It is extremely important to know how to protect yourself from an earthquake and I hope that this article will help you to be prepared for this scenario.
No one wants to think about a scenario in which an earthquake occurs, but it can happen and no one can tell for sure when.
The entire crust of our planet is composed out of fragments, which float on liquid magma.
This means that they move. Of course, this movement is extremely slow and we barely notice it as we go about with our day.
But, there are moments when we can feel the earth moving, sometimes with devastating consequences.
This is when an earthquake occurs.
While some may be harmless, producing nothing more than panic, some can be extreme and trigger significant damages and even loss of lives.
To make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe in case of an earthquake, you need to know how to protect yourself.
Even if you don’t live in an area where earthquakes were quite often in the past, it is still worth having this knowledge because you never know when they may come in handy.
In case you live in an area that is subjected to the risks of earthquakes, knowing how to protect yourself from an earthquake is even more recommended.
First, a good emergency kit
You should start by getting ready for emergencies.
This means to put together a kit that will help you get through the disaster easier.
This kit should contain first aid materials, in case of injuries, food that is not perishable, like canned food, copies of your most important documents, and water supplies.
Make sure to place this kit in a safe area that can be reached even after an earthquake.
You can read about a 72-hour survival kit here
What you should not do
We must start with the things that you should not do in case of an earthquake, some of them being just myths that won’t help you stay safe and increase the dangers of getting hurt.
This way we will help you remove any false beliefs about the things that are supposed to help you during an earthquake. First of all, when an earthquake starts, stay where you are and do not go out.
Don’t even leave the room to get into another room.
The last thing you want to do during an earthquake is to be on a stairway or in an elevator.
While the instinct may tell you to leave the building as you will be safer outside, do know that this is a false assumption.
It is extremely dangerous to be outside during an earthquake, as objects may fall off the façade of buildings, such as windows, architectural details, and so on, and produce severe damages and injuries.
Believe it or not, the risk of a building to collapse during an earthquake is very low, in spite of what the media is showing, so it is recommended to stay where you are until the earthquake stops.
There is another common belief that it is good to stand in a doorway during an earthquake.
Some believe that the walls are stronger in that particular area, so if a building will collapse you’ll be safe.
This may be true only if you live in an old house, where the house adobe is not reinforced.
In the case of modern homes, the doorway is no stronger than the rest of your house.
Even if you do live in an old house, staying in the doorway will not make you safer.
It will be hard for you to stand on your feet during an earthquake and the doorway will fail at protecting you from any falling objects.
Statistics show that falling objects are the most common cause of injuries during an earthquake; this is why the doorway is not such a good option.
So, how to protect yourself from an earthquake?
The method is called “drop, cover, and hold on”.
Once the earthquake starts, drop to your knees and put your hands on the ground.
This way you won’t risk falling or getting knocked down as the entire room is moving due to the earthquake.
If you see a desk or table nearby, take cover underneath it.
There are some that suggest staying next to a table or desk, in case the earthquake damages the building and makes the furniture collapse.
This is not true, as you have higher chances of survival if you take cover under a piece of furniture.
Even if the building does collapse, which happens very rarely, it was proven that people can survive with the help of furniture, as it prevents injuries provoked by falling objects and pieces coming off the building’s walls and windows.
Just be careful when moving toward a table or desk.
You should be ready to move with the building and not against it, in order to avoid injuries.
Until you reach a table or in case there’s none around you, protect your head and neck with your arm.
If you’re waiting for the room to move in the desired direction, so you can move under the table, put one arm over your neck and head.
If you don’t have where to hide, place both arms over your neck and head and stay low.
Continue sitting on your knees, in a bent position, in order to protect your vital organs.
Also, when possible, try to move away from windows and crawl next to an interior wall of the room.
This way you minimize the risks of getting injured by windows that get cracked and damaged.
How to prepare the house?
Some of the injuries caused during an earthquake are caused by the collapse of shelves and heavy objects, glass fragments, fires and gas leaks.
It is, therefore, worthwhile today to perform a few simple actions that can save lives:
• Stabilize libraries, TVs, and shelves, and strengthen their connections to the wall.
• Proper support of the solar and heating boilers, gas balloons, and air conditioners and compressors.
• Store toxic and flammable materials in a locked place away from a heat source.
• Place heavy objects in low places.
How to prepare a family emergency plan and emergency kit?
• In advance, in conjunction with the family members and in accordance with the instructions of behavior in an earthquake event, determine a safe place in the house and in the workplace that you will reach during an earthquake, for example, open space in a house with a ground floor a shelter or stairway in abuilding.
• Make sure that all members of the adult family know where the main power switches and the main water and gas faucets are, and how to close them.
• Establish an agreed upon place in an open area that will be used to meet with family members in case the earthquake occurs when you are not home.
In addition, a non-family contact should be established for communication in the event of a break in communication between family members.
• Have a family conversation on the subject and practice occasional family practice for earthquake preparedness.
What to do if you’re in bed when the earthquake starts?
Stay where you are and don’t move.
Put a pillow over your head for safety.
In case you are driving, you should pull over right away.
Make sure to set the car’s parking breaks.
Don’t get out of the car until the earthquake is over.
Make sure you’re not on a bridge, overpasses, and other hazards.
If a power line broke and got on your car during the earthquake, do not get out of the car until the power line is removed by a specialist, as there is the risk to get electrocuted.
In case you’re in the outdoors during an earthquake, move to a clear area where there are no trees, power lines, buildings, signs, and any other dangers that may move or collapse.
While staying at the beach:
If you are at the beach during an earthquake, immediately leave the beach for fear of a tsunami wave flooding it.
A strong and abrupt retreat is a sign of an approaching tsunami.
Stay away from the beach for at least one kilometer.
Those who can not leave the coastal area go up at least to the 4th floor of a nearby building.
It is important! After the earthquake, do not return to the damaged building and do not approach the beach.
On your way to the safe place, move away from the exterior walls of the house, from windows and shelves.
Do not use the elevator during and after vibration – you may get stuck inside it.
Do not stand under the lintel.
Do not enter an underground shelter.
If you are sitting in a wheelchair – secure it and cover your head (after you have reached a safe place).
When possible, disconnect the power and gas switches.
In case of an earthquake, being in an open area is the safest, however, if the earthquake started, it is best to stay where you are and don’t leave your room.
Stay on the ground so you won’t hurt yourself by falling and get under a table or furniture if possible.
Stay away from windows.
And a good first aid kit is always a smart thing to possess in your home.
I hope that now you know better how to protect yourself from an earthquake.