We've compiled your complete guide on what to do during an earthquake in Dubai, as well as other safety tips after the event.
21 April 2013| Last updated on 23 February 2020
In the event of an earthquake in Dubai, keep yourself well-prepared with our thorough guide to tremors and earthquakes in the region.
You may have come from a place that doesn't have earthquakes and have not a clue what to do. Here are some great guidelines and safety tips for you to follow should a tremor or earthquake happen in Dubai.
The UAE is located close to the active plates in Iran, so although tremors are quite rare in the country, it still an occurrence that happens. It's better to know what to do in advance!
Immediate things to do during an earthquake
Drop, cover, and hold on
Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place such as hiding under a sturdy desk. Most people who are injured in earthquakes move more than five feet during the shaking. It is very dangerous to try to leave a building
during an earthquake as objects can fall on you. Many fatalities occur when people run outside of buildings, only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls.
Image courtesy of www.dropcoverholdon.org
If you are in bed, stay put
If you are in bed, hold on and stay by protecting your head with a pillow or, if there is plenty of space, by hiding under the bed. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are.
Broken glass on the floor has caused injury to those who have rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways.
Stay away from buildings, trees, and streetlights
If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines. Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops. Injuries can occur from falling trees, street-lights and, power lines, or building debris.
Stay in your car
If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking has stopped.
It's important to stay in a clear space as trees, power lines, poles, street signs, and other overhead items may fall during earthquakes.
Stopping will help reduce your risk, and a hard-topped vehicle will help protect you from flying or falling objects. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.
Stay indoors until the shaking stops
Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. More injuries happen when people move during the shaking of an earthquake. After the shaking has stopped, if you go outside, move quickly away from the building to prevent injury from falling debris.
Stay away from windows
Stay away from windows. Windows can shatter with such force that you can be injured several feet away.
Watch out for fire alarms/sprinklers
In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a heavy tremor. Earthquakes frequently cause fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems to go off even if there is no fire. Check for and extinguish small fires, and, if exiting, use the stairs.
What to Do After an Earthquake
Check yourself for injuries
Often people tend to others without checking their own injuries. You will be better able to care for others if you are not injured or if you have received first aid for your injuries.
Wear long pants and sleeves
Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes, and work gloves. This will protect you from further injury by broken objects.
Help injured or trapped persons
After you have taken care of yourself, help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid when appropriate. Don't try to move critically injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Stay with them and wait for medical professionals.
Look for and extinguish small fires
Eliminate fire hazards. Putting out small fires quickly, using available resources, will prevent them from spreading. Fire is the most common hazard following earthquakes.
Leave the gas on at the main valve, unless you smell gas or think its leaking.
It may be weeks or months before professionals can turn gas back on using the correct procedures. Explosions have caused injury and death when homeowners have improperly turned their gas back on by themselves.
Clean up spilled liquids
This includes bleaches, gasoline, or other flammable liquids. Avoid the hazard of a chemical emergency.
Open any closet and cabinet doors cautiously
Contents may have shifted during the shaking of an earthquake and could fall, creating further damage or injury.
Inspect your home for damage
Get everyone out if your home is unsafe. Aftershocks following earthquakes can cause further damage to unstable buildings. If your home has experienced damage, get out before aftershocks happen.
Help neighbours/colleagues who may require special assistance
Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
Listen for public updates
Listen to the radio, a TV, check your phone, etc. for updated emergency information and instructions. If the electricity is out, this may be your main source of information. Local radio and local officials provide the most appropriate advice for your particular situation.
Each time you feel one, drop, cover, and hold on! Aftershocks frequently occur within minutes, days, weeks, and even months following an earthquake.
Be careful in damaged areas
Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines, and stay out of damaged areas. Hazards caused by earthquakes are often difficult to see, and you could be easily injured.
Stay out of damaged buildings
If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe. Damaged buildings may be destroyed by aftershocks following the main quake.
Other earthquake safety tips and guidelines in Dubai
Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights...
...when inspecting your home. Kerosene lanterns, torches, candles, and matches may tip over or ignite flammables inside.
Take pictures of the damage
If your house, contents, or car were damaged, take photos for insurance claims.
When entering buildings, use extreme caution
Building damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Carefully watch every step you take. Examine walls, floor, doors, staircases, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing.
Check for gas leaks
If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas, using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighbour’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
Look for electrical system damage
If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
Check for sewage and water line damage
If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters or by melting ice cubes.
Watch for loose materials
This includes plaster, dry wall, and ceilings that could fall.
Watch animals closely.
It's advised to leash pet dogs and avoid agitating them. The behaviour of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake. Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or defensive.