A Uptick on last nights Earthquake In Vancouver BC
Before an earthquake
Go through your home, imagining what could happen to each part of it, if shaken by a violent earthquake. Check off the items that you have completed in this list. • Teach everybody in the family (if they are old enough) how to turn off the water and electricity. • Clearly label the on-off positions for the water, electricity and gas. • Repair loose roof shingles. • Secure water heaters to wall studs or masonry using a bracing kit to reduce the possibility of the heater falling and rupturing gas and water connections. • Secure major appliances to walls, such as refrigerators. • Secure costly and heavy electronics. • Secure the tops of top-heavy furniture to a wall by anchoring to studs and using flexible fasteners. Keep heavy items on lower shelves. • Secure expensive or fragile items that if damaged would be a significant loss. • Affix mirrors, paintings and other hanging objects securely, so they won’t fall off hooks.
• Locate beds and chairs away from chimneys and windows. Don’t hang heavy pictures and other items over beds. Closed curtains and blinds will help stop broken window glass from falling on beds. • Put anti-skid pads under TVs, computers and other small appliances, or secure them with Velcro or other such product. • Use child-proof or safety latches on cupboards to stop contents from spilling out. • Keep flammable items and household chemicals away from heat and where they are less likely to spill. • Secure items in the garage to reduce hazardous material spills and damage to vehicles. • Consult a professional for additional ways to protect your home, such as bolting the house to its foundation and other structural mitigation techniques. • If you live in an apartment block or a multi-storey building, work with your building manager or condominium board to decide how best to “quake-safe” your unit. Seek advice from professionals (building engineers, emergency preparedness authorities) if you are unsure about what to do. • If you live in a mobile home, you can leave the wheels on the mobile home to limit its fall. Or, you can install a structural bracing system to reduce the chance of your unit falling off its supports. Ensure the awning on your home is securely supported and fastened to the unit. For information on the best way to brace your unit, contact your local mobile home dealer or a mobile home owner’s association. • Review your Emergency Plan with your family (see Step 2 for more information). • Have an emergency kit
During an earthquake
Wherever you are when an earthquake starts, take cover immediately. Move a few steps to a nearby safe place if need be. Stay there until the shaking stops. If you are indoors: “DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON” • Stay inside. • Drop under heavy furniture such as a table, desk, bed or any solid furniture. • Cover your head and torso to prevent being hit by falling objects. • Hold on to the object that you are under so that you remain covered. Be prepared to move with the object until the shaking has finished. • If you can’t get under something strong, or if you are in a hallway, flatten yourself or crouch against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. • If you are in a shopping mall, go into the nearest store. Stay away from windows, and shelves with heavy objects. • If you are at school, get under a desk or table and hold on. Face away from windows. • If you are in a wheelchair, lock the wheels and protect the back of your head and neck.
If you are outdoors •
Stay outside. • Go to an open area away from buildings. The most dangerous place is near exterior walls. • If you are in a crowded public place, take cover where you won’t be trampled.
If you are in a vehicle •
Pull over to a safe place where you are not blocking the road. Keep roads clear for rescue and emergency vehicles. • Avoid bridges, overpasses, underpasses, buildings or anything that could collapse. • Stop the car and stay inside. • Listen to your car radio for instructions from emergency officials. • Do not attempt to get out of your car if downed power lines are across it. Wait to be rescued. • Place a HELP sign in your window if you need assistance. • If you are on a bus, stay in your seat until the bus stops. Take cover in a protected place. If you can’t take cover, sit in a crouched position and protect your head from falling debris. AVOID the following in an earthquake • Doorways. Doors may slam shut and cause injuries. • Windows, bookcases, tall furniture and light fixtures. You could be hurt by shattered glass or heavy objects. • Elevators. If you are in an elevator during an earthquake, hit the button for every floor and get out as soon as you can. • Downed power lines — stay at least 10 metres away to avoid injury. • Coastline. Earthquakes can trigger large ocean waves called tsunamis. If you are near a coastline in a high risk area during a strong earthquake, immediately move inland or to higher ground and remain there until officials declare the area safe
After an earthquake
• Stay calm. Help others if you are able. • Be prepared for aftershocks. • Listen to the radio or television for information from authorities. Follow their instructions. • Place corded telephone receivers back in their cradles; only make calls if requiring emergency services. • Put on sturdy shoes and protective clothing to help prevent injury from debris, especially broken glass. • Check your home for structural damage and other hazards. If you suspect your home is unsafe, do not re-enter. • Unplug appliances and broken lights to prevent fire when the power is restored. • Stay away from brick walls and chimneys as they may be damaged or weakened and could collapse during aftershocks. Do not use your fireplace if your chimney has been damaged as a fire may start or gases could be released. • If you have to leave your home, take your emergency kit and other essential items with you. Post a message in clear view, indicating where you can be found. Do not waste food or water as supplies may be interrupted. • Do not light matches or turn on light switches until you are sure there are no gas leaks or flammable liquids spilled. Use a flashlight to check utilities and do not shut them off unless damaged. Leaking gas will smell like rotten eggs. • If your home is equipped with natural gas: Call your gas provider immediately to report any concerns or if you smell gas (rotten egg smell). Shut off the gas valve if you know how. Once the gas is turned off, don’t turn it back on. Only a licensed gas technician can turn the gas on safely. • If tap water is still available immediately after the earthquake, fill a bathtub and other containers in case the supply gets cut off. If there is no running water, there may be water in the hot water tank (make sure water is not hot before touching it) and toilet reservoir (not the bowl). • Do not flush toilets if you suspect sewer lines are broken. • Use extreme caution with hazardous materials or spills. When in doubt, leave your home. • Check on your neighbours after looking after members of your own household. Organize rescue measures if people are trapped or call for emergency assistance if you cannot safely help them. • If you have pets, try to find and comfort them. If you have to evacuate, take them to a pre-identified pet-friendly shelter. • Place a HELP sign in your window if you need assistance
The links to earthquakes