.
Stay away from bookcases or furniture that can fall on you.
Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place. Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

Doorways are no stronger than any other part of a structure so don’t rely on them for protection! During an earthquake, get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on. It will help shelter you from falling objects that could injure you during an earthquake.

Become aware of fire evacuation and earthquake safety plans for all of the buildings you occupy regularly.
Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school. A safe place could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases or tall furniture that could fall on you.
Practice “drop, cover and hold on” in each safe place. If you do not have sturdy furniture to hold on to, sit on the floor next to an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes by each person’s bed in case the earthquake strikes in the middle of the night.
Make sure your home is securely anchored to its foundation.
Bolt and brace water heaters and gas appliances to wall studs.
Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs.
Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit.
Brace overhead light fixtures.
Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. Large or heavy items should be closest to the floor.
Learn how to shut off the gas valves in your home and keep a wrench handy for that purpose.
Learn about your area’s seismic building standards and land use codes before you begin new construction.
Keep and maintain an emergency supplies kit in an easy-to-access location.

If You Are Inside When the Shaking Starts:
Drop, cover and hold on. Move as little as possible.
If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.
Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. When it is, use stairs rather than the elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.

If You Are Outside When the Shaking Starts:
Find a clear spot (away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights) and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.

What to Do After an Earthquake:

After an earthquake, the disaster may continue. Expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or even a tsunami. Tsunamis are often generated by earthquakes.
Each time you feel an aftershock, drop, cover and hold on. Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks and even months following an earthquake.
Check yourself for injuries and get First Aid, if necessary, before helping injured or trapped persons.
Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.
Look quickly for damage in and around your home and get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
Listen to a portable, battery-operated or hand-crank radio for updated emergency information and instructions.
Check the telephones in your home or workplace to see if you can get a dial tone. Make brief calls to report life-threatening emergencies.
Look for and extinguish small fires. Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake.
Clean up spilled medications, bleach, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.
Open closet and cabinet doors carefully as contents may have shifted.
Help people who require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled.
Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and stay out of damaged areas.
Keep animals under your direct control.
Stay out of damaged buildings.
If you were away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so. Use extreme caution and examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to check for damage.
Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.
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