Geology And Geophysics

How to Survive an Earthquake

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"How to Survive an Earthquake"
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Spontaneous tremors are always disturbing. Most of us would have been educated about natural disasters as a point during our existence. We know to get down low and go, go, go during a fire, we know to head towards basements and underground areas during tornadoes and to board up windows and fragile areas during hurricanes or cyclones. However, many of us live away from fault lines, so little knowledge about surviving earthquakes rests in our minds. Although most cities from the countries such as the United States and Australia lie away from the tectonic plate borders, it is essential for us to know what to do if we are caught overseas on holiday or vacation.

Like the most practical way to fight aeroplane crashes is to build safer and better aeroplanes, it would be ideal to tighten up our building practices in order to combat earthquakes. However, there are a number of additional precautions we can make ourself in order to make a significant difference.

The usual conventional precaution for us citizens when inside is to abide by the rules to drop, cover and hold on. We have been told to drop close to the floor, and take shelter under any sturdy or rigid object, such as a table or bench of any sort. Holding on is also essential, based on how violent the earthquake is. 

However, a new, less researched and analysed routine has been introduced. This is known as the triangle of life. It states that you should adopt a fetal position not under but next to a sturdy object - in this fashion, any large pieces of matter would form a triangle between the ground, the sturdy object and the matter itself, creating a firm shelter.

For those who have looked at both methods, they deemed the two different options quite different, each being more helpful in different situations. For example, while the drop, cover and hold on method is more ideal for those who live in countries such as or similar to the US, the triangle of life steps are much more based around people who live in areas such as Haiti, where there is a higher chance of buildings and structures imploding, and falling walls would be more likely than falling chandeliers.

Anybody outside at the time of earthquakes would be recommended to stay out in the open, and if near any buildings, use any rigid objects to protect themselves, in particular the head. If driving, they would be told to stay in their car, where there would be little chance of anything going wrong, except for a few potential windows smashed.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Staying alert at all times could save both your own and others’ lives.

More about this author: Nick Yip

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