What to do Before, During & After an Earthquake

With the recent earthquake and Tsunami attacks that occured in Japan, I would just like to share a piece of reading for some sort of precautionary measures.

This is an excerpt from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

What are we going to do…, BEFORE…, DURING…, and immediately AFTER a strong earthquake?

The key to effective disaster prevention is PLANNING

What to do BEFORE an earthquake

  • Determine if site is along an active fault and/or prone to liquefaction or landslide.
  • Use proper structural design
  • Determine if site is along an active fault and/or prone to liquefaction or landslide.
  • Use proper structural design and engineering practice when constructing a house or building.
  • Evaluate structural soundness of buildings and important infrastructures; strengthen or retrofit if found necessary.
  • Familiarize yourself with your place of work and residence
  • Identify relatively strong parts of the building where you can take refuge during an earthquake: door jambs elevator shafts sturdy tables
  • Learn to use fire extinguishers, first aid kits, alarms and emergency exits. These should be accessible/conveniently located and properly marked.
  • Prepare your place of work and residence for the event
  • Strap heavy furniture to walls to prevent sliding or toppling.
  • Store breakable items, harmful chemicals and flammable materials in lowermost shelves and secure firmly.
  • Turn off gas tanks when not in use.
  • Keep heavy materials in lower shelves.
  • Check stability of hanging objects.
  • Maintain an earthquake survival kit.

 What to do DURING an earthquake

  • If inside a structurally sound building, stay there!
  • Protect your body from falling debris by bracing yourself in a doorway or by getting under a sturdy desk  or table.
  • When you feel a STRONG earthquake, “DUCK… COVER… & HOLD ON…”under a desk or sturdy table.
  • Stay away from windows, shelves, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants, and other heavy  objects that could fall.
  • Watch out for falling plaster and ceiling tiles.
  • Stay undercover until the shaking stops, and hold onto your cover. If it moves, move with it.
  •  If outside, move to an open area
  • Get away from power lines, posts, walls and other structures that may fall or collapse.
  • Stay away from buildings with glass panes.
  • When driving a vehicle, pull to the side of the road and stop
  • Do not attempt to cross bridges or overpasses which may have been damaged.
  • If along the shore and you feel an earthquake, strong enough to make standing difficult. Run away from the shore toward higher ground

Signs of an Impending Tsunami

  • Large off-shore earthquake
  • Unusual rise or fall of coastal waters
  • Exposure of corals and underwater rocks
  • Sound of approaching train
  • If on a mountain, or near a steep hill slope, move away from steep escarpments which may be affected by landslides.

What to do AFTER an earthquake

  • If inside an old, weak structure, take the Fastest and safest way out!
  • Get out calmly in an orderly manner. Do not rush to the exit.
  • Use the stairs. Do not use elevators.
  • Check yourself and others for injuries
  • Check surroundings
  • Clean up chemical spills, toxic flammable materials to avoid any chain of unwanted events.
  • Check for fire and if any, have it controlled.
  • Check water and electrical lines for defects. If any damage is suspected, turn the system offin the main valve or switch.
  • Help reduce the number of casualties from the earthquake:
  • Don’t enter partially damaged building; strong aftershocks may cause these to collapse.
  • Gather information and disaster prevention instruction from battery-operated radios.
  • Obey public safety precautions.
  • If you must evacuate your residence, leave a message stating where you are going
  • Take with you your earthquake survival kit, which should contain all necessary items for your protection and comfort.
  • Unless you need emergency help:
    • Do not use your telephone to call relatives and friends. Disaster prevention authorities may need the lines for emergency communications
    • Do not use your car and drive around areas of damage. Rescue and relief operations need the road for mobility.


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