An earthquake is a shaking of the ground created by the sudden breaking and movement of large sections (tectonic plates) of the earth's rocky outermost crust. Most earthquakes occur along the fault lines when the plates slide past each other or collide against each other.
It can send out shock waves that may be powerful enough to alter the surface of the Earth, open cracks in the earth and if that wasn't bad enough it can cause the destruction or damage of buildings and landslides, snow avalanches, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
Step 1: What to Do Before an Earthquake?
1. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, and extra batteries at home.
2. Learn first aid.
3. Learn how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity.
4. Make up a plan of where to meet your family after an earthquake.
5. Don't leave heavy objects on shelves (they'll fall during a quake).
6. Learn the earthquake plan at your school or workplace.
Step 2: What to Do During an Earthquake
1. Stay calm! If you're indoors, stay inside. If you're outside, stay outside.
2. If you're indoors, stand against a wall near the center of the building, stand in a doorway, or crawl under heavy furniture (a desk or table). Stay away from windows and outside doors.
3. If you're outdoors, stay in an open space away from power lines or anything that might fall. Stay away from buildings (stuff might fall off the building or the building could fall on you).
4. Don't use matches, candles, or any flame. Broken gas lines and fire don't mix.
5. If you're in a car, stop the car and stay inside the car until the earthquake stops.
6. Don't use elevators (they'll probably get stuck anyway).
Step 3: What to Do After an Eartquake?
1. Check yourself and others for injuries. Provide first aid for anyone who needs it.
2. Check water, gas, and electric lines for damage. If any are damaged, shut off the valves. Check for the smell of gas. If you smell it, open all the windows and doors, leave immediately, and report it to the authorities (use someone else's phone).
3. Turn on the radio. Don't use the phone unless it's an emergency.
4. Stay out of damaged buildings.
5. Be careful around broken glass. Wear boots or sturdy shoes to keep from cutting your feet.
6. Be careful of chimneys (they may fall on you).
7. Stay away from beaches. Tsunamis sometimes hit after the ground has stopped shaking.
8. Stay away from damaged areas.
9. If you're at school or work, follow the emergency plan or the instructions of the person in charge.
10. Expect aftershocks.
Step 4: References
Consorcio Desastres Naturales (Natural Disasters ) - http://www.consorcio.cl/aprenda_de/emergencia_terremoto.asp - 12/10/2013