Monday 3 August, 2020

Survivor tips: What to do when an earthquake hits

Location of the earthquake which hit Jamaica this week.

Location of the earthquake which hit Jamaica this week.

Barbadians have been fortunate to experience only one major earthquake in recent times and for some it was a terrifying event. . 


Over the last two days, Caribbean neighbours in Jamaica have been dealing with the trauma of earthquakes and after shocks after being hit by 7.7 magnitude quake on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. 


In light of recent events, Loop has compiled a list of survivor tips just in case a natural disaster of this type, affects the island. 


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Earthquakes are a sudden and rapid shaking of the ground caused by the shifting of tectonic plates deep underneath the earth’s surface. These may happen without warning and result in injuries, damage to property and roads, fires, tsunamis, landslides, or avalanches. 


If an earthquake happens, try to protect yourself right away: 


  • If you are in a vehicle, pull over and stop. Set your parking brake.
  • If you are in bed, turn face down and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
  • If you are outdoors, stay outdoors away from buildings.
  • Do not get in a doorway.
  • Do not run outside.


During an earthquake it is often recommended that you Drop, Cover and Hold On:


Drop: Drop wherever you are on to your hands and knees.

Cover: Cover your head and neck with your arms.

Hold on: If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If you can’t find a table or desk, cover your head and neck with both arms and hands.


Take the time out to practice Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On with family and coworkers as well as securing heavy items in your home. 


Most Barbadians already know they need an emergency supply kit for hurricanes and these same kits can be used in case of an earthquake. 


These normally include enough food and water for at least three days, a flashlight with batteries and a first aid kit. In assembling this kit, consider each person in your family's specific needs, including medication and crucial documents. 


Directly after an earthquake, there can be serious hazards such as damage to the building, leaking gas and water lines, or downed power lines.


Expect aftershocks to follow the main shock of an earthquake as well as the possibility of tsunami watches being put into effect. Try your best to get to higher ground if a tsunami warning is issued. 

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