Sun | Aug 20, 2017

What to do during an earthquake

Published:Thursday | January 22, 2015 | 1:00 AM

Earthquakes can happen at anytime, anywhere. There is a chance, when an earthquake hits, that you may have a few seconds between the realisation that this is an earthquake and the time when the shaking stops.

This is when your advanced planning becomes important. If you know what to expect and what to do, you can make the right decisions that may mean the difference between injury, life or death.

Take Cover in the Nearest Space

Take cover where you are. If you are outside during an earthquake take cover there, do not rush indoors or vice versa.

Protect yourself from things that may fall on top of you, whether it is broken glass or a whole building. Once you take over in your safe place, stay there until the shaking stops; earthquakes seldom last longer than a minute although it seems longer.

Duck, Cover and Hold

Practice the Duck, Cover and Hold procedure until it becomes second nature.

Duck: get under a sturdy piece of furniture, making yourself into a little ball (do not duck under beds or other objects that could collapse).

Cover: keep your head and eyes protected from falling or flying objects. Cover your head with one hand.

Hold: with your other hand, hold on to the piece of furniture. If it moves, move with it. Stay under shelter until you are sure the shaking has stopped.

Cover and Hold

If you cannot shelter under furniture or a doorway, move against an interior wall if you are indoors, duck, put your arms over your head and across the back of your neck for protection. If there is a book, pillow, tray or other protection at hand, hold it over your head and neck.

It is better to break your arms than to have something fall on your head or neck, which will probably result in unconsciousness, paralysis, brain damage or death.

DoorWay for Protection

If you are not near any sturdy furniture, take cover in a sturdy doorway. The extra construction around a door frame makes it one of the strongest parts of a building. Also, there is rarely anything over a doorway to fall on you.

Stand in a doorway for protection

Also, beware of the door that can swing back and forth during an earthquake. Brace yourself and try to hold off the door with your shoulder or hip and hold on tight, feet spread wide apart for balance, leaning across to hold on to the opposite side.