After the earthquake stops, most people only know what to do during the emergency evacuation, but what about those times when you are at home or when you are on the road? Do you have to worry about aftershocks? How do you know if there is some damage to your property?
Here are practical tips on what to do to ensure safety after an earthquake.
- When you are asked to evacuate, whether you are in an apartment complex or office, you should stay where you are told to stay until the authorities give you permission to go.
- Stay away from damaged areas. Wait until the coast is clear before checking up on the damage. Expect aftershocks even after a moderate tremor. If you suspect that there is damage to your home, do not re-enter.
- If you need to call your loved ones to check on them, send a message instead to avoid communication jams. Make sure you have evacuated to a safe place before trying to contact anyone. Once things have calmed down, make plans for where you need to meet or pick up that person.
- If you need to leave your home for fear of structural damage. Make sure to take your emergency kit with you and some contact information. If you live in earthquake prone areas, this should be standard practice. Leave a written message so your family will know where to find you in case you can’t contact them.
- Do not try to turn on your appliances after an earthquake. If some are still plugged, turn off appliances and gadgets then unplug them before leaving the vicinity. Do not use open flame either if the electricity gets cut off. Use your flashlight instead.
- Immediately check for leaks in your kitchen if you are at home. Shut off the valves if you are using gas for cooking. If you smell fumes, make sure to leave the windows and doors open before evacuating. In case of fire, you should already know how to use a fire extinguisher to control it.
- Check yourself and others around you for injuries. If there is no medic around, use your first aid kit then contact emergency. Make calls only when it is an emergency.
- Do not use the toilet if you suspect that the lines may be damaged. You probably should not stay in a bathroom anyway.
- If water gets cut off, you can use water from melted ice cubes, toilet tanks (not bowl), water heater, and reserved water in your home.
- If you are in a building, do not use the elevators to get down. Use the stairs instead. This should be part of the emergency evacuation drill you learned.
- If you are on the road, park your car at the side so that there is enough space for emergency vehicles to pass through. Do not use your car and wait until the coast is clear.
- If you need to get updates, turn on the radio to find an emergency broadcast. You should at least have one source that does not need to use the internet or electricity in case those are not available.