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EARTHQUAKES An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long period of time. For millions of years the huge plates that forms the earth’s surface, keep slowly moving over, under and past each other. Sometimes this movement is gradual; at other times the plates are locked together, unable to release accumulated energy. When the accumulated energy grows strong enough, the plates break free, thus causing an earthquake. The earthquakes often cause deaths and injuries and extensive property damage. Many parts of Pakistan are at some risk for earthquakes.
Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year and it is impossible to predict when or where an earthquake will occur.
Before an Earthquake

The following acts / precautions can help protect yourself, your family and your property in the event of an earthquake.

• You should build an emergency kit (i.e; simply collect basic household items like food, water & other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least few days)

• Fasten shelves securely to walls.

• make a family communications plan (i.e; how you will get to a safe place, contact one another & will get back together & what you’ll do in emergency).

• Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.

• Fasten shelves securely to walls.

• Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.

• Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.

• Fasten heavy items like pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from places where people usually sit.

• Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.

• Defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections are potential fire risks. Get them repaired through a professional. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.

• Install flexible pipe fittings for gas or water. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.

• Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the walls and bolting to the floor. Repair any cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice for structural defects.

• Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.

• Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.

• Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.

• Hold these earthquake drills with your family members:

During an Earthquake
Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and if you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure that exiting is safe.

If Indoors

• DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.

• Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.

• Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and things that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.

• Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow. In case you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall, move to the nearest safe place.

• Do not use a doorway unless it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.

• Do not exit a building during the shaking. Stay inside until the shaking stops. Most injuries occur when people attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave the building.

• DO NOT use the elevators.

• Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

If Outdoors

• Stay there.

• Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.

• Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and along exterior walls. Many of the fatalities occur when people run outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls.

Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If in a Moving Vehicle

• Stop as quickly as safety permits, and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.

• Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If Trapped Under Debris

• Do not light a match.

• Do not move about or kick up dust.

• Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.

• Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

After an Earthquake

• When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move. Then exit the building.

• Expect aftershocks. Usually less violent, these can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks or even months after the quake.

• Help injured or trapped persons. Remember to help neighbours specially the infants, the elderly and people with access and functional needs. Give first aid.

• Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.

• Fire is the most common hazard after an earthquake. Look for and extinguish small fires.

• Listen to a battery-operated Radio/ FM or Television for the latest emergency information.

• Be aware of possible tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are seismic sea waves, mistakenly called "tidal waves". When authorities issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.

• Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

• Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless you are specifically requested by government authorities. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.

• Be careful when driving after an earthquake and anticipate traffic light outages.

• After it is determined that its’ safe to return, you begin clean up and recovery.

• Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.

• Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect against injury from broken objects.

• Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from chemicals.

• Inspect utilities.

• Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve. Call a professional to turn it back on.

• Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician.

• Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage or water lines are damaged, avoid using these and call a plumber.

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