Our deepest sympathies lie with the people of Nepal. We too have suffered causalities in UP and Bihar. As rescue missions continue, this article, I agree, comes a little too late, acting in retrospection seems to be our thing. Nevertheless here are a few do’s, don’ts, other safety tips and preventive measures for dealing with earthquakes.
- Have an earthquake readiness plan.
- Consult a professional to learn how to make your home sturdier, such as bolting bookcases to wall studs, installing strong latches on cupboards, and strapping the water heater to wall studs.
- Locate a place in each room of the house that you can go to in case of an earthquake. It should be a spot where nothing is likely to fall on you.
- Keep a supply of canned food, an up-to-date first aid kit, 3 gallons (11.4 liters) of water per person, dust masks and goggles, and a working battery-operated radio and flashlights.
- Know how to turn off your gas and water mains.
If Shaking Begins
- Do not panic, stay calm
- Drop down; take cover under a desk or table and hold on.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit.
- Stay away from bookcases or furniture that can fall on you.
- Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.
- If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.
- If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.
- If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place. Stay in the car until the shaking stops.
After the earthquake:
- Check for casualties and seek assistance if needed.
- If you suspect a gas leak, open windows and shut off the main valve. Leave the building and report the gas leaks. Do not light a fire or use the telephone at the site.
- Turn off the main valve if water supply is damaged.
- Do not use the telephone except to report an emergency or to obtain assistance.
- Stay out of severely damaged buildings as aftershocks may cause them to collapse. Report any building damage to the authorities.
- As a precaution against tsunamis, stay away from shores, beaches and low-lying coastal areas. If you are there, move inland or to higher grounds. The upper floors of high, multi-storey, reinforced concrete building can provide safe refuge if there is no time to quickly move inland or to higher grounds.