Earthquakes are one of the natural disasters that frequently occur. For us in Indonesia, earthquakes occurred almost daily in various places with different scales. About a year ago, almost every day I always received a short messenger service from BMKG informs about the earthquake that occurred in various locations in Indonesia.
In general, earthquake resulted by the release of energy generated by the pressure caused by the slab (the earth’s crust) that are moving. The longer the pressure will further enlarge so as to achieve the state where the pressure is no longer tolerated by the outskirts of the slab, that’s when the earthquake happened. Earthquakes can occur at any time anywhere and until today scientifically predictions cannot yet be made to a specific day or month, therefore, earthquake preparedness is a must for all of us.
We may have often received training and simulation about the things to do when an earthquake occurs. In this writing, I just try to give simple tips which may useful for us.
What should we prepare at home?
1. Check the condition of our home.
- Glassware should be placed in the lower and closed.
- Wardrobe and heavy items should be placed tightly to the wall.
- Photographs frames, paintings, mirrors or the like should not be hung on the wall above the bed, chair, sofa or glassware.
- Check whether the lamps have been firmly attached.
- Check if there are damaged roofs, cracked walls or broken windows. If yes, fix it immediately.
2. Preparing emergency supplies.
- Ensure to have adequate drinking water and food supplies (preferably canned food or biscuits or instant noodles).
- Prepare flashlights, batteries, candles and matches if the power goes out.
- Prepare the necessary medicines.
- Prepare a list of contacts that are needed, such as hospital, police or other emergency numbers and family / relatives who do not live at the same home.
- Prepare enough cash, ID card and securing the important papers or valuables goods.
3. Identify a safe place.
- Under the tables or bed that are strong enough.
4. Improve our knowledge and all family members on how to react in the event of an earthquake. If necessary, do a simple simulation with the whole family.
5. Find out the nearest evacuation place.
6. Attend the meeting or evacuation briefing and first aid training if possible.
What should we do in our homes?
1. Do not panic and do not run away from home (remain indoors).
2. Get down and touch the floor, looking for shelter under a tables or bed that are strong enough and wait until the shaking stops.
3. If you are in bed, cover your head with a pillow. If at all possible get moving toward under the bed or go to the nearest safe side close to the wall in the building elbows.
4. Stay away from glass, mirrors, hanging items on walls or other items that easily fall.
5. Do not touch electrical switches or other sources because of the possibility of shorting.
6. Remain indoors/in the home until the shaking stops and it’s safe.
What should we do if we are outside the homes?
1. Stay away from buildings, trees, street lights, electricity and telephone poles, billboards and so on.
2. Try to find an open area and remain outside in a safe place until the shaking stops and it’s safe.
3. If you’re in the car or being on a motorcycle, immediately pulled over and stopped. Avoid stopping near or under trees, buildings, bridges, street lights, electricity and telephone poles, billboards and so on. Continue driving until the shaking stops and it is safe, avoid over the bridges or other obstacles that were damaged by the earthquake.
4. Do not use the elevator if we were in office buildings, shopping centers, theaters or other places that have an elevator.
5. If trapped in an elevator, press all buttons and get out when the elevator stops. If interphone available in the elevator, immediately contact the building manager.
6. If you are in the train, hold on to the pole so you will not fall if the train suddenly stopped and do not panic, follow the instructions and information by the railway officials.
What should we do after the earthquake?
1. Stay alert in case of second earthquake, sometimes the second quake more powerful from the first.
2. Monitor latest situation from television or radio, listen to the emergency response if any.
3. Use the phone for emergency calls.
4. Stay away from damaged or cracked area.
5. Stay away from the location that smells of hazardous liquid like gasoline, kerosene or other chemicals.
6. Check if there is a leaking gas, if there is a smell of gas immediately out of the house / building.
7. Help the injured victims, especially children, the elderly or the disabled. Give first aid correctly. Do not move seriously injured victims to avoid a more severe injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible.