What to During and After An Earthquake

Mar 25, 2010

I am here at the 42nd floor of our office building in Ortigas and with that strong earthquake still fresh from memory, I would like to share to all you these safety reminders from our security office.

What To Do During An Earthquake

Stay safe as possible during an earthquake. Be aware that some earthquakes are actually foreshocks and a larger earthquake might occur. Minimize body movements and take a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay indoors until the shaking has stopped.

If Indoors:
  • Drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy table or piece of furniture, and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there is no table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know that it is a strongly-supported load bearing doorway.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Be aware that the electricity might be interrupted or that the sprinkler system or fire alarm might operate.
  • Do not use elevators.
If outdoors:
  • Move away from buildings, street lights and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay where you are until the shaking stops. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most casualties resulted from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.
If trapped under debris:
  • Do not move about or kick out dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief/clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
In a vehicle:
  • Quickly pull to the side of the road.
  • Keep away from buildings, trees, bridges, signs, overpasses, and utility lines and poles.
  • Stay in the vehicle until it stops shaking.
What To Do After An Earthquake
  • Stay Calm and use common sense.
  • EXPECT AFTERSHOCKS. These secondary shock waves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur anytime after the quake.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio. Listen for the latest emergency information.
  • Use telephones only to report severe emergencies.
  • Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.
  • Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless your assistance has been specifically requested by Police or relief organization. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Be aware of possible tsunamis if it is near coastal areas. Evacuate on higher, safer grounds.
  • Check for injuries and treat the injured/trapped persons with first aid. Take steps to stop bleeding and call for medical assistance if there is an emergency. Don't attempt to move severely injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Cover them with blankets.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, or other flammable liquid immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes coming from other chemicals.
  • Inspect utilities. Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks, turn off the electricity from the main switch.
  • Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilet and call maintenance. If water pipes are damaged, call maintenance and avoid using water. Make sure that water is potable before drinking.

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