How to Protect Yourself and Your House from Earthquake
There is hardly anything that scares people more than the forces of Nature. What’s your first thought when you see photos of destructive earthquakes on some island far away? ‘We’re lucky it didn’t happen here.’ Unfortunately, no place on Earth is completely safe.
Although you cannot avoid a terrible earthquake when it happens, there is something you can do to prevent great damage to your home, family and yourself. In the first section of this article, you will read about preparation measures that will minimize the damage to your home. Then, we’ll offer tips on how to protect yourself during and after an earthquake.
Preparing an Earthquake-Safe Home
Secure heavy objects and potential hazards.
Do you have bookcases, shelves and other contents that are heavy enough to trap you or hurt you if they fell on you? Think about other items that could fall: TV, PC, microwave, blender, water heater… Keep everything in place with flexible nylon straps and buckles. Don’t forget to secure the kitchen cabinets; the doors can open during earthquakes, so the entire content will fall out.
Your garage is full of potential threats. If all those shelves and tools started falling, your vehicles would suffer damage. You don’t want to find yourself in such place during an earthquake, since you would also be exposed to hazardous leaks and spills.
Have an emergency kit!
You should keep an emergency kit that provides 3-day supplies for you and your family. In addition to water, you should also store food that doesn’t have to be cooked or refrigerated. Add a flashlight, first aid supplies, blankets, prescription medications, cash, insurance policies, and everything else you consider important for your survival.
Impoving structure of the building
Check the structure of your building. Do you notice structures that are not safely attached to their foundations? Are there any weak walls? It doesn’t matter whether you are renting the place or you own it; you should do everything to make it as safe as possible in case of seismic activity.
How to Protect Yourself in Case of an Earthquake
Do not panic!
‘Stay calm’ is a useless advice to give, but you should at least try to react as safely as possible. Do not move towards the doors, windows, skylights, buildings, and other things that could fall and hurt you.
Find a shelter!
If you’re in your home, you can find shelter under the table or another piece of furniture that would protect you from falling objects. If you find yourself outdoors, move away from the buildings, electrical lines and trees, and go to an open area. If you are driving, control your vehicle carefully and bring it away from traffic. Don’t park under power lines, under bridges or near signs that could fall. Stay inside the vehicle. You can continue driving when the shaking stops.
Protect your head!
Once you find a safe position, lower your body, cover your head and neck with your arms (use a bag if you carry one) and stay like that until the shaking ends. Remember: you should not leave your shelter during the earthquake!
What to Do After the Earthquake?
Get your survival kit!
If the damage in your home is serious, try to take your survival kit and leave the building after the earthquake. Aftershocks are always possible after the initial strike. If local authorities issue evacuation orders, follow them!
Repair the damage to your home
If the walls and other parts of your home suffered damage, repair it after the earthquake. Do not use the fireplace until you make sure the chimney is safe.
Take care of your family!
This is the time to remain calm and make sure everyone is protected. Check if anyone suffered injuries and use your emergency kit to attend them. If someone is seriously injured or trapped by a falling object, do not move them and ask for professional medical help.
Remember to help people around you as much as possible. If a comforting word is all you can offer, it will be more than enough!