Tips on what to do before and during an earthquake
 

Reducing Earthquake Risk:

  • Avoid construction in areas highly vulnerable to earthquake effects.
  • Implement earthquake-resistant building codes. Earthquake engineers attempt to design buildings that can absorb excess energy without collapsing. Steel beams are usually the best reinforcement because they provide the capacity to sway, stretch or vibrate, instead of breaking.
  • Use anchor bolts to connect your house to its foundation since these little bolts can prevent major damage to your home.
  • Unstable, heavy furniture should be fastened to a wall or bolted to the floor. When loading storage cabinets heavy objects should be placed on lower shelves.
  • Water heaters and other appliances should be firmly bolted down.
  • Before:

  • Become actively involved in community preparedness organisations in your district.
  • All family members should know how to turn off electricity, gas and water using safety valves and main switches.
  • Family members should know basic First Aid steps.
  • Purchase emergency equipment such as battery-operated radios and fire extinguishers for your home.
  • Always have non-perishable food items in stock.
  •  

    During:

  • Do not panic, stay calm.
  • Always protect your head and face.
  • If inside a building, stand in a strong doorway, or get under a desk, table or bed. Do not try to run out of the building as you can be injured by falling debris.
  • Move away from outer walls, windows, glass doors, heavy mirrors, pictures, bookcases, hanging plants and heavy objects.
  • Look out for falling plaster, bricks, lighting fixtures and other objects.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • If you are driving, you should safely bring the vehicle to a stop away from bridges, electricity poles and overhead wiresfrom which debris may fall.
  • Remain in the vehicle.
  •  

    After:

  • Check for fires and gas leaks.
  • Check utilities and switch them off if necessary.
  • Check your house for serious damage and evacuate if the house seems likely to collapse.
  • Be prepared for more earthquake tremors or aftershocks.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Turn on a transistor radio for emergency bulletins.
  • Do not light a match or turn on a light switch. Use a flashlight instead.
  • Never touch fallen power lines.
  • Do not use telephones except in extreme emergency.
  • Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in danger of further injury.
  • Do not go sightseeing! Keep the streets clear for the passage of emergency and rescue vehicles
  •  
    Source: Saturday, December 4th 2004, Trinidad Express, Written by By Anna-Lisa Paul
    edited from "Aftershocks...not a quake"
    Sunday, October 1 2006, Newsday News



    Ways to prepare for an earthquake
     
    edited from Newsday News entitled: "Ways to prepare for an earthquake"
    Thursday, March 4 2010
    http://newsday.co.tt/features/0,116679.html

    1. Check for Hazards in the Home
    * Fasten shelves securely to walls.
    * Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
    * Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
    * Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
    * Brace overhead light fixtures.
    * Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
    * Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
    * Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
    * Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.

    2. Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors
    * Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
    * Against an inside wall.
    * Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.
    * In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.

    3. Educate Yourself and Family Members
    * Contact the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) for more information on earthquakes.
    * Teach children how and when to call the police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
    * Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.

    4. Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
    * Flashlight and extra batteries.
    * Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
    * First aid kit and manual.
    * Emergency food and water.
    * Non electric can opener.
    * Essential medicines.
    * Cash and credit cards.
    * Sturdy shoes.



    Before an earthquake:

    •Bolt heavy furniture, water tanks, water heaters, gas cylinders and storage units to a wall or floor.
    •Place largest and heaviest items on lower shelves.
    •Emergency items such as canned foods, medication, flashlights, battery-operated radios, fire extinguishers and a First Aid kit should be readily available and working properly.
    •All family members should know how to use this emergency equipment and should know how to turn off electricity, gas and water using safety valves and main switches.
    •All family members should know what to do during an earthquake and should practice these safety tips through regular drills.
     

    During an earthquake:

    •Stay calm. Do not panic. Be alert.
    •If inside stay inside, do not run out of the building.
    •If inside, stand in a strong doorway or get under a sturdy desk, table or bed and hold on. Do not use elevators or stairs. Move away from windows, mirrors, glass doors, pictures, bookcases, hanging plants and heavy objects.
    •If outside and there are no obvious signs of danger nearby, stay there.
    •If outside, stay away from glass buildings, electricity poles, and bridges.
    •If in a vehicle, do not stop on or under a bridge.
    •Always look out for falling plaster, bricks, lighting fixtures and other objects.
     

    If trapped under debris:

    •Do not light a match.
    •Do not move about or kick up dust.
    •Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
    •Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
     

    After an earthquake:

    DO
    •Check for broken gas lines and fires.
    •Check utilities and switch them off, if necessary.
    •Check your house for serious damage and evacuate if the house seems likely to collapse.
    •Be prepared for more earthquakes (aftershocks).
    •Stay away from landslide-prone areas.
    •Turn on transistor radio for emergency news.
    •If possible, check the Seismic Research Centre’s website at www.uwiseismic.com for updates on the earthquake.

    DO NOT
    •Do not light a match or turn on a light switch. Use a flashlight instead.
    •Never touch fallen power lines.
    •Do not go sightseeing. Leave the streets clear for emergency and rescue vehicles.
    •Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in danger of further injury.

    What about the Triangle of Life?

    DO
    This is a widely circulated suggestion which states that during an earthquake it is safer to curl up next to a desk or bed rather than to go under it. We do not recommend this practice for the following reasons:
    •The Triangle of Life is not a scientifically proven theory.
    •It is unknown if during the earthquake these “triangles of life” – spaces next to desks, beds etc – are impacted in any way which may make them unsafe areas.
    •In the Eastern Caribbean, “pancaking” or crumbling of buildings which would crush occupants as described in the “Triangle of Life”, is not expected.
    Scientists recommend that the safety measures outlined in this website be used to protect yourself from the effects of earthquakes in the Eastern Caribbean.
     
    Source: Earthquake Safety Tips
    Newsday News
    Thursday, November 25 2010
    http://newsday.co.tt/features/0,131426.html


    Earthquake Richter Scale
    MagnitudeClassEarthquake Effects
    2.5 or lessMinorUsually not felt, but can be recorded by seismograph.
    2.5 to 5.4Light Often felt, but only causes minor damage.
    5.5 to 6.0ModerateSlight damage to buildings and other structures.
    6.1 to 6.9StrongMay cause a lot of damage in very populated areas.
    7.0 to 7.9MajorSerious damage.
    8.0 or greaterGreatCan totally destroy communities near the epicenter.





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