Earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike without warning. Therefore, it is important to know what to do when one occurs so you can react quickly. Follow these steps in order to be prepared and remain safe before, during and after an earthquake.
Before an Earthquake
- Pack a small emergency kit to be kept at home and work. Include items such as food, water, toiletries, a flashlight and batteries to last up to 72 hours. Make sure it is portable in case you have to move to another location.
- Review the Emergency Action Plan as outlined in your employee safety manual and devise a quick exit from your home in the event of an emergency.
- Develop a plan for reuniting with your family after the disaster.
During an Earthquake
- If you are outside, move to a clear area free of power lines, signage or trees that may fall on you.
- If you are driving, pull over until the shaking subsides. Avoid overpasses and power lines.
- If you are inside, stay there.
- Seek immediate shelter under a heavy desk or table, or brace yourself inside a door frame or against an inside wall, especially if you are in a high-rise building.
- Stay at least 15 feet away from windows.
- If shaking causes the desk or table to move, be sure to move with it.
- If you use a wheelchair, lock the wheels if possible and cover your head with your arms.
- Resist the urge to panic. Organize your thoughts. Think as clearly as possible, and anticipate the sights and sounds that may accompany an earthquake.
- If you are safely able to do so, assist any co-workers or family members that need extra help.
Don't be surprised if the electricity goes out, if fire or elevator alarms begin ringing, or if the sprinkler system is activated. Expect to hear noise from broken glass, creaking walls and falling objects.
Immediately After an Earthquake
- Remain in the same "safe" location for several minutes after the earthquake, in case there are any aftershocks.
- Unless absolutely necessary, do not attempt to evacuate or leave your area until it is safe to do so.
- Check for injuries and administer necessary first aid. Recognize and assist co-workers and/or family members who are suffering from shock or emotional distress.
- Implement your survival plan. Establish a temporary shelter if rescue teams are expected or delayed.
- Use a stairway once it is deemed safe to exit your building or home.
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