After the recent earthquakes in the Gulf and with the tremors felt in Dubai we've got a guide of what to do during an earthquake.
26 September 2013| Last updated on 11 December 2017
The recent tremors in Saudi Arabia have highlighted that we should be prepared what to do in the event of a tremor or earthquake 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.
IN Saudi Arabia we are close to the active plates in Iran so there have been tremors felt in the region although they are quite rare- 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. Most injured persons in
earthquakes move more than five feet during the shaking. It is very dangerous to try to leave a building
during an earthquake because objects can fall on you. Many fatalities occur when people run outside
of buildings, only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls.
• If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. 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.
• 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.
• 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. 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 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. Windows can shatter with such force that you can be injured several feet
• In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake. 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.
• 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.
• After you have taken care of yourself, help injured or trapped persons. If you have it in your area, base
emergency, then give first aid when appropriate. Don't try to move seriously injured people unless they
are in immediate danger of further injury.
• 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
• 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 medicines, bleaches, gasoline, or other flammable liquids immediately. Avoid the
hazard of a chemical emergency.
• Open 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 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 to a portable, battery-operated radio (or television) 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.
• Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, drop, cover, and hold on! Aftershocks frequently occur
minutes, days, weeks, and even months following an earthquake.
• 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.
• Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to inspect your home. Kerosene lanterns, torches, candles,
and matches may tip over or ignite flammables inside.
• Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents, for insurance claims.
• Avoid smoking inside buildings. Smoking in confined areas can cause fires.
• 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
• 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 plaster, dry wall, and ceilings that could fall.
• Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies. Telephone lines are frequently
overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be clear for emergency calls to get through.
• Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard. The behaviour of pets may
change dramatically after an earthquake. Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become
aggressive or defensive.
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