Picture this: you are in a library silently scanning books, looking for the best references for your research work when you suddenly feel a slight tremble on your table. You look around, noticing that people are also in confusion of what is going on. Soon after, your vision tilts as books from shelves start to hit the ground and you realize that a full blown quake is imminent. You unconsciously run towards the door as people around you did too. Looking back, debris from above begins to fall, hitting and ruining the almost perfect lineup of the library’s bookshelves. You think to yourself, “this might be it.”
Earthquakes—one of the most perilous and menacing natural disasters that may occur. Sometimes they are forecasted, but most of the time they are not. According to experts, earthquakes may be inevitable so the least we could do is to prepare and educate ourselves when they strike. Here are some tips to keep in mind before, during, and after an earthquake.
PREPARATIONS BEFORE THE RUMBLE (Cub and Boy/Girl Scout training are truly helpful after all)
1. Prepare your emergency supplies for disasters
a. Fire extinguisher
With the havoc wreaked by a quake, fire is definitely a possibility. Remember this as no one wants to be unprepared for a double jeopardy. Having working fire extinguishers around the vicinity will surely prepare you better for this situation.
b. Battery powered radio (and extra batteries)
If worst comes to worst, electricity will not be available in your area. To keep updated with the latest updates in your locale during such a disaster, make sure to have a battery powered radio ready. Keep in mind to also have extra batteries at hand.
Candles are great for illumination during power outages caused by storms but they will not be as effective in earthquakes. Aftershocks are sure to come after the initial quake and may cause fire by toppling over lit candles. In this situation, flashlights will be a safer and handier option for light.
Before an earthquake, make sure to stock up on emergency supplies including water, food, and other basic necessities to meet your needs as well as your family’s. According to experts, these supplies should be good to last least 3 days. Canned foods that provide high energy—such as nuts, trail mix, and power bars—are ideal to have in storage; avoid food that are high in salt as it induces thirst. Do not forget to include important medicines and first-aid essentials to your supplies. Cash may also come in handy so keep some on hand as well. Make sure that these supplies are stored in areas that will be easily accessible during a disaster.
2. Create a disaster management plan
a. Know the best places for cover in your building
Be proactive! Survey places where you usually stay in, such as your workplace and home, for areas where you are likely to be protected from falling debri in case of an earthquake or aftershocks. You could also cover under sturdy furniture like tables or desks. Avoid places that are prone to falling debri such as near glasses, mirror, lights, and heavy furniture.
b. Know the location of exit routes and open spaces
When running for your life, it would be better if you knew beforehand where to run to so you can get there as fast as possible. Educate yourself on where the nearest exit routes are; locate also the nearest open spaces that are away from electrical/telephone lines, tall buildings, overpasses, etc.
c. Choose a rendezvous point for you and your family or an emergency communication plan
Worrying about yourself is nothing compared to worrying about your family members. Talk and decide among your family members on a rallying point where everybody should meet in case of an earthquake. At these times, technology can fail us so do not rely too much on your phones.
d. Check for hazards
Shelves could be a culprit to injuries during an earthquake so make sure that they are securely fastened to walls in case of a disaster. Heavy objects should also be placed on lower areas while breakable items should be kept in cabinets with locks (gravity does not know risk reduction). Check also for broken or worn out electrical wirings and gas connections that may induce fire.
STAYING ALIVE DURING THE TREMOR (Panicking is the easiest thing to do… but don’t)
Drop, Cover, and Hold
The three magic words everyone is familiar with. We are all familiar with the drop, cover, and hold procedure as we have been constantly bombarded by these words during earthquake drills at schools and offices. Little did we know that in the moments of an actual full blown quake, these three words could potentially save our lives.
Duck and drop down to the floor. Heed cover under a sturdy table or your desk. You could also move against an interior wall while protecting your head with your arms. Stay away from windows, glasses, mirrors, and tall furniture. Hold your position until the trembling stops. Do not run while there still shaking as you might be injured by falling debris. When the shaking stops, run to the nearest and safest open space because dangerous aftershocks are sure to follow.
When outdoors, move to an area away from trees, huge signage, buildings, and electrical poles and wires. If you are caught in an earthquake while driving, pull over to the side of the road. Steer clear of overpasses or flyovers. Remain inside your vehicle until the shaking completely stops.
SURVIVING THE LAST STRAW (You’re almost through!)
Check for injuries and hazards near you. Reconnect (and remain connected as much as possible) with your family members and follow through on your emergency communication plan.
Do not forget your disaster emergency supplies! For a reinforced survival preparation, the COLEMAN EMERGENCY GO KIT is your go-to kit. It comes with an ilumistick glow stick, emergency blanket, 5-in-1 survival whistle, emergency poncho, camper’s utensil set, camp towel, camper’s tool, headlamp, and splash proof pouches. With the Coleman Emergency Go Kit, you would be as ready and as prepared for an emergency as you will ever be.
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