HOW TO PREPARE FOR NEXT EARTHQUAKE


By Sidra Saif


A large earthquake my jolt Pakistani land in near future. According to media reports the Director General of Pakistan Geological Survey, Dr Imran Ahmed Khan informed the Standing Committee on Petroleum, that an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 or higher may hit Pakistan in near future. Another report published by National Institute of Disaster Management, Mumbai, India reveals that due to large activities of Himalaya North plates and Indo-Burmese plates an earthquake of 8.2 magnitude may hit Himalaya which will ultimately result hundred and thousands of mortalities and causalities.


The best earthquake hazard prevention lies in preparation. In the event of a large earthquake along the Fault Line;where water, power, and transportation lines running along the fault line will likely be damaged, leaving people without access to water and power for several days, if not weeks to months. Furthermore, it may be several days before emergency personnel reach the affected area.


One can take measures to prepare for an earthquake by following the steps below. With community help, they can continue to ensure that life and commerce continue unabated into the future. The information provided below will help individuals to get ready for the next big one.


Follow the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety:


Individuals canidentify potential hazards in their home and begin to fix them; the foremost step is to create a disaster-preparedness plan; create disaster kits; identify building’s potential weaknesses and begin to fix them; protect ones own-self during earthquake shaking; after the quake, check for injuries and damage; and when in peace time, continue to follow the disaster-preparedness plan.


What to include in the emergency supply kit:


In case of an emergency, one should have basic items, such as food and water, kitchen items, first aid supplies, sanitation and hygiene items, tools, clothing and bedding, and household documents and contact numbers. These items should be compact and accessible. It is often best to put together ones own emergency supply kit rather than buying one at a store. In addition to items listed below, kits should include comfort items such as tea or biscuits, cardboard games and books. If there are children, include toys.healthitems; prescription medications and eyeglasses; infant formula and diapers (if applicable)breathing masks; personal first aid kit.

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Household documents:


Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, bank account records, I.D. cards, property documents; photos of family members (in case they are separated);cash and cheque book or ATM cards; t; battery-powered flashlight (batteries included); cell phone charger (batteries included)work gloves; emergency lights; tissue papers and wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.


Food/Ration Packs:


Wheat flour(aata), rice, ghee/ oil, sugar, lentils (dal masoor/ chana/ moong) red beans, red chilli powder, milk powder packets, tea/tea bags, salt-packet, match box, biscuits, dates, candles, water cane and other essential items according to ones own need.


Kitchen Items:


Cooking pots of different sizes, frying pan, bowl, plates, cups, table and tea spoons, forks, kitchen knife, scouring pad, mugs, torch medium -rechargeable with battery cell, and other necessary items.


Hygiene Kit:


Towel, toothpaste, toothbrush /miswak, bath, dish wash and laundry soap, nail cutter, baby diapers (if applicable), wipes packet, cotton roll and cotton cloth, hair comb, mug plastic, liquid mosquito repellent and other necessary according to need hygiene items.;


First aid kit:


Clinical thermometer, pyodine, sterile gauze (large), crepe bandage different sizes, bandage triangular, roller bandage different sizes, eye dressing pads, disposable gloves, sterile gloves, scissor, tweezers forceps, safety pins, cotton wool, torch cell, splints assorted, cervical collar, pain killer medicine tablet/gel, hand sanitizer and other individual needful items.


Clothing items:


Warm blanket orsleeping bag for each person as per weather requirement. Complete range of clothing, including pull over, long pants and sturdy shoes; jacket or coats etc. and other essential items.


Miscellaneous:


Plastic sheeting, rain ponchos, backpack, whistle, battery-operated radio, local maps etc.


Advanced Disaster Training:


Countysconcerned departments should arrange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training to those interested and willing individuals. CERT training should free of cost and consisting of at least seven classes covering topics such as fire suppression and emergency medical care. Courses should be available at multiple locations.


Here are some recommendations:

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Keep a list of emergency numbers in cell phone or near home phone[m1].Make sure that batteries and car chargers available for mobile phone, in case of a landline, make sure that at least one non-cordless phone available at the home. It will work even if powerlost. Send texts messages instead of making calls during a disaster, becausemessages take up far less bandwidth, Use Facebook, Twitter and Skype. Sometimes the Internet continues to work when phone service is disrupted.Conserve the cell phone battery by reducing screen brightness, placing the phone in airplane mode, and closing apps; historically, for land lines, if service shuts down, long-distance service usually recovers first. Thus, have a single out-of-state contact for call with updates.


How to shut off utilities in case of an emergency:


If a major disaster occurs, it may be necessary to turn off home utilities. By doing so gas leaks, flooding, fire or electrocution can be prevented


How to shut off gas:


Nobody should shut off gas unless feelsgas smell, on hearing gas escaping, see a broken gas line or suspect a gas leak. Once the gas is shut off, never attempt to turn it back on yourself, wait for the gas company to reconnect.The gas can be turned off at the main service shutoff valve. The valve can be found on the gas line leading to gas meter, which is normally at the entrance gate.


How to shut off electricity: Accordingly one should turn off electricity in any of these circumstances,smell burning insulation,if there is a fire or major water leak; gas leak,burning occurs in electrical items,switches or plugs become blackened or hot,power loss, accompanied by burning smell.


To do so, first locate the main electric box, which can usually find in the garage or on the exterior/interior ofthe home. If there are circuit breakers, open the door to the breaker box and make sure the electrical switch is off. If the house has fuses, find the pullout fuse that says “main.” Remove all of the small fuses, and then remove the “main” fuse.


How to shut off water:


Water leaks can cause extensive damage, so it is sometimes best to shut off water after a disaster.To do so, one should locate shutoff valve, which is often in a water line entering the main tank or on the water line of the house where water enters the building. Turn it clockwise to shut off the water. If someone is livingin an apartment and dont have access to the shutoff point, in that case ask the administration to do so.

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Beforethe earth shakingstarts:


One cankeep all emergency supplies in a single, easily accessibleplace, near beds. A duffle bag or small cardboard box should work. One doesnt want to be searching for these itemswhen needs them, especially since the contents of drawers and cabinets mightbe strewn on the floor after a quake.


Whenthe shakingstarts:


If someone is caught in an Earthquakestop everything immediately and if in open space, remain there,if indoor,leave as soon as possible,takeshelterof table, bench, bed, brace or lie down. Stay away frombalconies, pillars tall objects, and parapets. Always try toface awayfrom mirrors, windows,cover head andface with cloth to avoid breathing thick dust. Position arms over head to protect from falling derbies andorientation. Dont stay to collect valuables and belongings. In case of earthquake ground shaking lasts:4-8 Secondsfor 5M, 43-86 secondsfor 8.5M, and3 minutes for 9M and above as in Sumatra earthquake of December 26, 2004.When in tall buildings never jump, always avoid using liftsandstampede. When moving on roadsslow down, use edge of road, avoid walking under tall buildings, narrow streets, and under bridge, and be cautious.


Immediately afterthe shaking stops:


Remember, when earthquakes happen, a very important timeline immediatelybegins.Aftershocks (smaller, secondary earthquakes) are coming, and the good news is, this time they wont take by surprise. Family heads are to do the following items, in this order, the moment everything stops shaking from the initial quakeremain calm,dont panic,check around for injuries and apply first aid,rescue people who are trapped or hurt.Be cautious when moving in damaged buildings,and wear sturdy sleepers, In case power failure first use food from refrigerator,use water sparingly,use telephone only when needed to avoid choking of lines,no sightseeing in damaged areas,watch out for Tsunami in coastal areas,dont add confusion by rumors, predictions or prophecies,prevent spread of disease and epidemics in temporary shelters due to inadequate sanitation.


“It is not Earthquake that kills people, but a poorly built environment does”

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