How to be safe from Earthquake ?

Earthquake is a process that is not predictable. Despite all the modern facilities of science, at the time of earthquake, it is difficult to tell the extent and intensity of the earthquake.

In a statement given to the The Gurkha Times, Prof. Chandan Ghosh explains that when an earthquake occurs, there are two types of waves. One is called primary wave and the other is called secondary wave.

The average speed of the primary wave is 6 km/h. per second whereas the secondary wave averages 4 km. moves at a speed per second. Due to this difference every 100 kms. But there is a difference of 8 seconds. That is, 100 km from the earthquake center. 8 seconds before the distance it can be known that an earthquake is coming.

This time interval is very short of few seconds. This is the reason that no earthquake prediction is possible regarding this. Yes, with the help of this, bullet trains and nuclear power plants in Japan are stopped automatically.

Instead of panic, take decisions with a steady mind.

After an earthquake, most people reach a state of dejection. Can’t understand what to do. Have to stay at home or go out of the house. What to do if you want to stay at home? What to do if you are outside the house? What to do if you are in a multistorey building. What to do if you live in an old type house? If we do not pay attention to these things, then the damage is very high.

Earthquake in Nepal, 2015

Earthquake is such a natural process which is almost impossible to predict. Often people are heard saying that if the meteorological department had given us information, then the damage would have been less. In an interview given to The Gurkha Times, UP Meteorological Department director JP Gupta says that when the earthquake will come, it cannot be predicted. The exact time of the earthquake cannot be given. If any person is saying that an earthquake will happen at this hour, then it will be a false rumour. Some mischievous elements do this to spread panic.

What precautions should we take before an earthquake occurs?

If we plan in advance about the earthquake, then the damage can be greatly reduced. The collapse of houses, bursting of roads and loss of life and property can be minimized. We must follow the ‘Earthquake Construction Standards’ regarding the construction of earthquake resistant houses.

Environmentalist Vandana Shiva explains, “Earthquakes are always occurring in California, but there is a ‘building code’ so that the houses there can tolerate earthquakes and there is no major incident of damage to life and property. That’s why we have to try to prepare building codes according to what scientists say in the ‘Earthquake Fault’ areas. It is very simple that if instead of one storey we build ten storeys, then our loss will also be ten times instead of one. Building codes are a must to avoid this ten times bigger loss. Governments should investigate the lands wherever there are ‘Earthquake Fault’ areas in the country and prepare building codes on that basis.

She goes on to say that “the problem of our governments is that on the one hand it wants to modernize, under which it is building big, high-rise houses, on the other hand it ignores the dangers of earthquakes. The sense of security that comes with modernity is ignored by governments by saying that we cannot do so because we are a poor country. How strange is this. So how far is it possible to avoid an earthquake? Obviously, both cannot be together. If you bring modernization, you will have to bring security with it. Bring nuclear weapons, but at the same time develop ways to avoid them. We want to do only one thing, which in the future can bring no benefit except harm. If you bring GM, then biosafety will also have to be brought. Similarly, if you want to build big and high-rise houses, then for this a ‘building code’ will also have to be made keeping in view the ‘earthquake fault’ of that area.

Ways to plan in advance for an earthquake

1. What things can be dangerous during an earthquake, and measures to avoid them

1.i. Keep heavy shelves and shelves near the walls.

1.ii. Keep large and heavy items at the bottom of the cupboards or shelves.

1.iii. Keep bottled foods, fragile items made of glass or ceramics that are easily breakable by tethering them to closed shelves at the bottom.

1.iv. Do not place large pictures or paintings with frames over the place where there is a sitting area, these things can fall during an earthquake and cause damage.

1.v. Underground the ‘lighting’ upper fittings on the roofs of the house and rooms. Get repairs of bad wiring and weak electrical wires and leaking gas pipe connections immediately. There is a potential risk of fire from them.

1.vii. Secure the water heater by tying it to the wall and bolting it to the floor.

1.viii. Repair deep cracks in the roof or foundation. Seek expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.

1.ix. Keep weed killers, insecticides and flammable products in closed cabinets on lower shelves and by spitting.

2. Identify safe places inside and out
Always look for a place in your home where you can take shelter during an earthquake.

2.i. Sturdy furniture, sturdy tables or under a sturdy bed such as a heavy desk or table.

2.ii. In front of an inside wall. Away from windows, mirrors, pictures where glass can shatter or fall, Heavy book shelves or other heavy furniture with the possibility of falling, stay away from them.

2.iii. Away from buildings, trees, telephone and power lines, bridges or highways at high altitude.

3. Educate yourself and family members about earthquakes

3.i. For more information about earthquakes, contact your local emergency management office or Red Cross organization.

3.ii. Teach children when and how to call 100, the police or fire department, and which radio station to listen to for emergency information.

3.iii. Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water.

4. Keep things handy in case of tragedy
4.i. Flashlight and extra batteries.
4.ii. Portable battery operated radio and spare batteries.
4.iii. First aid kit and manual.
4.iv. Emergency food and water.
4.v. Non-electrically operated box opener. Necessary medicines.
4.vii. Cash and credit cards.
4.viii. Sturdy shoes.

5. Develop an Emergency Communications Plan

5.i. If family members are separated during an earthquake (likely during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reunification after the tragedy.

5.ii. Ask a relative or friend from out of state to act as the ‘family contact point’. It is often easier to make a long distance call after a tragedy. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.

6. Help Your Community Be Prepared

6. i. Publish a special section in your local newspaper with information on emergencies during an earthquake. Localize the information by printing the phone numbers of local emergency service offices, Red Cross organizations and hospitals.

6.ii. Conduct a week long series on home hazard detection.

6.iii. Work with local emergency services and Red Cross officials to prepare specific reports on what to do for injured, crashed people during an earthquake.

6.iv. Provide tips on conducting earthquake exercises at home.

6.v. If the home is heavily damaged by an earthquake and the house is damaged, talk to representatives of gas, electricity and water companies to shut down the utilities. Work with the community using your knowledge to create codes, retrofitting programs, hazard detection, and nearby and family emergency programs.

What to do during an earthquake ?

Be as safe as possible during an earthquake. Keep in mind that some earthquakes are actually pre-tremors and a larger earthquake may occur later. Limit your movements to a few steps to the nearest safe area, and if you’re indoors, stay there until you’re sure the vibrations have stopped and it’s safe to go out.

If you are indoors

i. Sit down immediately on the ground, sneak under a sturdy table or other furniture to use as a shield; And stay there until the vibration stops. If you don’t have a table or desk, cover your face and head with your arms and stand leaning into the inner corner of the building.

ii. Stay away from anything that could fall, such as glass, windows, exterior doors and walls, and lighting fittings or furniture.

iii. If you are in bed when the earthquake strikes, stay there. Protect your head with a pillow, provided that you are not under a heavy light fitting that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.

iv. Use a door for shelter only if it is close to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing door.

v. Stay indoors until the vibration stops. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside the building try to move to another location inside the building or try to come out of the building.
vi. Be aware that the power may be turned off or the sprinkler system or fire alarm may be triggered.
vii. Do not use the lift.

If you are out of the house

i. Stay outside.

ii. Move away from buildings, roads and utility wires.

iii. Once out in the open, stay there until the vibration stops. The greatest danger is just outside buildings, on exits, and near exterior walls. Most of the 120 deaths in the 1933 Log Beach earthquake occurred when people ran out of buildings and were buried under debris from collapsing walls. Landslide during an earthquake is rarely the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related deaths are caused by falling walls, flying glass pieces, and falling objects if in a moving vehicle.

i. Stop the vehicle as soon as security allows and stay in it. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overhead paths and utility wires.

ii. Proceed with caution once the earthquake stops. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that may have been damaged by the earthquake.

If buried in rubble

i. Do not light matches.
ii. Do not dust or kick it.
iii. Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or cloth.
iv. Hit the pipe or wall so that rescuers can find you. Use whistle if available. Shout only as a last resort.

Dangerous amounts of dust can enter the body.

More than 8000 people lost their lives in 2015 Earthquake in Nepal.

What to do after an earthquake ?

i. Mild tremors may occur after a major earthquake, expect it. These secondary shockwaves are usually less damaging than a main earthquake but can be strong enough to cause additional damage to vulnerable structures and may occur in the hours, weeks, or even months after the earthquake.

ii. Listen to a battery operated radio or television. Listen for the latest emergency information.

iii. Use the telephone for emergency calls only.

iv. Open the cabinets carefully. Beware of objects that may fall from the shelves.

v. Stay away from damaged areas. Stay away unless your assistance is specifically requested by the police, fire department or relief organizations. Return home only if it is told safe by the authorities to do so.

vi. Be aware of potential tsunamis if you live in coastal areas. These are also known as earthquake sea waves (erroneously called ‘tidal waves’). When local officials issue a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is approaching. Stay away from the beach.

vii. Help injured or trapped persons. Don’t forget to help your neighbors like babies, the elderly, people with disabilities who may need your special help. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not attempt to move injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. call for help.

viii. Dispose of spilled drugs, bleach, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. If you smell gas or vapor from other chemicals, move away from the area.

ix. Inspect the entire length of the chimney for damage. Any damage that is not taken care of can lead to a fire.

X. Inspect Utilities.

Xi. Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or make a loud or low noise, leave the building quickly with the window open. If possible, turn off the gas from the main valve outside and call the gas company from the neighbor’s house. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it should be turned on again by a professional.

xii. Check for damage to the electrical system. If you see sparks or broken, frayed wires or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the power from the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to cross water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, consult an electrician.

xiii. Check sewage and water lines for damage. If you suspect that sewage lines have been damaged, avoid using the toilet and call a plumber.

Familiarize yourself with this terminology to help identify earthquake risk:

Damage after the Earthquake in Nepal, 2015.


An earthquake of equal or lesser intensity that follows a major earthquake.


A sudden sliding or sliding of a part of the earth’s crust, accompanied by a series of vibrations followed by


The point on the Earth’s surface directly above the fault point where the rupture for an earthquake began. Once a fault begins to slide, it then spreads along the fault during an earthquake and can extend for hundreds of miles before stopping.

A fracture on either side of which displacement has occurred during an earthquake. The sliding range in a severe earthquake can range from one inch to more than 10 yards.


The amount of energy emitted during an earthquake, which is calculated from the amplitude of the seismic waves. A magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale indicates a very strong earthquake. Each whole number on this scale represents an approximately 30-fold increase in the emitted energy represented by the whole number preceding it. Therefore, an earthquake measuring 6.0 is 30 times more powerful than an earthquake of magnitude 5.0.

Seismic waves

Seismic waves, The vibrations that move outward from the seismic fault at a speed of several miles per second. Although the sliding of a fault directly beneath a structure can cause considerable damage, the vibrations of seismic waves cause most of the destruction during an earthquake.

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