What Should You Do If An Earthquake Hits?

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In the event of an earthquake, members of the public are advised to stay calm, do not panic, be alert, and more importantly stay inside!

Acting Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds, stressed the need for the public to remain calm during an earthquake and warned against running out of buildings during the shaking.

???Please do not run out of the building while there is shaking. Once the shaking has subsided, you can proceed outside, [but] do not use any elevators.

[You should also] assemble in an open area away from any power lines or buildings to reduce the possibility of being hurt by any debris falling,??? Ms. Hinds explained, noting it could result in injury.

This was supported by information from the Seismic Research Centre at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, which also cautioned persons against running out of buildings while the shaking is occurring.

Instead, during the shaking, persons should stand in a strong doorway, get under a desk or hard surface and hold on until it stops. They should also avoid using elevators or stairs, and move away from windows, mirrors, glass doors, pictures, bookcases, hanging plants and heavy objects.

However, if outside when the earthquake strikes, persons are advised to move away from buildings, electricity poles and bridges, and remain stationary. They should also remain on the lookout for falling plaster, bricks, lighting fixtures and other objects.

Meanwhile, motorists are advised to avoid stopping on or under a bridge if an earthquake occurs while driving.??Immediately after an earthquake, persons should listen to the radio for emergency news updates, and check for broken gas lines and fires.

They should also check utilities and switch them off, if necessary, and check their homes or offices for serious damage and evacuate if the building seems likely to collapse.

They are also reminded that they should be prepared for more earthquakes (aftershocks) and should therefore stay away from landslide prone areas.??In the event that a person becomes trapped following an earthquake, they should not light a match, or move around and kick up dust.

Instead they should cover their mouth with a handkerchief or clothing if possible, tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate them. Shouting should only be used as a last resort, as it can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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