Home Suffers Earthquake

Problem: Home has suffered stress and damage from earth quake.

Background: For what to do during an earthquake. After an earthquake has struck, be prepared for additional earthquake shocks called “aftershocks.” Though most of these are smaller than the main shock, some may be large enough to cause additional damage. Respond to requests for help from police, fire fighting, civil defence, and relief organizations, but do not go into dam aged areas unless your help has been requested. Don’t go sightseeing, especially in beach and water front areas where seismic sea waves may strike. Keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles. Cooperate fully with public safety officials. (In some areas you may be arrested for get ting in the way of disaster operations.)

What to do: Check your family, those around you, and others in your neighborhood for injuries. Don’t attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Don’t use your phone except for genuine emergency calls. Use a radio for damage reports and information. Don’t share rumors or un verified stories; they often do great harm after disasters. Wear shoes, if possible, in all areas near debris or broken glass. Check for fires or fire hazards. Avoid downed power lines or objects touched by downed wires. Do not enter the home or neighborhood until approved by the authorities.

Special advice: When re-entering the neighborhood or home, check for damage to utility lines and appliances. Do not use matches, lighters, or open-flame appliances until you are sure that there are no gas leaks. Don’t operate electrical switches or appliances if gas leaks are suspected. If gas leaks exist, shut off the main gas valve. If there is damage to home wiring, shut off the electrical power. Report damage to the utility companies and follow their instructions. Approach chimneys with caution, first checking them from a distance. Check entire chimney lengths for cracks and damage, particularly in the attic and at the roof line. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire. Check closets and storage shelf areas. Open closet and cupboard doors carefully and watch for falling objects. Check to see that sewage lines are intact before flushing toilets. Clean up spilled medicines, drugs, and other potentially harmful materials.

Helpful hint: Check your freezer and plan to use foods that will spoil quickly if the power is shut off. Don’t eat or drink anything from open containers near shattered glass. If the water is off, you can get emergency water from water heaters, toilet tanks, melted ice cubes, and canned vegetables.