You Are At: AllSands Home > Health > Preparing and dealing with earthquakes
If you live in an area where earthquakes occur, do you know what to do in the event of this type of natural disaster happening? I hope so, because the unpredictability of when earthquakes occur means you should be prepared for them at any time. So there should be a planned preparation before earthquakes occur, as well as good knowledge of what to do during and after them.

1. BEFORE EARTHQUAKES

It is always wise to check that your home environment is safe as there is a fairly high likelihood that you or members of your family will be there when the earthquake occurs. This includes making sure anything attached to the wall or ceiling is secure, and moving any heavy or breakable items to the lowest place possible, to avoid them landing on someone’s head.
All flammable, toxic or caustic products should be placed securely in cupboards with latches on. Imagine getting your eyes covered in weed killer during the course of a quake. Not nice. It is also a good idea to do some basic checks throughout the house to guarantee safety, including checking all electric wiring and gas connections are safe and the structure of the house is sound.
Make sure each member of the household is aware of where in the house is safe in the event of a quake. Standing near to glass is hazardous, as it can shatter, as is standing in the middle of a room as the middle of the ceiling is least well supported and so most likely to cave in.

The next thing to do is make everybody aware of safe places to be outside the house. Again a strong element of common sense is involved. Stay away from any large structures, as they could well collapse. Also avoid going near electrical lines. They are also liable to fall and fry the unfortunate individual standing underneath.

To help make everyone as well prepared as possible, wherever they may be each person should always carry a disaster kit including essential medicines, food and water, a portable battery, can opener, and a flashlight.

2. DURING EARTHQUAKES

The essential thing to remember in all disasters and especially that of earthquakes is do not panic. The worse thing you can do if you are indoor when the earthquake strikes is to go outside, as you may well be hit by something when leaving the building! Far better to take cover under a sturdy table or near the edge of the room, grit your teeth and wait for the tremors to subside.
If you are outdoors when the earthquake strikes keep away from large structures and electric lines. This procedure will be familiar to everybody, providing they have been educated on such matters, as described above, before the earthquake occurs.
The third scenario is that you are in a moving vehicle. Again do not panic, but bring the vehicle to an immediate halt, and stay in it, unless near to any large unsafe structure, in which case you should move away from it. Do not set off again until the shaking has stopped, and then do so with great care avoiding bridges and other high-risk routes, where the tremors may have weakened structures.

3. AFTER EARTHQUAKES

Of immediate urgency following earthquakes is the need to tend to injured people, and to help rescue trapped people. Normal first aid rules apply to caring for the injured. That is, seriously injured people should not be moved at all until a fully trained paramedic or doctor arrives on the scene. This may not be possible in the event of the injured party being in severe immediate danger from falling debris.
Trapped people should be rescued with care. Aftershocks can occur causing extra damage destroying already weakened structures.
Earthquakes, although dangerous to everyone, are perhaps more so to those who are disabled, and the elderly or young. These groups of people should be thought of first.
Unfortunately earthquakes destroy many people’s homes. Even if your home does not look too badly damaged do not be tempted to return there unless given official clearance. When you have been given permission a thorough inspection of the house must be undertaken including the checking electrical gas and water supplies are all safe. Do not return to live in the house until this procedure has been carried out.

By adhering to these rules you will help to make the experience of earthquakes a little less scary, and have more chance of being alive after one has occurred!