Week 20 – EARTHQUAKE! – what DO you do?

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By Jackie Kloosterboer – Speaker, Trainer, 
Author – My Earthquake Preparedness Guide 

QUESTION:   If there was an Earthquake right now – what do you do?
Imagine – all of a sudden the floor beneath your feet starts to shake – ever so slightly and with each passing moment the shaking intensifies.  What would you do? 

What would come crashing to the floor injuring you, your family and pets? 

Would that unsecured bookcase overflowing with books crash to the ground injuring your family or pets? 
Is there a table to Drop, Cover and Hold On under, a wall to crouch down beside so you can Drop, Cover and Hold On? 

Go on – take a look around the room you are in.  Determine what you would do right now if faced with an earthquake.    

Knowing what to do mustbecome 2nd nature – after all many of us live in Earthquake Country.  Drop! Cover! Hold On! is what will better protect you and your family during an Earthquake!


Canadian and US studies show that most injuries in an Earthquake happen from people doing the wrong thing. It’s human nature to want to flee to safety but often the ground is moving so violently you won’t be able to run or crawl anywhere.  

If you are able to run or crawl that is when you have flying debris shooting across the room, tumbling bookcases and if caught in that situation it can certainly cause significant injuries to your family and pets………….or maybe even worse.
That is why it is SO important to practice what to do in an Earthquake.
Practice the “What If” game with your family – simply ask – What if there was an earthquake right now – what would I do?  

Ummmmm – I don’t know, there is a desk over there, but there is too much stuff under it, there is a table across the room with glass – that won’t work, the wall has a huge heavy picture or the shelves in this store go right to the ceiling – not sure what I would do.  

When facing an Earthquake valuable time is lost running through this thought process of what to do.  You will be better protected if you know immediately what to do when the earth starts to move.  
Practicing what to do in an Earthquake in a variety of locations will save you valuable seconds and will help you take the best action to better protect yourself.  You won’t be panicking thinking what do I do – because you have practiced it – you know what to do and what to look for when facing an earthquake.
Remember that old saying “Practice makes perfect – it certainly does when trying to protect yourself from an earthquake. 

WE MUST ALL PRACTICE DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON!
What if I am inside?
Last week we talked about what to do inside your home, but what if you are inside a shopping mall.  Try to go into the nearest store making sure you stay away from windows and heavy objects that can fall. If unable to move because the ground is moving so violently stay where you are and Drop, Cover and Hold On and protect yourself the best you can.
If you are at school, Drop Cover and Hold On under a desk or table and hold on till the shaking stops. Keep your back to the windows. 
If you in a theatre or a stadium – stay in your seat and Drop Cover and Hold on the best you can. When the shaking has stopped follow the direction of staff.
What if I am Outside?
Stay outside and try to get to an open area away from buildings. Being close to a building may cause injury from falling debris. 
If you are at a public event, try to move away from people so you don’t get trampled. Again, Drop, Cover and Hold on is your best protection. Watch for trees that may fall or power lines that could come down.
What if I am in my Car?
When safe to do so – pull over to the side of the road. Listen to your radio for updates on the Earthquake.  Your location may be fine but there could be damage on the road ahead. Watch for fallen power lines – DO NOT get out of your car if there are downed lines close by and remember to stay at least 10 metres away to avoid injury.  If possible get away from bridges, over passes or anything that could fall and injure you.
What if I am on Transit?
If you are on a bus stay on the bus. Drop Cover and Hold On in your seat. If you are not in a seat Drop, Cover and Hold On the best you can. The bus will likely pull over and will await direction until they know it’s safe to be on the road.  
What if I am in an Elevator?
If you are in an elevator hit the button for every floor and get out as soon as you can. Take the emergency stairway to exit the building once the shaking has stopped.
What if I am in bed?
If you are in bed – stay in bed.  Being in bed in an earthquake is a great place to be. We see far less injuries when earthquakes occur during the night.  Make sure you don’t have heavy pictures hung above your bed that could fall and injure you. When the shaking has stopped get out of bed cautiously. There may be broken glass or broken objects on the floor. Great idea to keep a pair of sturdy shoes under your bed.
I could write another 10 pages of What to do if….. but I think by now it should be pretty clear. 


You’re Task for Week #20
1.    Practice Drop, Cover & Hold On – this must become second nature. This is what will better protect you and your family. Get under a heavy table or desk if close by, or go against an interior wall and Drop, Cover and Hold On and wait for the shaking to stop before making your next move.
2.   Practice “What If” – as you go about your daily routine ask yourself – What if there was an Earthquake right now – what would I do?  When faced with an Earthquake you won’t be panicking because you have practiced the drill.  This could save your life.
Week 21 we will look at what to do after the Earthquake.
Have questions – don’t hesitate to ask. Until next week – Stay safe and make sure you, your family and pets are prepared for earthquake or any disaster that may come your way.
As Always BE PREPARED – NOT SCARED!
     
Jackie Kloosterboer – BIO
Jackie Kloosterboer has been leading the way in earthquake preparedness for 2 decades presenting more than 100 Earthquake Preparedness sessions each year to a variety of groups and businesses. She is often interviewed by a variety of media outlets across Canada as she promotes the importance of earthquake and disaster preparedness.
As an Emergency Preparedness Specialist and an Instructor with the Justice Institute of BC Jackie travels across Canada teaching people how to respond to disasters to help those who have been displaced. Throughout British Columbia Jackie has taken on leadership roles assisting those who have been impacted by disaster.

Contact Jackie to speak at your next group or business event to help you, your family, your staff and pets get prepared for earthquakes or whatever disaster comes your way. Jackie will lead you through the necessary steps helping you identify what is important to you and your family or business.  

Contact Jackie with any questions or to book her for your next event at jackie@survive-it.ca or call (604) 355-2414

Jackie is available for:
Earthquake Preparedness Presentations
Preparedness Plans
In-Home Walk-Throughs
Preparedness Kits
Media Interviews

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