When the earth begins to move seconds are crucial. There isn’t time to panic AND survive. Choose to act and live. If you can feel a tremor, you are close enough to the epicenter (or blast) for there to be structural damage in your area. Depending on where you are located, the following guidelines may help save your life.
Keep a flashlight and sturdy shoes within reach of your bed and your work place. At home, keep clothing you can quickly put on within reach of your bed. If you are in bed when the shaking starts, remain in bed until the tremor is over. Once the shaking stops, put on your shoes and clothing. Broken glass will easily slice through bare feet (or casual/dress shoes) and hinder your efforts to get to safety.
DUCK * COVER * HOLD
IF YOU ARE INDOORS crouch near an interior, load bearing wall. Place yourself beneath a study object (table, etc.). Protect your head and neck with your hands. Brace yourself by hanging onto whatever you are beneath.
IF YOU ARE IN A TALL BUILDING duck under a sturdy object. Cover your head and neck with a hand. Hold onto whatever you are ducking underneath for stability. When exiting, always use the stairwells. NEVER use elevators during earthquake or fire.
IF YOUR ARE OUTDOORS
Observe where the large trees and power lines are located. These could be falling hazards. Avoid these or any other overhead hazards. Look for an open space where you can avoid falling debris. In the city you should avoid standing near high buildings. As much as 2 to 13 feet of glass could cover city streets below high rise buildings.
IF YOU ARE IN YOUR CAR
Stay in your car. Try to position yourself away from overhead hazards. Don’t park underneath an overhang. If you ARE stuck under a bridge in your car, remain in the car during a tremor. Tires will act as a cushioning (and insulation) if heavy debris fall onto your automobile. If you are on an open roadway, pull over to the side of the road (don’t block the road). Wait for the shaking to stop. Listen to your radio for reports & instructions.
AFTER THE SHAKING STOPS
Expect aftershocks; be prepared to repeat the DUCK, COVER & HOLD. Make sure you are okay. Get a flashlight. Flashlights are much safer than candles in the event of gas leaks. Account for everyone in the household (if at home). Get everyone out to safe place – pre-determined meeting place. Then, take a lap around the house to assess the damage to property – any large cracks, foundation movement, does the house look askew?
Don’t turn off natural gas until instructed by authorities. Listen to AM radio for updates/news from the Emergency Broadcast Network regarding where to go for help.
Don’t forget to locate your pets. Try to calm and re-assure them. Place them on a leash or restraint for several hours until you are SURE they are calm and not prone to running away. This can also help keep them from biting because of anxiety.
FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS
Use your best instincts regarding disaster safety. Observe the habits of nature around you. Did you know that on Monday, May 5th of 2008, frogs in China began a mass migration that took them across streets and roads? The following Monday, May 12th, central China was rocked by a 7.8-magnitude quake which killed nearly 10,000 people.
This article should be used as a guideline. Taking the time to think through your options BEFORE such an event will greatly help you should you ever find yourself in such a position. This information is not a substitute for professional services. The reader assumes all liability when utilizing these measures.