Geology And Geophysics

Disaster Planning for Earthquakes



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There is no foolproof method of earthquake prediction. Earthquakes can occur without a moment's notice and being prepared for one can be life-saving. A proactive approach is necessary when creating an earthquake plan for your family. Most of the preparations can be made well in advance and maintained with little or no effort.

Many earthquake preparations can be made long before an earthquake strikes. FEMA offers some suggestions regarding what to do in advance. Taking some of these precautions can serve to prevent injuries and property damage. Bolt large appliances and furniture to the walls and the floor. Purchase simple fasteners and install them on cabinets so that they close and fasten shut. Keep heavy, breakable objects off of high shelves and store glass containers in low cabinets that close and stay closed. Ensure that your home is firmly attached to its foundation. Locate safe spots in each room of your home and have occasional drills so that family members will react appropriately in the event of seismic activity. Keep a first aid kit fully-stocked and on hand at all times. Store bottled water and non-perishable food supplies in a safe accessible place.

Arm yourself with earthquake knowledge. Knowing what to do during and after an earthquake is essential. Know the facts in order to respond quickly and effectively.

If you are inside when an earthquake begins, stay inside. Do not attempt to go outside. After a major earthquake anticipate aftershocks that can also be dangerous and destructive. Most injuries during a quake are sustained by people entering or leaving buildings. Avoid heavy items that could fall and take cover under a sturdy table or desk if one is available. Do not use elevators at all. Stairs are safer. Be aware that the structural integrity of tall buildings could be affected making them unstable.

If you are outside when tremors begin stay away from buildings, street lights and electrical lines. If you are in a vehicle pull over carefully to the side of the road. Again avoid stopping near anything that could potentially fall or collapse on top of your vehicle. Stay in an open area if possible. If you are in a public place, do not panic. Keeping your wits about you could make all the difference in the world. Follow the instructions of local authorities. They are trained in the proper response procedures natural disasters.

Following an earthquake, there are other issues to consider. Seismic aftershocks can produce further damage to structures that are already compromised. Tsunamis are an imminent danger in low lying coastal areas. Fallen power lines and broken gas pipes present further risks. Debris and broken glass are additional perils to be aware of and avoid.

Preparing for an earthquake is important since you never know when one may strike. Put these preemptive measures in place to protect you and your family. Knowledge and earthquake awareness are the keys to being ready to "Drop, cover and hold on."

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