Tips for Thought

Earthquakes are instances when the earth’s plates suddenly slip past one another. This instance creates a terrifying shock that can cause panic within an area.

The reason why earthquakes are dangerous is that the shock can cause the movement of artificial structures, potentially causing them to collapse and crash unto a person.

Additionally, earthquakes are dangerous because, through the shocks, they can potentially destroy dams, thus leading to flooding and even destroying gas and power lines, which lead to fires.

If your area is prone to earthquakes or you are receiving news of an upcoming earthquake, here are some survival tips during the event:

A. What To Do Before an Earthquake:

Assuming you are in your home during the event of an earthquake, here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep your survival essentials. These include the following:

  • a fire extinguisher,
  • a radio and flashlight that powers on batteries, extra batteries;
  • water;
  • canned goods;
  • extra clothes; and
  • a first-aid kit

2. Turn off the gas, water, and electricity lines. This step prevents any sudden disruptions.

3. Teach your children the drop, cover, and hold technique. This technique involves the following:

  • Drop down your hands and knees before the earthquake knocks you off balance. You can move in this position when necessary.
  • Cover your head and neck (or entire body if possible) underneath a sturdy surface like a desk or table. If you’re in an open space, get down near an interior wall or low-lying furniture and cover your head and neck. Stay away from shelves, ceiling fans, and glass windows.
  • Hold onto the legs of the table or desk. Move with the cover if it shifts around during the shock.

B. What To Do During an Earthquake:

Here are some survival tips to remember:

If You Are Inside:

1. If you are in bed, stay where you are. Grab a pillow and cover your head. You’re less likely to get hurt if you stay in one place.

2. If you are in other parts of the home. Learn to drop, cover, and hold (as mentioned in Section A, number 3).

3. If you are in a high-rise building like a condo or an office, stay inside. Move away from glass windows and outside walls, and avoid using elevators.

4. Stay calm if you are trapped inside the elevator. Get someone’s afternoon after the shaking has stopped by tapping on the hard surfaces.

*Note: If you are inside, stay inside. Do not venture outside.

5. For crowded indoor places: Avoid rushing to the doorways and avoid display shelves with random objects that’ll fall over. Grab something to protect your head and face from falling glass and debris.

*Note: If you are inside, stay inside. Do not venture outside.

If You Are Outside:

6. Move away from buildings, sinkholes, fuel, gas, and power lines. Your best bet is to go to an open area away from trees, buildings, and telephone poles. Once in an open space, get down to the ground and stay low until the shaking stops.

7. Stay away from outside walls of buildings—these contain windows and other architectural designs that are the first part of the buildings to break and collapse.

8. Are you in a moving vehicle? Stop at a safe spot as quickly as possible. To do this, move your car away from poles, overhead wires, and under and overpasses.

9. Stay in the car and set the parking brake.

10. Turn on the radio for any updates.

11. In a worst-case scenario, i.e., if debris or a pole falls on the car, stay inside until emergency services arrive.

*Note: If you are outside, stay outside. Only venture inside once it’s safe.

What To Do After an Earthquake:

The worst is over, but is it really over? Here are some handy things to remember after an earthquake:

1. Turn on the radio for immediate updates.

2. If it’s clear to move, check yourself and your loved ones for any injuries. Administer first aid as soon as possible.

3. Check the power, water, and gas lines for potential damage. If there are, turn off the valves and check for the smell of gas—if you do, open all windows and doors, and report the appropriate authorities.

4. Stay out of damaged buildings.

5. Be careful around broken glass, debris, and chimneys.

6. If you live near the sea, stay away from beaches now. Tsunamis may follow an earthquake. It may be possible to evacuate to higher ground.

7. Stay away from damaged areas.

8. If you’re at work or school, follow the emergency plan set in stone.

9. Expect aftershocks. They may happen after a few hours to even days after the mainshock.

Takeaway: Earthquakes can be terrifying, but it helps to be prepared. Arm yourself with these handy earthquake survival tips, and always stay tuned to the news for more updates. Stay safe.