Safety Steps to Keep Your Family Safe During an Earthquake
Earthquakes happen all the time, but most are not of large enough shaking to cause concern. If a significant earthquake happens in your area, would you know what to do to keep your children and you safe during an earthquake?
Is there a way to stay safe during an earthquake?
Depending on the size and magnitude of the earthquake and your location when it happens, sometimes injury or death is unfortunately unavoidable. But, there are some things you can do during an earthquake that may lessen the damaging effects. The shaking that comes from the ground's movement during an earthquake is usually not the direct cause of injuries or deaths. Most earthquake-related injuries or death result from walls that collapse, falling objects or flying objects and glass.
If you are inside a building when the shaking begins, do not leave until the shaking has stopped. Several injuries happen unnecessarily from people trying to exit a building before the catastrophe has ended. Keep in mind there may be fore shocks and aftershocks. Stay put till all the shaking is over. But, also be aware and know that fire alarms and sprinklers may go off inside.
If inside a building:
- Never ever use the elevator during an earthquake
- Drop quickly to the ground
- Avoid and stay as far away as you can from windows or other glass, outside doors and walls, or anything that could fall.
- If there is a sturdy piece of furniture nearby, get under and stay put until the shaking stops.
- If there isn’t a table or desk or other sturdy furniture nearby, crouch down in a corner of the building that is located on an inside wall. Cover your face and your head with your arms.
- If you are in bed - Stay there (unless there is a heavy light fixture above your bed)! Protect your head by covering it with a pillow
If you are outside when the shaking begins, do no try to go inside. There is greater danger directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls of buildings when the shaking begins. If you attempt to enter a building once the shaking starts, you might not make it safely inside in time.
- Get away from any apparent dangers such as streetlights, wires and buildings.
- Once you are in an open space, stay put until all shaking stops protecting yourself by crouching with arms protecting your head.
If you happen to be driving or a passenger inside a moving vehcile when the earthquake hits:
- Come to a complete stop as quickly and safely as you can.
- If at all possible, avoid stopping under an overpass or on a bridge or ramp, utility wires or near buildings or trees.
- Stay inside your vehicle
If you find yourself trapped under debris after the shaking stops, do not move or kick up dust. Cover your mouth with an article of clothing or other available cloth. Begin to tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can find you, or even use a whistle if one happens to be available. But, avoid shouting as it could cause you to unnecessarily inhale large amounts of dust. Also avoid lighting a candle or lighter for any reason. There may be broken gas lines that could ignite with any spark.