Save Yourself During Earthquake

Edited by Emmanuel M. Lardizabal, Anonymous, Robbi, Lynn and 7 others

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Earthquakes are one of the many natural events that can happen at any time. Sometimes scientists can predict an earthquake, but it's not always the case, or is it always accurate. An earthquake is caused by shock waves produced when deep within the Earth's surface there is a shift in the rock masses, usually near tectonic plates. The results of an earthquake can be as simple as tremors, and as devastating as tsunamis and mass destruction.

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Earthquakes may be assessed by observing the movements of the Earth using a seismometers. Earthquakes usually last only for a few seconds, but aftershocks can last much longer depending on the magnitude of the earthquake. In fact, aftershocks can take place for days or even weeks after the initial earthquake.

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The magnitude of earthquakes are measured from 1-9 on The Richter Scale. In history, the highest magnitude of an earthquake – 9.5 - was registered in Chile in 1960. In 2011, a 9.0 earthquake took place in Japan that resulted in a tsunami. Large numbers of people were affected and many lost their lives. Five years later, and they are still dealing with the fallout from that natural event. Earthquakes may also cause landslides and cracks in the earth making certain areas unstable. They can collapse homes and do many other kinds of damage. In some cases they can even induce volcanic action.

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Earthquakes have different movements and occur in three different ways: the Strike-Slip, Normal and Thrust. There are also four types of earthquake waves, namely: P Wave, S Wave, Love Wave and Rayleigh Wave. When earthquakes are strong, they may create aftershocks that can last a while and cause more damage than the initial earthquake, depending on the magnitude of the earthquake.

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Moreover, natural disasters can occur anytime, and we should be ready and prepared to save ourselves when earthquakes occur.

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Kinds Of Earthquake Waves

  1. 1
    Primary Wave (P Wave).
    An earthquake is actually the effect of about three kinds elastic waves banging into each other - which may be harmful to people. The body wave created by the earthquake is called the primary or P wave. It is also the same with the sound waves - at the same time it spreads out, it compresses and also dilates the rock. These kinds of V dunes will travel through equally strong rock and fluid materials, such as volcanic magma or even the water with the oceanic masses.
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  2. 2
    Secondary Wave (S Wave).
    The secondary wave is called the S wave. It is a slower-moving wave than the primary wave. As the S wave propagates, it shears the sides of the rocks at right angles and starts to travel. S waves cannot propagate in the liquid parts of the earth if the liquid is sheared sideways or is being twisted.
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  3. 3
    Surface Waves.
    Surface waves are the third type of earthquake waves. Their motion is restricted to near the ground surface. The waves then travel to lakes.  
    1. Love Wave. The Love wave is the first kind of surface wave. Its motion is most likely the same as that of the S wave. It has no vertical displacement, but it moves across the ground in a horizontal plane. The movement of the ground is from side to side at right angles towards the direction of the propagation. The shaking from side to side causes damage in the foundations of buildings.
    2. Rayleigh Wave. A Rayleigh wave is similar to the ocean's wave, where the wave can travel horizontally or vertically. The movement is pointed in the direction the waves are traveling.
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Earthquake Magnitude Scale

  1. 1
    Magnitude 2.5 or less.
    This is usually not felt, although it will be recorded by the seismograph. It's a mild earthquake that commonly occurs about 900,000 times a year.
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  2. 2
    Magnitude 2.5 to 5.4.
    This is mostly felt, but usually results in minor damages. It commonly occurs about 30,000 times per year.
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  3. 3
    Magnitude 5.5 to 6.0.
    This magnitude causes slight damage to infrastructures. It also causes damage to highways and roads. In a year, it is not unusual for the Earth to experience these 500 times or more.
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  4. 4
    Magnitude 6.1 to 6.9.
    This causes destruction in populated areas and often ends up with several casualties. This magnitude is felt an estimated number of 100 times each year.
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  5. 5
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    Magnitude 7.0 to 7.9.
    This is a major earthquake that causes series damage to the affected area. It may cause the destruction of buildings and homes, wreak havoc on roads, highways and bridges, and may cause a great number of casualties. This kind of earthquake occurs approximately 20 times per year.
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  6. 6
    Magnitude 8.0 or more.
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    This is a huge earthquake that often causes massive destruction. It can completely destroy the community or the place it's centered around. Large numbers of casualties have always being recorded when this kind of earthquake strikes.
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    It can completely destroy and entire community. The effects of an earthquake of this magnitude can cause tsunamis, mudslides, flooding and even the eruption of volcanos.
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What To Do When An Earthquake Strikes

  1. 1
    You should be calm and not panic during the earthquake.
    If you panic during an earthquake, the tendency you won't do the right thing increases, as does the chances of injury. If you stay calm, you can think of ways to save yourself from being hurt when an earthquake strikes. Stay calm, breathe deeply and don't let anxiety overwhelm you. Being still in the midst of chaos will get you much farther than hysteria. Instead think of a safe place you can go to save yourself from the earthquake.
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  2. 2
    Find the safest place to ride out the earthquake.
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    During an earthquake, you should find a place that is safe and stay there. Stay away from cable wires and wire posts because they may collapse. If you are inside and cannot make it outside within a few seconds, your best option is to get under a strong object such as a sturdy desk, stand in a doorway or climb into the bathtub and lay low. You need to protect yourself from falling objects, and the possibility of the roof collapsing. Also corners of buildings are stronger and less likely to have falling debris, so if no other place is available move to a corner.
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  3. 3
    If you are near the sea and an earthquake hits your area,
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    you should run away from seashore, since a tsunami will be the outcome of a strong earthquake
    .
    Go to a higher place where you can save yourself from a tsunami. You should immediately vacate your place since a tsunami will strike in a short time. Stay there with your family until the earthquake and tsunami have passed.
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  4. 4
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    For those of you who like to be prepared and live in earthquake prone zones, you should always bring a whistle with you.
    The whistle will be used in making noise and giving signals to others if you are trapped underneath rubble. The whistle is also helpful since it will create loud noise and it will conserve your energy. Always have your whistle with you to prepare for unpredictable accidents. It is best to always be prepared since earthquakes are unpredictable.
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  5. 5
    Position yourself like a duck and put your hands on your head.
    This position is very important since it will protect your head from falling objects during the earthquake. You should stay in this position until you are out of the building or establishment and you should only come out of that position when it's over. The position will prevent your head from getting hit by hard objects that could cause you to become unconscious.
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  6. 6
    You should avoid pushing other people.
    When you are in hurry to get out of an establishment or building, you should not be pushing others as this could cause them to fall or stumble. When somebody stumbles, it may create traffic in getting out of the building, and they could get hurt. When you are on the second floor and you need to get out, refrain also from pushing because you might accidentally push someone down the stairs. This may cause others to get hurt and maybe even create a stampede since somebody is blocking the way. Although you are scared, you have to think of others. Everyone else is afraid, and working together, leaving a building in an orderly manner, is your best bet. People will follow your lead, and everyone will be safer. Help the situation - don't make it worse.
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  7. 7
    Hold onto the handrails.
    When you are on the second or higher level of the building, and an earthquake strikes, you should get out of the building immediately. Hold onto the handrails to prevent from being knocked down. It will also help get down the stairs faster because it supports you. Again, you need not to push others when you are in hurry to escape. You should not panic - avoid being hysterical.
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  8. 8
    When you are with your family and an earthquake strikes, the first thing to do is to secure every member of the family.
    First, collect the children – youngest first. They are helpless and you might lose them during the earthquake. After collecting your children, make sure the elderly are accounted for, and everyone is present. Get everyone to a safe place. Stay there with your family until the earthquake is over.
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What To Do If You Become Trapped

  1. 1
    If you are trapped in a room you should refrain from shouting.
    The best thing to do when trapped in a room is to find an object which can be used to create a noise, like cans, or even a flat sheet of steel and the like. Shouting is not advisable since it consumes a lot of energy. The things that create noise should be hit against a wall. If you can create noise, it may help to save you. Continue striking the materials until someone has heard you and has made a noise to communicate to you that you've been discovered. Keep your head straight and don't panic.
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  2. 2
    Find a safe place you can stay.
    Safe places may include under a bed, desk or table. Crawl under these pieces of furniture, as they will protect you from falling objects and debris. These spaces are also safe for breathing since there is ample space.
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Things To Do After Earthquake

  1. 1
    You should pray because you were kept safe.
    Try asking for help from God the almighty that the earthquake will not happen again. You should also pray for others and that no one was hurt in the earthquake. Ask others to pray with you.
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  2. 2
    Know the hotline numbers of your local emergency institutions – police, city, and emergency aid.
    This is to communicate with them and ask for assistance when there is massive destruction from the earthquake. This is also to report casualties, if there are any.
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  3. 3
    You should communicate with your family during or after an earthquake.
    If you have your gadgets such as cellphones, then contact your family members and communicate with them. Tell them the details and tell them that you are safe. You can also ask them to fetch you from where you've been during the earthquake. You need to communicate with your family members to give them information and to keep them from worrying about you.
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  4. 4
    Don't lose hope.
    View the earthquake as a challenge. You should believe in yourself, and that you can survive and overcome the challenges of this situation. You should be brave and face the outcome of the earthquake.
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Do's and Don'ts

  1. 1
    When trapped be attentive.
    You should respond quickly if you hear voices, as they might belong to your rescuers. If you know they are far off, you can use your whistle to get their attention or throw things that create loud noise toward the wall. Metal to metal sounds will carry the furthest.
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  2. 2
    You need to follow directions when people are trying to rescue you.
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  3. 3
    Do not attempt to turn on stoves or light fuses when an earthquake strikes because it will create more problems, maybe even a fire, especially if they are fueled by gas.
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  4. 4
    Do not use an elevator when there is an earthquake as you may get trapped inside.
    You should use the stairs for your own safety.
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  5. 5
    Refrain from shouting because you might inhale noxious gases which will be bad for your health.
    You can use a cloth to cover your nose.
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Questions and Answers

How can I save people during earthquake?

What are the things that I can do in order to protect people trapped in an earthquake

There are quite a few things that you can do to protect yourself and others in an earthquake. Remember that it's important to save yourself first by practicing the measures described in the VisiHow article Save Yourself During Earthquake, otherwise you won't be able to help others affected by the crisis.

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If you are indoors during the quake, you can ask people to take shelter beneath desks and door frames. Ask them to kneel with their hands clasped over the back of their head and ask them not to panic. Try to stay put until the earthquake has stopped trembling. If you are outdoors find a clear open spot away from hydro poles, trees, and buildings and place your hands over your head and neck to protect yourself.

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If you are indoors, after the quake, it is important to put out any fires first, as you are in danger of death from smoke inhalation. This can happen within three minutes. If you are outdoors, get as far away from the fires as fast as you can without panicking. Remember not to put out an oil-based fire with water as that can cause flames to explode and spread.

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After the quake is over, instruct others not to panic, as they will distress the injured. Panic is contagious and can sabotage an orderly evacuation, or rescue mission. This is especially important if you are inside a crowded space, as panic could cause a stampede. Ask others to stay clear of dangling beams or broken Windows.

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If you are in a vehicle, stop the car and stay in the vehicle until the quake is over. If you are on a bridge or in a tunnel, try to drive off or out as soon as possible. If that doesn't work, then exit your car and leave the bridge or tunnel on foot.

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If you are in a moving elevator press the STOP button, open doors button or the next floor button and urge others to get out as soon as possible. If you are trapped in the elevator urge others to remain calm.

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You may also assist the injured if you can do so without injuring yourself. Taking a First Aid Course is a good idea so that you know how to treat someone who has been seriously hurt during an earthquake.

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VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

Why is "not panicking" important during an earthquake?

I'm really curious because panicking is a normal reaction. How can we address it and why is it important not to panic? Thank you.

At first you might think it is impossible not to panic. However, humans typically panic when they perceive a threat and don't know how to handle it. For example, one might panic if a gunman comes a building shooting. However, if you have military training, instead of panicking, you'd do what you were trained to do – flee to a place of relative safety, pull out your gun and eliminate the threat. Training & drills are the key to minimizing injuries and deaths due to earthquakes. Conducting regular drills and receiving training are excellent for arming you with the knowledge of what to do when an earthquake hits.

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Saving oneself and community during earthquake?

Saving oneself and community during earthquake.

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Recent edits by: Doug Collins, Donna, anees

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