The citizen’s role: Rules of Behaviour
Observe and adhere to some simple rules of behaviour which can minimize the impact that earthquakes can have. The first step is to look around and identify everything in your house that could become dangerous. Most people think that the victims of an earthquake are caused by collapsing buildings. In reality, many of the victims are injured by objects that break or fall on them, e.g. televisions, paintings, mirrors, suspended ceilings. Some simple and inexpensive measures can secure your house and protect you.
- Remove heavy furniture near to bookcases, beds, sofas or from places where you would normally sit
- Use curved hook nails to hang paintings, this will prevent them from falling
- Place heavy objects on lower shelves and secure light objects with double sided tape on higher shelves
- Secure shelves, bookcases and other tall furniture to walls
- In the kitchen, use a catch on kitchen cabinet doors where plates and cups are kept this ensures that during an earthquake they will not open and fall out.
- Fix electronic equipment, stereos, computers, to surfaces with flat nylon strapping.
There are important things to be aware of and questions to be answered.
If you live in an earthquake prone area:
• Find out what earthquake hazard zone you live in by asking the Technical Office of your municipality or region. All new homes built after hazard zone classification are built in compliance with anti-seismic regulations.
• Find out about your municipal civil protection plan and review them. Find out what to expect (e.g. where the gathering area for the population is, the emergency area, resources available, etc..), Otherwise urge the Mayor to comply.
• Find out how your house was built and especially check:
-If the house was designed and built with seismic criteria
-If measures were taken to make it more resistant
-If measures have to be taken to strengthen it, using funds specifically earmarked for renovation and redevelopment of real estate.
• Organize a family emergency plan and ensure that:
-There are no heavy objects on high bookcases or shelves
-Heavy furniture is secured to walls
-You have a first aid kit, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, a fire extinguisher and that everyone knows where they are.
-Everyone knows how and where to close off gas, water and electric supplies
• Find out if an emergency contingency plan has been issued at school or at work. Find out about your tasks and your behaviour code.