What to do during an Earthquake
I have studied natural hazards in detail during my undergrad and trust me, these calamities are more dangerous than they look like on camera. Recently Nepal, northern parts of India and adjacent areas have been hit by a massive earthquake measuring over 7 on the richter scale. The earthquake was so severe that there are reports of Mount Everest shrinking by 2.5 cm.
Even yesterday (12th May, 2015) the earthquake hit these parts again. Nepal is still experiencing the after shocks. There are several anticipating articles of a massive earthquake hitting the areas again. So I am here, to share my knowledge regarding How to keep your family and yourself safe during an earthquake.
First and foremost, if you have heavy things placed at a high level in your house, as a precaution these days, put them on the ground or put them in a room where you do not live like a store room. Don’t keep sharp objects at high levels.
Drop, Cover, and Hold On when the earth shakes
Drop to the ground
Drop to the ground on your hands and knees. This position prevents you from falling and still allows you to move when necessary. When you drop to the ground, the risk of injury from swaying overhead items is reduced.
Look for a furniture around, a sturdy table or bed. Go underneath and take shelter. According to experts, the likelihood of injury is more by the flying and falling objects. So under a cover you are less likely to get injured by such things. If there is no furniture around you, cover yourself with hands and knees. Make sure to cover your head and neck.
Hold on to the leg of the table or whichever furniture you are hiding under. If the cover/shelter moves around with the vibration, move around with it.
Remember, the greatest risk of injury is from the objects which are falling, swaying or falling.
Now, one can be anywhere when an earthquake hits. So I will divide section wise and talk about the the things to be done at specific places where you may be located at that moment.
Do not go outside if the earth is vibrating. Stay indoors. Drop, Cover and Hold on. Do not go to the kitchen or areas where you have kept heavy objects. When you are under cover, make sure to move with the cover. Stay away from walls and windows. Stay away from heavy cabinets. Do so till the earth stops shaking.
If you are In Bed, stay in bed. No not try to get to the door. Hold on and protect your head and neck with pillows safely.
In Tall Buildings
First and the foremost, do not use the elevators. Drop, Cover and Hold on as explained above. Stay away from walls and windows. According to experts, most people in such situations get injured while they try to move around and get out of the building while the earth is shaking.
If you are driving, pull over on the road side away from buildings and trees. Put the hand breaks, and stay there till the shaking stops. Avoid bridges, power lines, sign boards and other such hazards. If a wire falls on your car, stay indoors till help arrives.
If you are on a ground, go away from buildings, vehicles, power lines, sign boards, poles and other such tall structures. Stay in an area where nothing is likely to fall on you.
On a Shore or Beach
Lastly but importantly, there are people who might be on a shore. Again drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops. Experts say that if the shaking lasts for more than 20 – 30 seconds, immediately evacuate and move to high ground as the earthquake might have generated Tsunami. Move as far as 5 Kms from the shore. If you don’t have a vehicle, walk quickly. Make sure to avoid road side poles, sign boards and other heavy objects around you.
These were simple basic “What to Do”s during an earthquake. Always follow the principle of Drop, Cover and Hold on. This will reduce the chances of injury.
If you are Trapped in Debris
Do not light a match. Cover your nose and mouth with a piece of cloth. Use a whistle. Tap on a pipeline or other resonating object so that rescuers can locate you. Shout only as a last resort because it will make you more thirsty and will cause inhalation or more dust. If have a cell phone, call emergency helpline
Emergency Helpline Numbers in India
Emergency response service Services 108
Local Police 100
Fire Emergency 101
All you need to remember is 108 in India. Dial 108 and help will be on its way to you.
I hope this post will be of some help to you. Stay safe everyone.