Editors Note: The following guest article has been generously contributed by James Smith.
Of all natural disasters, earthquakes seem bring with them the highest levels of destruction to property and health. Earthquakes are the results of geological processes which move the layers of the crust of the Earth, causing vibrations. Over the years, many earthquakes proved to be deadly, like the earthquake in Pakistan in the October of 2005 which killed many people and left countless others homeless. The aftermath of the earthquake further killed thousands; simply because they were not prepared and lacked supplies.
Scientists have never been able to predict an earthquake and there is very little chance of them doing the same in the near future. This means that we can only hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Earthquakes cause countless damage to people, infrastructure and the economy.
Many people lose their houses, lives or loved ones.
People in the West have realized the need for the preparation for a situation in which an earthquake might damage the economy so bad that there is a dearth of the basic amenities of life. Power outages and shortage of food are also some of the aftermath of earthquakes. It is only good for ourselves if we are ready for such a situation.
You could be at your house or in the office when an earthquake hits. If you are indoors move to a safe, sturdy place as quickly as you can. Make sure that you try to protect your head from falling objects. You should stay away from windows and glass objects. While inside a building during an earthquake, stay inside until the shaking stops and use the stairs instead of elevators in case of a power outage.
Read More: Earthquake Safety Checklist
If you are outside, your most important goal must be to clear away from any area where there are buildings, typhoons, trees, lampposts, etc. If you are in a vehicle, stop and wait for the shocks to subside at a clear spot. Stopping at an underpass is going to be the worst idea that could come to you as it might fall and trap you. Broken power lines are another thing to stay well away from. Do not go near them even if the power seems to be off. In case you happen to be in the mountains or any kind of unstable land, watch out for landslides. Landslides and avalanches can be triggered by earthquakes.
After the first few shocks have passed, don’t be complacent. They might be a few of many more to come and even they could be harmful. Aftershocks are a very common feature of earthquakes and the time between them should be used to find a safe spot to wait the earthquake out.
Many people have stocked their houses in case of any natural disasters and they have basements full of supplies. These supplies are of many different types, for example, food, batteries, generators, water, etc. Many people make their own lead acid batteries which last longer and are able to provide fuel free energy conveniently. The sun, which is a blazing source of energy screaming to be used, can be easily utilized to our advantage in a post-earthquake situation. Solar power generators and solar panels have been installed in various houses which also charge lead acid batteries easily using renewable sources of energy.
Food stocked up by these people includes dried food, frozen food, powdered food, etc. These foods and food powders are very good substitutes for normal fruits and vegetables because they provide us with the same sorts of vitamins in a much more convenient way. These foods last longer and are easily stored because they are in a compact form and are air-tight.
The type of supplies needed for a post-earthquake situation are not just food supplies. Many other types of supplies are needed like medical kits, water filters, equipment, etc. Water is another very important supply which is very important in surviving a post-earthquake situation. Water is essential for every human being and shortage of water can reduce your chances of survival dramatically.
Practice drills are also held in many offices and schools to inform the people on what to do when an earthquake strikes. These are very important in instructing people on what to do and how to do it in case of an emergency and can potentially save many lives.
Each building includes evacuation plans, so that in case of an emergency, a route is planned for you to take to exit the building. There are always more than one evacuation plan, if one has been blocked due to some falling object in case of an earthquake. All the supplies are marked on the evacuation plan so that the available supplies are easily located and without difficulty. Priorities are established beforehand, as in what to do first and what to leave behind. This saves time and might be the difference between life and death.
Medical supplies are also very important if someone is injured during any such circumstance. The medical supplies can help you survive for longer if there is an earthquake and you have been injured by any sort of falling object or debris. Sanitizers and antiseptics can prevent your injuries from becoming worse if the injuries are bad and you have been trapped for a long period of time.
Other equipment like radios or walkie-talkies are also important in a post-earthquake situation. These allow you to establish and maintain contact with the outside world if you are trapped or stranded in an emergency situation. These walkie-talkies are essential when you are preparing for a natural disaster and they can also get you help in times of need.
The major problem with these natural disasters is that we cannot completely prevent all the damage they cause rather we can minimize the damage they do or prevent any further damage. They are very unpredictable and can cause huge amounts of damage, which might take years to repair. The earthquake that struck the northern areas of Pakistan caused a lot of damaged and the areas there are still under repair. This signifies the importance of not underestimating the strength of the natural disasters and Mother Nature.
We can always only hope for the best and prepare for the worst.