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.

Earthquake Threatens Home

Problem: Home is in earthquake area, or is threatened by earthquake.

Background: Accurate predictions of earthquakes cannot be made. In the United States, earthquakes occur most often in the western states, but can occur at widely scattered locations across the country. Most casual ties result from falling objects and debris, and are caused by partial building collapse, flying glass, over turned fixtures and other furniture and appliances, fires from broken chimneys or broken gas lines, fallen power lines, and drastic actions taken in moments of panic. Consider the suggestions below for measures you can take before and during an earth quake. If your home has suffered earthquake damage.

What to do: Besides supporting community efforts to prepare for an earthquake, check your home for earthquake hazards. Bolt down or provide other strong support for water heaters and other gas appliances, because fires can result from broken gas lines and appliance connections. (Use flexible connections wherever possible.) Put large, heavy objects on lower shelves and securely fasten shelves to walls. Brace or anchor high or top-heavy objects. When building or remodeling, always follow codes to minimize earth quake hazards.
Keep a flashlight and battery- powered radio in the home, ready for use at all times. Keep family immunizations up to date. Show your family how to turn off electricity, gas, and water at main switches and valves. Hold occasional home earth quake drills so your family knows how to avoid injury and how to remain level-headed during an earth quake. Also have responsible family members receive first aid instruction because medical facilities may be overloaded immediately following a severe earthquake (check with your local Red Cross for training seminars).

Special advice: During an earth quake, try to remain calm, reassure others and think through the consequences of any action. If indoors, watch for falling plaster, bricks, light fixtures, and other objects such as high bookcases, cabinets, and shelves or other furniture that might slide or topple. Stay away from windows, mirrors, and chimneys. If in danger, crawl under a table, desk, or bed; move to a corner away from windows; or stand in a strong doorway.
Usually it is best not to run outside.
However, when outside, avoid high buildings, walls, power poles, and other objects that could fall. Don’t run through the streets. If possible, move to an open area away from hazards. If you are in a car, stop in the safest place available, preferably an open area.

Helpful hint: If an earthquake strikes while you are in a high-rise building, get under a desk. Don’t dash for exits because stairways may be broken and jammed with people, and power for elevators may fail. In crowded stores, don’t rush for a doorway since hundreds of others may have the same idea. If you must leave, choose your exit carefully.