Earthquakes

An earthquake is a rapid shaking of the surface of the Earth combined with the movement of rock layers. Earthquakes may happen unsuspectingly and cause injury and damage to property and traffic. Additionally, they might cause fires, tsunamis, landslides or avalanches. Areas with a higher risk of frequent and severe earthquakes are called seismic zones. There’re two main seismic zones of the Earth:

Circum-Pacific – comprising the Pacific Coast of the Americas, the Aleutian and Curyllian Islands, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, the Mariana Islands, New Guinea, the New Hebrides, Fiji Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Kermadec and New Zealand. About 75% of all recorded earthquakes occur here.

Alpine-Himalayan – from the Azores through the Alps, the Apennines, the Balkans, Anatolia, the Iranian Highlands, the Hindu Kush Mountains, the Himalayas and Tibet to the Sundays. About 15% of all recorded earthquakes occur here.

Poland is a region where a seismic doesn’t appear frequently. Nevertheless, earthquakes do occur in Poland, with the strongest ones in the Silesian and Lower Silesian provinces. Their magnitude is statistically about 4.

Before

The best time to prepare for any disaster is before it comes.

• Practice squatting and hiding. If necessary, examine staying with your family and coworkers as well
• Secure heavy objects at home, such as shelves, refrigerators, television and items hanging from walls. Store large and brittle items on low shelves
• Design a Family emergency plan. Choose a meeting place if case of dividing from each other
• Make a set of supplies containing enough food and water for at least three days, a flashlight, fire extinguisher and a whistle
• Review the specific needs of each person, including medications. Possess additional batteries and recharging devices for phones and other critical equipment. Don’t forget the animals’ needs
• Keep a personal evacuation backpack in your car or an apartment with a content that’ll allow you to survive 3 days without external supplies
• Check if your insurance policy covers an earthquake damage

During

• If you’re in a vehicle, stop and wait. Pull the parking brake
• If you’re in bed, turn your face down and cover your head and neck with a pillow
• If you’re outside, stay away from buildings
• Stay away from the doors

Crouch, cover yourself up and hold on:

Crouch: do it wherever you’re, using your hands and knees. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure the wheels are locked until the trembling stops.

Cover: Cover your head and neck with your hands. If there’s a solid table or desk nearby, crawl underneath it. If there’s no safe place nearby, crawl and stop by the construction wall (away from windows). Keep your knees or bend over to protect important organs.

Hold on: hold on with one hand if you’re under a table or a desk and be ready to move if it moves. If you can’t find a table or desk, cover your head and neck with both your hands and arms. If you’re sitting, lean forward, cover your head with your hands and hold your neck with both hands.

After

If an earthquake has just appeared, serious threats such as building’s breakdown, gas and water leaks or damaged power lines may occur.

• Expect the aftershock to occur after the main earthquake
• Verify if you’re injured and help others if you’re trained. Find out how to become the help before the health services’ arrival
• If you’re in a damaged building, go outside and leave the building quickly. Similarly, don’t enter any damaged building
• If you’re trapped, protect your mouth, nose and eyes from the dust. Send a text message, hit a pipe or wall or use a whistle instead of shouting to help the rescuers locate you
• If you’re in an area where a tsunami may occur, go inland or to a higher area as soon as the shock stops
• Text messages can be more reliable than phone calls. Use phone calls only if necessary, contact via SMS
• When you’re safe, follow local messages to obtain emergency information and instructions via a radio, TV, social media or from text messages given by a mobile phone
• Get involved in earthquake’s effects removal process. Be careful when cleaning up buildings and rubbish after a disaster. Don’t try to remove heavy dirt by yourself. Wear protective clothing when cleaning, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves and sturdy boots with thick soles
• Contact an emergency services that may inform your family that you’re safe

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