Friday, March 12, 2010

Drop, Cover, Hold On

This week’s 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile is a reminder that we, also, live in an earthquake hazard zone. Would you know what to do if the ground started shaking right now?

When you feel an earthquake, DROP to the ground. Stay away from windows, bookcases, pictures and mirrors, hanging plants and other heavy objects that may fall. Beware of falling materials such as plaster, ceiling tiles and bricks that may come loose during the quake. Seek COVER under a sturdy piece of furniture like a desk or table, and stay there until the shaking stops. HOLD ON to the desk or table that you are under and if it moves, move with it.

If you are not near a table or desk, move against an interior wall, and protect your head with your arms. Do not go into a doorway! Not only can the shaking cause the door to
swing shut forcefully, but many interior door frames are not load-bearing.

§ HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS – Stay away from the elevators and don’t be surprised if the fire alarm and/or sprinkler systems come on.

§ OUTDOORS – Move to a clear area away from buildings, poles, power lines, signs, and trees.

§ NEAR BUILDINGS – Beware of falling bricks, glass, plaster and other debris. Duck into an entryway and protect your head with your arms.

§ DRIVING – Pull to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.

§ STORE OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACE – Do not rush for the exit. Move away from shelves and displays that may fall over or contain objects that could fall on you, then drop,
cover, and hold on.

§ WHEELCHAIR – If you are in a wheelchair, stay in it. Move to cover, if possible (i.e., an interior wall), lock your wheels, and protect your head with your arms.

§ KITCHEN – Move away from the refrigerator, stove and overhead cupboards, then drop, cover, and hold on. [Have you anchored appliances and installed security latches on
cupboards to reduce hazards? Check out our information on non-structural mitigation.]

§ THEATER OR STADIUM – If possible, get on the floor between the rows and cover your head with your arms, otherwise stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms.
Do not try to leave until the shaking stops; then leave in an orderly manner.

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