Posts Tagged With: earthquake

Earthquake Preparedness – Simple Tips

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.

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Disaster Mitigation

We have seen before that disaster mitigation is the action or steps taken to reduce the impact of disasters.

Mitigasi Banjir

We may still remember about floods occurred in Jakarta-Indonesia in early 2013. Water flooded into several Jakarta neighborhoods, even the city center and Presidential Palace complex. Torrential rain has caused West flood canal dike collapse and river overflowed. According to experts, flooding should not occur due to high rainfall intensity. Learned from this experience, the governor of DKI Jakarta has declared and committed to making a “breakthrough” in efforts to tackle the flooding. Actions and commitments which have been taken by the governor of DKI Jakarta called disaster mitigation or we can called as a prevention as well (the terms prevention and mitigation are sometimes used interchangeably in casual cases).

From the above example with the amount of losses, we can see that the mitigation is essential to be done by all respective parties.

Disaster mitigation measures maybe structural (for example: flood dike) and/or non-structural (for example: land use zoning).

Here are some examples of structural disaster mitigation (the terms prevention and mitigation are sometimes used interchangeably in this case because the complete avoidance of losses is not feasible and the task transforms to that of mitigation) :

  1. Disaster mitigation for floods includes building flood dikes, infiltration wells, revitalization of the drainage system, river normalization, etc.
  2. Disaster mitigation for landslides includes make a surface trench in the ground, concrete diaphragm walls, soil anchors, ground improvement, etc.
  3. Disaster mitigation for earthquake includes designing earthquake resistant structures, seismic evaluation of building and its component, improving earthquake resistance of existing buildings and infrastructure facilities, etc.
  4. Disaster mitigation for drought includes building dams and their associated reservoirs supply additional water in terms of drought, desalination of sea water for irrigation, building canals or redirecting rivers as attempt at irrigation in drought-prone areas.

Here are some examples of structural disaster mitigation (the terms prevention and mitigation are sometimes used interchangeably in this case because the complete avoidance of losses is not feasible and the task transforms to that of mitigation) :

  1. Disaster risks and/or hazard mapping.
  2. Enforcement of land use and zoning practices.
  3. Disasters mitigation public awareness programs.
  4. Developing national data on medical resources, etc.
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What is Disaster ?

The following are some definitions of a disaster that can be used as a reference:

  1. A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources (The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction – UNISDR)
  2. Event or series of events that threaten and disrupt the lives and livelihoods caused by both natural factors and / or non-natural factors and human factors that lead to the emergence of human casualties, environmental damage, loss of property, and the psychological impact (Indonesian Law Number 24 Year 2007)
  3. Exceptional events which suddenly kill or injure large number of people (Red Cross/Red Crescent).
  4. An overwhelming ecological disruption occurring on a scale sufficient to require outside assistance (PAHO 1980).
  5. A situation or event which overwhelms local capacity, necessitating a request to a national or international level for external assistance (The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disaster – CRED).
  6. An occurrence that causes damage, ecological disruption, loss of human life, deterioration of health and health services on a scale sufficient to warrant an extraordinary response from outside the affected community area (World Health Organization, 1998).


From the above definitions, we can see that in general the disaster is an extraordinary event and require external assistance. The disaster could be caused by natural factors, non-natural and human factors.

Below are the examples of disaster events:

1. Natural Disaster

  • Weather-related: floods, landslides/mudslides, windstorms, tornadoes, thunderstorms, winter storms, droughts, forest fires, etc.
  • Geophysical-related: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tidal waves.

2. Man-made Disaster

  • Non-intentional: transportation accidents (road/sea/air), fires, building/bridge collapse, etc.
  • Intentional: race/ethnic conflict, terrorism, civil war, etc.

3. Non-natural Disaster: epidemic, diseases, radiation, etc.

From the above examples, we can see that there are disasters in small-scale, medium-scale, large-scale or an extraordinary event such as epidemic.


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