You have successfully survived the seismic shaking but you are still not completely safe. This might well be a foreshock, and the devastating one might just be approaching. So, don’t let your guards down, and don’t compromise with safety. You can be shaken again by aftershocks that generally follow the main shock, and often devastate structures weakened by the main shock. So, assess your safety, and act fast as slight negligence could endanger you and your dear ones.
- Turn on your transistor, radio or television to get the latest information/bulletins, and aftershock warnings.
- Do not spread rumors.
- Provide help to others, and develop confidence.
- Check yourself and others for injuries.
- Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
- Remember to help your neighbours who may require special assistance – infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches or other flammable liquids immediately.
- Check for gas leaks if you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise. Open all the windows, and doors, leave immediately, and report it to the authorities.
- Look for electrical system damage if you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation. Turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker.
- Check for sewage, and water lines damage. If you suspect damage, avoid using the toilets, and call a plumber.
- If water pipes are damaged, contact the plumber and avoid using water from the tap.
- Close the valve of kitchen gas stove, if it is on. If it is closed, do not open.
- Do not use open flames.
- Do not operate electric switches or appliances, if gas leaks are suspected.
- Don’t use the phone unless it’s an emergency.
- Be careful around broken glass, and debris. Wear boots or sturdy shoes to keep from cutting your feet.
- Open doors and cupboards carefully as objects may fall.
- Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Stay away from beaches. Tsunamis sometimes hit after the ground has stopped shaking.
- If you’re at school or work, follow the emergency plan or the instructions of the person in charge.
- The behaviour of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake. Normally quiet, and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or defensive.
- Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place then in a fences yard.
- Prepare an emergency pen for pets in the home and include a 3 day supply of dry food, and a large container of water.
Be prepared for aftershocks
- Even though you have experienced strong ground motion, this might just be a foreshock, and a more violent earthquake might be approaching. So try to come out in open, away from buildings and other structures.
- Although smaller in magnitude than the main shock, aftershocks are common after a major earthquake. These often cause additional damage, and may bring weakened structure down.
- Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.