How to Prepare for an Earthquake
An earthquake generally lasts only a few seconds, but California residents can agree that it can be the most terrifying few seconds of a person’s life. Buildings crack and loosen debris, furniture tumbles about, electrical wires can come loose and fires can result. The aftermath of an earthquake can last far, far longer than the brief time it takes to get through the event. However, if you understand how to prepare for an earthquake, you can mitigate some of the serious damage, reduce your liability and save lives.
Earthquake Safety Tips
It is important to know your safe zones and make sure that your workers are well-trained and versed in where they are located and how to get to them. Safe zones can be anything from a doorway to a bathtub, a sturdy piece of furniture or any place where you are shielded from falling debris. A few feet can make all the difference when it comes to getting out of harm’s way.
Drop, Cover, Hold
When learning how to prepare for an earth quake, drop, cover and hold are the three steps people should take to shield themselves from damage. Get to a safe zone, drop to your hands and knees, grab onto the sturdy area and cover yourself to protect your eyes, face and head from damage.
Your staff should practice getting to safe zones and engaging in these steps repeatedly with regular earthquake drills. Eventually this will become instinct and the procedures will become automatic. When your workers don’t have to think about doing the right thing, they are more likely to avoid injury or even death.
Plans and Drills
You should have a solid and stable plan for how to prepare for an earthquake. This plan should be revised as needed and all workers should be well-versed in the details. This not only protects the individual worker, but allows them to help other workers and save lives.
A minimum of twice per year, you should hold earthquake drills and planning meetings. At these meetings, have all workers practice their safe zone activities, then go over and adjust your earthquake plan as necessary. Get first aid training for at least some of your workers and make sure it stays current.
The Aftermath of an Earthquake
After an earthquake, all workers should stay where they are until certain the quake is over. Each person should check for injuries, then check those around. Aftershocks can happen within minutes to days after the main quake, so it’s important to make sure that everything is stable before moving.
Assess damage for fires, structural integrity or other problems. If the building needs to be evacuated due to fire or structural reasons, never use the elevator. Take the stairs. Coordinate your plan as written and be sure everyone moves away from the building.