Every year; thousands of people either die or suffer a serious injury during an earthquake. In many cases, various casualties occur due to the lack of knowledge regarding the things that must be considered during the event of an earthquake. For example, many people still today believe that running outside the building during the shake is safer. Hence, adequate guidelines regarding safer practices during an earthquake must be drafted and duly delivered to the people. We will discuss what to do during an earthquake?
What to do during an earthquake?
Some of the things that must be considered during an earthquake can be summarized as follows:
1. When one is indoors during an earthquake:
The following things must be done if a person is indoors during an earthquake:
a. The person must drop to the ground first. Then, a safe place such as a table or desk must be looked for and the person must hide under it and hold on until the tremors subside. By any chance such furniture isn’t available then he/she must cover his/her head and face with the arms and stay in a crouched position in any corner of the building.
The safety key words basically include “DROP, COVER & HOLD ON”.
b. It is safer to stay away from components of the building that are prone to fall such as glasses, windows, exterior walls, lighting fixtures etc.
c. If a person is on the bed when an earthquake strikes then he/she must stay on the bed itself and cover his/her head with a pillow if there is no heavy lighting fixture above the bed. In such a case, one must immediately find a safer place and hide.
d. The person must stay inside until the shaking completely stops. It is dangerous to run outside the building while it is shaking as in most of the cases it has been found that most of the injuries occur while attempting to run outside the building during an earthquake.
e. The use of elevators must be completely avoided as there is a high possibility of power shutting down thereby trapping the person inside for long hours.
f. If a person is on wheelchairs when the earthquake strikes, then he/she must immediately lock the wheels and protect the neck and head area by covering with hands.
2. When one is outdoors during an earthquake:
The following precautions must be taken when a person is outdoors during an earthquake:
a. The person must immediately move away from buildings, transmission lines, compound walls, street lights and utility wires and move to comparatively open space as soon as possible.
b. Once open space is sought, the person must stay there until the shaking stops.
3. When one is in a moving vehicle during an earthquake:
The precautions that must be taken when a person is in a moving vehicle can be listed as follows:
a. The vehicle must be stopped as far as possible and one must stay inside the vehicle itself. It must be noted that the vehicle is stopped away from massive structures, utility and transmission towers, trees and overpasses.
b. The person must stay inside the vehicle until shaking stops. Proceeding through bridges, ramps as soon as the earthquake stops must be avoided as these structures may have been damaged due to the tremors.
4. When one is trapped in fallen debris:
If a person happens to be trapped in the counterparts of structures that have collapsed during the earthquake, the following practices may be beneficial:
a. The person must remain calm and should not move around or kick up the accumulated dust particles.
b. The mouth should be well covered by a handkerchief if available or else by some clothing.
c. The lighting of matchsticks or lighters must be completely avoided.
d. To call for help and rescue, shouting must be kept as the last alternative as it may result in inhaling of a large amount of dust thereby causing choking and suffocation. If available whistles must be blown. Tapping on the walls, pipelines or any such structures nearby so that rescuers can locate the person is also beneficial.
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