The literary meaning of earthquake is the sudden shaking movement of the surface of earth along with everything on it. But technically or as per geologists, it means that :
The earth’s crust, upper layer, consists of 15 to 20 moving tectonic plates. The earthquake happens when the stress of the edge of the tectonic plates overcomes the friction. In this process the energy is released in waves, which travel through the earth crust and are responsible for the shaking of the earth.
We feel this shaking and call it an earthquake.
The intensity and size of affected area of the earthquake varies, it can be quite weak (may not be felt) or to a strong enough to destroy the whole city.
Among others there are 3 main reasons of earthquake :
- Induced Earthquake (Human activity like tunnel construction, filling reservoirs etc.)
- Volcanic Earthquake
- Collapse Earthquake
Earthquakes can cause fire, tsunamis, landslides, tossing of bigger objects and much more.
Earthquakes can be the most destructive natural disaster. It strikes without or may be with limited warning so taking precautions is the most appropriate method of survival.
There are three parts of preparation here:
- To prepare and ready yourself to survive (and others) in earthquake,
- Course of action during an earthquake and
- What to do or not do after an earthquake
- Teach all members of your family about the safety plan during a disaster like earthquake.
- There should be an emergency plan, which must include out of city or state contact, decided meeting place in case you are separated etc
- There should be an emergency kit which must have a charged flashlight with additional batteries, a whistle, fire extinguisher (optional), water bottles, medicines etc
- Always make essential purchases and with the passage of time build your supplies.
- Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.
- Consider if possible then get an earthquake Insurance Policy as the standard insurance policy does not cover the earthquake damage.
Course of action to ride out an earthquake :
- Continuously assess your surroundings for earthquake damages
- Try to shut down cooking appliances to avoid the fire if you have time but don’t make it a priority.
- Grab something to shield your head at the time of an ongoing earthquake.
- Quickly find a spot away from big or breakable objects like glass, exterior walls, trees and utility poles etc.
- Crouch and be ready for any unforeseen.
- If you are in a crowded place, do not rush to the exits. Help each other to get out of the premises.
- If you are in a vehicle slowly apply brakes and stop it to avoid accidents.. Stop it in the open and come outside.
- If you are in a bed and have no time to walk out then turn your face down and put a pillow on your head.
- If you are inside your house and feeling strong earth shaking and no time to go out then crawl under a desk or table. Stay bent, cover your head with your arms and away from windows.
- Stop somewhere safe till the shaking of the earth stops.
After the Earthquake
- If you are inside the house then smell or hear the gas leak if any and take everybody to a safe place first.
- Check yourself and help nearby people and try to reduce their tension and stress by talking.
- Avoid commonly touched surfaces and wash your hands, better sanitize them.
- Expect the aftershocks and be ready for it.
- If you are in a damaged or earthquake affected building then get out of there and try not to enter any such building without proper precautions.
- If you are trapped then don’t shout to call for help, it is a risk inhaling the dust.
- First of all, cover your mouth and nose with your shirt or any clean cloth to avoid the dust.
- Bang a pipe or any nearby wall if trapped somewhere.
- .Go to higher grounds if you are near a coastal area and a tsunami is expected and avoid running water as it may contain hazardous material.
- Do not try to remove heavy debris by yourself and keep children away where clean up work is ongoing.A