Statistics highlight that the world experiences about half a million detectable earthquakes annually. Out of these, 100,000 leave subtle effects, while 100 cause massive damages.
The main question is, “how prepared are you in case an earthquake hits your location?” Many people remain uninformed of the basic protection strategies to adapt and minimize the damages resulting from an earthquake. While the occurrence may catch you unaware and throw you off guard, it’s important to have an idea of the vital actions you need to take to remain safe.
Knowing the safest place to hide during an earthquake helps you avoid injuries or other negative impacts that come with earthquakes. That simple move may be all you need to save yourself from fatalities. Even earthquakes with the smallest magnitudes can lead to fatalities if people do not hide safely. Your hiding spots and postures can increase or decrease your survival chances.
Basic Insights on How to React the Moment an Earthquake Hits
When an earthquake begins, you’ll start feeling some tremors on the ground. The shaking may have a high or low magnitude, but you must immediately hide in a safe spot. Follow these simple steps to maximize your safety:
Drop to the Floor
Laying as low as possible prevents injuries that would otherwise occur from forcefully falling due to the tremors. This position also prevents objects from hitting you as they sway over you. You can safely crawl to better hiding places on your hands and knees using steady motions.
Take Cover under a Sturdy Piece of Furniture
The next recommended step is to move under sturdy furniture and remain still. Hiding in such spots shields your body from debris that could be dropping from the ceiling or elsewhere. The downside to that is the possibility of furniture breakage if a large object drops on it, but the impact will be lower than if it found your body uncovered.
Keep Still and Hold on Firmly
After taking cover under sturdy furniture, it’s advisable to remain still and hold onto it firmly. Remaining calm clears up your mind and helps you to remain rational as you figure out the next step to take. Fidgeting or moving around can counter the earthquake’s movements and throw you off balance.
Cover Your Head and Body
If you can access a pillow at the spur of the moment, use it to cover your head to avoid shaking or hitting the floor. You can also use your hands or a thick blanket.
Safest Places to Hide
Sturdy Desks or Tables
These are the most recommended and safest spots to hide during an earthquake. Remember to follow the above-outlined insights of dropping low, holding firmly, and staying still to enhance your safety.
Taking cover under tables or desks will protect you from getting injuries from falling objects. It also minimizes your exposure to earthquake forces.
If an earthquake finds you near a bed, climb on it and cover yourself. Use the pillows to shield your head from any falling debris. The reason why it’s advisable to stay in bed rather than under it is that most beds are hard to flip over, so falling objects can easily lock you beneath them, leaving you without an escape route.
Keep away from Breakable Objects
Keep well away from windows, mirrors, and other breakable objects. The shaking sends a force that is strong enough to send them flying into small shattered pieces. If you are standing too close, you can incur cuts and injuries to your body.
Outside the Building
If the earthquake finds you near the doorway, staying outside tall buildings is safer than remaining inside. Such structures are high risk so staying inside is not advisable because they can collapse at any time. While outside, look out for loose cable lines, flying objects, and falling branches. Take cover in a lower structured building or a safe house.
A Windowless Room
A room that has no windows offers a safe haven for hiding during an earthquake. Here, you will not encounter injuries from broken glass from windows because the room has none. Most of these types of rooms are likely to be at the center of the house, giving you a better position against the incoming forces of the earthquake.
What Not to Do During an Earthquake
Avoid Moving around the Room
Despite the panic mode that may engulf you, avoid moving around the room. Doing that exposes you to the risk of sustaining injuries when objects start falling. Keep calm, lay low and cover yourself to remain as protected as possible.
Do Not Stand Up until the Earthquake Subdues
Standing increases your chance of trembling, losing balance, and falling on the ground. The impact of the fall can lead to head injuries and breakage of bones. Remain as close to the ground as you can to avoid such occurrences.
Do Not Stay in the Doorway
Avoid the doorway and move to other rooms instead. Objects can come flying from outside and harm you while in that position, something that’s unlikely to happen when you hide elsewhere in the house. Keep the door locked unless you have to go outside to escape worse dangers such as fire or a collapsing building.
Avoid Hiding in the Kitchen or Near Electric Power Sources
The kitchen has many loosely hanging objects that are likely to fall during an earthquake. There are also risks of fire and getting injuries from utensils, knives, and other cutlery. Most kitchens lack a table or open spaces under which you can comfortably hide. It is, therefore, advisable to crawl to the next room for safer hiding.
Other spots to avoid are those that are close to sockets or sources of electric power. It is easy to get shocked amid the earthquake as powerlines or appliances come loose and detach.
Some earthquakes occur out of the blue, while the meteorological department predicts others. The latter gives you enough time to prepare and even vacate your premises when the expected impact is said to be high.
If you are caught up in an earthquake, remember to move to the outlined safe places and avoid panicking. Keep your first aid kit close and keep still until the shaking stops.