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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nepal Earthquake Kills Hundreds and Levels Buildings in Capital - Disaster Preparedness - Earthquakes

Nepal Earthquake Kills Hundreds and Levels Buildings in Capital - NYTimes.com







Disaster Preparedness - Earthquakes

 

In the event of an earthquake, there is no better way to avoid
injury and death than preparing the home and knowing what damage
earthquakes cause and how they do it. Every year, thousands of people
die as a direct result of earthquakes--but not necessarily because of
the movement of the ground beneath them. In fact, these sorts of deaths
are quite rare.



It is more common to die because of a lack of
preparation: people don't know where the safest place to be is during an
earthquake, the community isn't prepared, the buildings aren't safe, or
there isn't any good food or water to support communities after the
earthquake takes out electricity and makes it unsafe to go outside
looking for food.



Knowing all the facts about earthquakes and all
the recommendations by experts will not only help save lives; it can
protect homes and businesses, result in fewer injuries, and lessen the
number of people the government and emergency rescuers will have to
save.



First, people should understand that earthquakes come with
little and often no warning. Seismic activity is difficult to detect
until it is actually on the surface, causing damage. People will often
get no warning at all, except for the standard declaration to be
prepared for an earthquake, particularly if people live near a fault
line, or in an area with a lot of seismic activity.



States like
California, Alaska, and Hawaii are of course notorious for their
earthquakes. But lesser known states like Nevada, Washington, and even
Utah and Oregon are in the list of the top ten states for seismic
activity. Basically, those who live in the western U.S. are more likely
to be affected by seismic activity than those further east. (Though
there are a few exceptions--check USGS.gov to see the seismic activity
of each state.)



And since an earthquake can and will strike
anywhere and at any time (there's no such thing as an earthquake
season), people need to prepared themselves as soon as possible.



As
previously stated, the first thing people should do is prepare
themselves and their homes. First, check for hazards around the home.
These can include light fixtures not braced to the ceiling and walls,
cracks in the foundation or ceiling, large, heavy, or breakable objects
on high, uncovered shelves, or pictures and mirrors near furniture,
among others.



Be sure to fix these things before an earthquake actually occurs, or there could be serious damage and even injury done.



Next,
identify safe places around the home and develop a plan for everyone in
the household. The safest place to be is indoors, under steady
furniture (like a table or desk) or against an inside wall, and away
from glass. People who are outdoors when an earthquake occurs should do
their best to get away from buildings and into an open area.



Once
there, they should stay there until they have been told by officials
that it is safe to move. The whole household should understand what to
do once they have found their safe places in which to wait out the
earthquake. Just like in a fire, where the life-saving mantra is "Stop,
Drop, and Roll," for an earthquake, it's: "Drop, Cover, and Hold On."



Families
being separated during an earthquake is a very real possibility, with
parents at work, and children out and about at school and friends'
houses. That's why everyone in the household should be aware of a
meeting place in the neighborhood where everyone will reunite after the
earthquake.

It's also a good idea to establish an out-of-state
contact for the family to communicate with, since people nearby may not
have any communication devices that work. Finally, just as schools
practice earthquake drills to prepare their students for the disaster,
families should have these every six months or so, just to keep
everyone's memory fresh.



Once a plan has been set, next it is
important to have a kit of emergency supplies. This is crucial in any
emergency, but in an earthquake, where roads and communications could be
destroyed for as long as several weeks, it is vital that people are
self-sustaining.



It may not even be safe to go outside because of power lines, gas mains, and other dangerous services


Each emergency kit should have a first aid kit
[http://www.thereadystore.com/emergency-first-aid], complete with
medications (both prescription and over-the-counter items for pain and
cleaning wounds), bandages, and other essentials.



These essentials
include things like scissors, thermometers, splinting materials, and
many others. A standard first aid kit should have all of these things,
so people won't have to worry about where to find and store all of it.



Authorities
also recommend that people have a survival kit for their home and
automobile. These kits would include things like tools and supplies,
sleeping materials, alternative shelter, and light and communication.



The
automobile kit includes these things, plus important auto supplies like
jumper cables, ropes for towing, and a map and compass, among others.
Basically, it is important to plan for any possibility since earthquakes
are unpredictable and sometimes causes damage that no one could have
foreseen.

In the case of becoming trapped, it is also crucial to
have some food stored as well as some water. If the earthquake is large
enough, FEMA and other emergency organizations will not be able to free
all the survivors in a few days.



People may have to become more
self-reliant if they want to survive an earthquake. Experts recommend
having at least two weeks' work of nonperishable food and water stored
if they want to be prepared for any possible emergency.



Once
someone is prepared for an earthquake, the actual event is much less
terrifying than it could be. When indoors, people should remember to
Drop, Cover, and Hold on to any secure, sturdy object. Stay away from
glass, windows, elevators, and light fixtures.



Do not attempt to
go outdoors until well after the shaking has stopped, since most
earthquake-related deaths are a result of falling debris from buildings.
When outdoors, get away from buildings as soon as possible, as well as
any power lines, street lights, or other monuments that could cause
damage. Stay in the open and do not try to enter a building until
authorities say that it is secure.



If someone is in a car when the
earthquake occurs, they should pull over as soon as safety permits and
stay there. Exiting the vehicle will only result in greater injury.
Don't stop under or near buildings, overpasses, or things like trees or
power lines. And finally, if someone does become trapped under debris,
they should stay calm. Blow a whistle if possible, but do not light a
match to get rescuers' attention.



That can result in a fire if
there are any dangerous spilled chemicals; and if there is that much
debris, chances are good that there will be. The person trapped should
cover their mouth and nose with a piece of cloth to limit the amount of
dust they breathe in, and they should tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers
can find them.



After the shaking stops, first check oneself and
those nearby for any injuries. If someone is seriously injured, don't
move them unless they are in danger of being injured further. Do give
first aid whenever possible. Next, check the house or other buildings
for damage. Put out fires and turn off the gas if anything smells
strange or if there is a hissing sound.



Finally, everyone should
expect aftershocks (every time there is one, be sure to repeat the same
drill: Drop, Cover, and Hold On) and be constantly listening to the
radio or some other form of emergency broadcasting so they can know when
the earthquake is officially over and when it is safe to go indoors
again.

 




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