An earthquake is a shaking of the ground caused by the sudden breaking and movement of large sections (tectonic plates) of the earth's rocky outermost crust. The edges of the tectonic plates are marked by faults (or fractures). Most earthquakes occur along the fault lines when the plates slide past each other or collide against each other.
Here we give you 4 steps of how to act before, during and after an earthquake.
Step 1: How to Be Prepared
1. Electricity, water, gas and telephones may not be working after an earthquake. The police and fire departments are usually in high demand. You should be prepared to fend for yourself for at least three days, preferably for a week.
2. it’s also a good idea to decide beforehand how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake and to conduct in-home practice drills. You might choose an out-of-the-area friend or relative that family members can call to check on you.
3. Securing water heaters, major appliances and tall, heavy furniture to prevent them from toppling are prudent steps. So, too, are storing hazardous or flammable liquids, heavy objects and breakables on low shelves or in secure cabinets.
4. Discuss earthquake insurance with your agent. Depending on your financial situation and the value of your home, it may be worthwhile.
Step 2: During an Earthquake
1. If you're outside, get into the open. Stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you.
2. If you're driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs and power lines. When you resume driving, watch out for road hazards.
3. If you're in a mountainous area, beware of the potential for landslides. Likewise, if you're near the ocean, be aware that tsunamis are associated with large earthquakes. Get to high ground.
4. If you’re in a crowded public place, avoid panicking and do not rush for the exit. Stay low and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
Step 3: After an Earthquake
1. Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there's evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box.
2. If the phone is working, only use it in case of emergency. Likewise, avoid driving if possible to keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.
3. Be aware that items may fall out of cupboards or closets when the door is opened, and also that chimneys can be weakened and fall with a touch. Check for cracks and damage to the roof and foundation of your home.
4. Listen to the radio for important information and instructions. Remember that aftershocks, sometimes large enough to cause damage in their own right, generally follow large quakes.
Step 4: Important Things to Know
1. Drop down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquakes knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
2. Cover your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won't fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
3. Hold on to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
Step 5: Important Things to Know
The Triangle of Life
The theory advocates methods of protection very different from the mainstream advice of "drop, cover, and hold on" method widely
supported by reputable agencies. In particular, the method's developer and key proponent, Doug Copp, recommends that at the onset of a major earthquake, building occupants should seek shelter near solid items that will provide a protective space, a void or space that could prevent injury or permit survival in the event of a major structural failure, a "pancake collapse", and specifiable advises against sheltering under tables. Forming a triangle to avoid falling things about the person.