Earthquakes usually give no warning at
Prepare your family
Before the earthquake
Now is the time to formulate a safety plan for you and your
family. If you wait until the earth starts to shake, it may be
too late. Consider the following safety measures:
- Always keep the following in a designated place: bottled
drinking water, non-perishable food (chura, gur, etc),
first-aid kit, torch-light and battery-operated radio with
- Teach family members how to turn off electricity, gas,
- Identify places in the house that can provide cover
during an earthquake.
- It may be easier to make long distance calls during an
earthquake. Identify an out-of-town relative or friend as
your family's emergency contact. If the family members get
separated after the earthquake and are not able to contact
each other, they should contact the designated
relative/friend. The address and phone number of the contact
person/relative should be with all the family members.
Safeguard your house
- Consider retrofitting your house with earthquake-safety
measures. Reinforcing the foundation and frame could make
your house quake resistant. You may consult a reputable
contractor and follow building codes.
- Kutchha buildings can also be retrofitted and
Earthquakes give no warning at all. Sometimes, a loud
rumbling sound might signal its arrival a few seconds ahead of
time. Those few seconds could give you a chance to move to a
safer location. Here are some tips for keeping safe during a
- Take cover. Go under a table or other sturdy furniture;
kneel, sit, or stay close to the floor. Hold on to furniture
legs for balance. Be prepared to move if your cover
- If no sturdy cover is nearby, kneel or sit close to the
floor next to a structurally sound interior wall. Place your
hands on the floor for balance.
- Do not stand in doorways. Violent motion could cause
doors to slam and cause serious injuries. You may also be
hit be flying objects.
- Move away from windows, mirrors, bookcases and other
unsecured heavy objects.
- If you are in bed, stay there and cover yourself with
pillows and blankets
- Do not run outside if you are inside. Never use the
- If you are living in a kutcha house, the best thing to
do is to move to an open area where there are no trees,
electric or telephone wires.
- Move into the open, away from buildings, streetlights,
and utility wires. Once in the open, stay there until the
- If your home is badly damaged, you will have to leave.
Collect water, food, medicine, other essential items and
important documents before leaving.
- Avoid places where there are loose electrical wires and
do not touch metal objects that are in touch with the loose
- Do not re-enter damaged buildings and stay away from
badly damaged structures.
If in a moving vehicle:
Move to a clear area away from buildings, trees,
overpasses, or utility wires, stop, and stay in the vehicle.
Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid
bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.
After the quake
Here are a few things to keep in mind after an earthquake.
The caution you display in the aftermath can be essential for
your personal safety.
- Wear shoes/chappals to protect your feet from debris
- After the first tremor, be prepared for aftershocks.
Though less intense, aftershocks cause additional damages
and may bring down weakened structures. Aftershocks can
occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after
- Check for fire hazards and use torchlights instead of
candles or lanterns.
- If the building you live in is in a good shape after the
earthquake, stay inside and listen for radio advises. If you
are not certain about the damage to your building, evacuate
carefully. Do not touch downed power line.
- Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where
appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless
they are in immediate danger of further injury. In such
cases, call for help.
- Remember to help your neighbours who may require special
assistance-infants, the elderly, and people with
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest
- Stay out of damaged buildings.
- Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Clean
up spilled medicines, bleaches or gasoline or other
flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell
gas or fumes from other chemicals. Open closet and cupboard
- If you smell gas or hear hissing noise, open windows and
quickly leave the building. Turn off the switch on the top
of the gas cylinder.
- Look for electrical system damages - if you see sparks,
broken wires, or if you smell burning of amber, turn off
electricity at the main fuse box. If you have to step in
water to get to the fuse box, call an electrician first for
- Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect
sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets. If water
pipes are damaged, avoid using water from the tap.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
- In case family members are separated from one another
during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when
adults are at work and children are at school), develop a
plan for reuniting after the disaster. Ask an out of state /
district relative or friend to serve as the "family
contact". Make sure everyone in the family knows the name,
address, and phone number(s) of the contact person