Earthquake is a natural disaster that results in the shaking of the ground due to the passage of seismic waves through the tectonic plates. Now and then thousands of buildings are knocked down by the tremors of earthquake posing a great risk to the life of humans. According to reports, every year about 8000 people are killed due to the earthquake. Though the occurrence and magnitude of earthquakes are beyond the control of humans, some post-rehabilitation activities may help heal the wounds given by earthquake as well as rehabilitating the destructed cities and homes.
What to do after an earthquake?
Some of the things that must be considered after an earthquake can be listed as follows:
1. Checking for injuries:
After the tremors of earthquake subside, the following precautions must be adopted and recovery activities must be carried out:
First of all, a person should check if he/she has suffered any injury. Only after checking himself/herself, others must be reached out and immediate first aid must be provided to the injured.
Proper shoes, long pant and long-sleeved clothing must be worn to prevent injury from fallen debris, broken glasses etc.
If a person is bleeding, a clean gauge if available or a clean cloth must be used for applying pressure on the wound.
If a person is not breathing, immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation i.e. CPR must be administered.
A seriously injured person should not be attempted to be moved recklessly unless there is a threat of further injury due to falling counterparts of structures. Medical help must be called for as soon as possible.
The injured person must be covered by a blanket until medical help arrives.
People must stay alert for possible aftershocks and tremors.
Figure 1: Disaster First Aid Kit
2. Checking for possible hazards and damages:
After medical assistance has arrived, the next step that must be taken includes checking for further damages and probable hazards. The things that must be considered can be listed as follows:
The checking of utilities must always be done by using a flashlight only. Main electrical line must be switched off.
Fire hazard must be immediately encountered. Any lighted fire must be put off as soon as possible.
Any possibility of gas leaks must be checked. If gas leak due to broken pipes or odour is suspected, the main valve must be switched off.
Damaged electrical wiring must be looked for and in case of any damage to the house wiring, the main control box must be turned off immediately. The damaged utility wires should not be touched by bare hands in any case.
Any hazardous materials such as oil, kerosene, bleach etc that have been spilt must be cleaned immediately.
If the chimney has been downed or damaged, it must not be used due to the possibility of fire or spread of poisonous gases in the house. It must also not be touched by bare hands.
Care must be taken while opening shelves, cupboards as it poses the threat of objects falling.
Food and water supplies must be duly checked for. Food stored near glasses or debris must not be used.
Emergency water must be used from water heaters, melted ice cubes etc.
Radio must be used for the update regarding emergency announcements, news reports and other safety instructions.
Public safety officials and helpers must be supported for rescue and relief operations.