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Protection During An Earthquake
Protection during an earthquake

A Sixth Sense

While earthquakes often strike without any warning, there are times when you may have several minutes to prepare.  My father was in San Francisco during several earthquakes there, and he actually began to feel uneasy before the quake actually hit.  He quickly went outside and was safe from harm, although the buildings he had been in sustained serious damage.  Although, you yourself may not feel uneasy before a quake, you should pay attention to the actions of any of your pets.  Dogs and cats often seem to be able to tell that an earthquake is approaching.  While there is still no hard evidence for this phenomenon, many people have reported that their pets will become agitated and nervous before an earthquake.  If you live in an earthquake zone, you really have nothing to lose by paying attention to your dog’s anxiety and getting out of the house for a while.  At the very worst, you will simply have to go back inside.

Get Out And Away

If you do have any warning about an earthquake before it happens, you should leave your home immediately.  Try to get to an open space away from buildings or trees and lie down.  A strong quake can knock you off your feet, so being prone is the safest position.  Those living in cities should get into the street, or a park if it is nearby.

What Not To Do

The strong movement of the earth that accompanies a major quake means that buildings will shift and possibly collapse.  Whatever you do, do not get into a doorway for protection, the sideways movement of the earth during the quake will cause the doorway to collapse, possibly pinning you and causing severe injuries.  Likewise, do not take refuge under a table.  If you consider that most tables will not support the weight of an adult man, it is unlikely that they will be able to support the weight of your home.  If you are in your car, and conditions are such that you are unable to drive it, get out and lie next to it.  Do not lie under the car – if anything like a bridge or overpass falls on the car, you will be crushed.

Take Sensible Refuge

If you cannot get out of your home when an earthquake strikes, you can still take steps to protect yourself from serious harm.  Taking refuge in the ‘Triangle of Life’ can literally mean the difference between life and death.  The Triangle is the space formed next to heavy pieces of furniture.  If your home collapses, the weight of the ceiling and roof will be borne by the couch or bed or whatever, leaving a space that will keep you safe from harm.  You need simply roll off the couch and curl up into the fetal position. 

You should also avoid getting near objects that can harm you if they fall.  If your refrigerator has been bolted to the floor, there will be little chance of it toppling, but an unbolted appliance of this size can be dangerous.  The movement of the earthquake will probably shatter windows, too, so keep as far away from them as possible to avoid being cut.