Earthquakes can be incredibly frightening, and the damage that they can cause can be devastating. However, if you know what to do, you can significantly increase your chances of survival during an earthquake in your home.
First, it is important to prepare your home in the event of an earthquake. Make sure that your walls, ceilings, and foundations are in good condition and up to code. Have all heavy objects securely fastened to walls or floors and make sure that your furniture is placed away from windows and doors. Replace all breakable items with items that are flexible, such as plastic storage containers or plastic cups. Secure all bookcases, shelves, and cabinets to the wall. Check for potential hazards, like exposed wires or gas lines, and have them repaired immediately.
When you feel an earthquake, it is important to stay calm. Move away from any external walls or windows and seek shelter under a sturdy piece of furniture, like a desk or table. If they are available, grab a helmet and a pair of protective eyewear to protect yourself from falling objects. Cover your head and neck with your arms and hands, and keep your body as low to the ground as possible. Remain in this position until the shaking stops.
If you are inside during an earthquake, it is important to stay inside until the shaking stops. Do not attempt to rush outside, as this can be very dangerous. If you are in a multi-story building, stay away from the exterior walls and in a doorway or corner of a room. If you are in a single-story building, stay away from the exterior walls and seek an interior corner of the building.
If you are in a vehicle during an earthquake, stay inside until the shaking stops. If it is safe to do so, pull your vehicle over onto the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Stay inside your vehicle and wait until the shaking stops.
If you are outdoors during an earthquake, stay away from power lines, buildings, and trees. Move to an open area and drop to the ground. Cover your head and neck with your arms and hands and remain in this position until the shaking stops.
After the shaking has stopped, it is important to check for damages and injuries. Carefully inspect the outside of your home and look for any damages, like broken windows or cracks in walls or foundations. If you smell gas, turn off the main gas valve and do not attempt to light any fires or use electrical switches. Check on your family members and neighbors and see if they need help.
Finally, it is important to stay informed and follow the advice of the local authorities. Listen to the radio or television for updates and follow the instructions given by your local emergency management teams. Stay away from damaged areas and listen for instructions from the police, fire department, and other emergency personnel.
By following these tips, you can significantly increase your chances of survival during an earthquake in your home. Preparing your home and knowing what to do during an earthquake can help you stay safe and protect you from harm.