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Good Housekeeping
March 22, 2011

How to Stay Safe During an Earthquake: 4 Tips

Predicting an earthquake is difficult, but you should always know what to do when one strikes.

during_an_earthquake_inside.jpgA small quake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale shook parts of Metro Manila yesterday evening. The quake occurred at 6:37 PM and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said that the epicenter was located off the coast of Occidental Mindoro.

The Philippines is no stranger to natural disasters, but while we are able to prepare for calamities like typhoons and storms, we never really know when an earthquake will hit. Read on and see what measures you should take to protect yourself in the event of an earthquake.


1. STAY CALM

Keeping your wits about you, especially during disasters, will save your life. It’s normal to feel fear when the unthinkable happens, but staying calm will prevent you from doing things that may be counterproductive to safety.


2. KNOW HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF.

If your home or office is located inside a multistory building, you have to know how to keep yourself safe, especially in the event of structural collapse. Never seek shelter under glass tables, and stay away from windows; these can shatter and injure you. Seek cover under furniture only if they are built of sturdy materials. If you’re uncertain about how stable your desks or tables are, use the “triangle of life” method instead.

[Learn more about the Triangle of Life from FN’s previous article.]


3. STAY WHERE YOU ARE.

Instinct might tell you to flee as fast you can, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says that you should “stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.”


4. KNOW HOW TO STAY SAFE IN VEHICLES.

If you’re driving while an earthquake hits, stop your vehicle and stay in your car, but make sure to stay away from bridges, overpasses, buildings, and utility wires.


Read these articles for more information on earthquake safety:

 


(Photo courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey)

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