In some parts of the world earthquakes are a real pain in the butt and anyone that doesn’t have an earthquake action plan is begging for trouble. Within just a few minutes you can loose everything; your home, your possessions, and even your life. Large quakes will leave you completely frazzled but when the quaking stops is not the time for inaction. When the shaking is over an immediate response is required. If there are gas appliances in your home there may be gas leaks. Someone in the house may be injured. The actions you take during and immediately after an earthquake can save lives and significantly reduce bodily harm and property damage. Having an earthquake preparedness plan in place will help you survive the earthquake and help keep you focused and out of shock. Remain calm. By remaining calm you will better avoid injury during the quake and be in a better position to continue your earthquake action plan after the quaking stops.
Earthquake Action Plan Steps
During The Earthquake:
- Duck under some cover. If you can get under a sturdy table or desk you will be safer from falling debris.
- Your instinct will tell you to curl up into a fetal position…do so.
- When you curl into the fetal position a good place to do so is next to a large chair or sofa. There is a natural void that will form next to bulky furniture like these. Inside that void you will not be crushed.
- Keep your head protected with whatever you have on hand (pillow, etc.) During an earthquake your brain can use all of the protection that it can get.
After The Earthquake:
- Continue to remain calm.
- Put on protective clothing including sturdy shoes, gloves, and a hardhat if you have one. You don’t want to get injured moving in and around the debris.
- Have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit with you as you check your family members for injuries.
- Perform emergency medical procedures on any serious injuries.
- Turn off the gas or propane at the meter. You can take the time later to check for leaks and be safe from a gas explosion in the meantime.
It is a smart idea to keep your gas and water shut off tools, a fire extinguisher, and a flashlight always ready at your bedside. Chances are that you will be in bed when the quake hits.
- Turn off the water at the main valve. If the cities water pipes have been damaged this will keep the water in your water heater safe from pollutants and pathogens. The water heater might be your best source of drinking water for a while.
- Take a marker and write OK or Help on a piece of paper and stick it to a front window or door. Time is a very critical element after a disaster and this kind of communication will save lives…maybe your own or your loved ones.
Surviving an earthquake is a matter of having a good earthquake action plan, following it, and possessing a good earthquake kit to get you through several tough days.
Remember to follow your instincts…you have them for a reason. They will often keep you alive when nothing else will. Image Credit: Andrea Booher, FEMA News Photo