As the house begins to shake, you remember your friend telling you to get under a door frame to be safe. So that’s what you should do, right? Well, unless your house was built many years ago, this is NOT the best survival tip. Smaller earthquakes of magnitude two and lower occur hundreds of times each day across the globe. Major earthquakes registering magnitude seven on the Richter scale occur about once per month, while magnitude eight earthquakes and higher occur once per year.
With this kind of frequency, we should probably review what not to do if you find yourself in an earthquake. How can screaming for help be bad? Should you stay inside or outside? And why should you avoid stairs at all costs?
Number Six: Don’t Go Under a Doorframe
This idea that door frames are stronger than other parts of the house comes from a bygone era when it was safe to do. Older houses were built a little sturdier, with heavier wooden frames that were designed to last. But modern homes have doorways that are no stronger than any other area of the house. Plus, a doorway won’t protect you from flying debris, and you might not be able to brace yourself as everything is shaking around you.
Number Five: Avoid Windows
Usually, a window is a great place to escape. But in an earthquake, it can be deadly. You might think that being near a window keeps you away from debris and closer to the frame of the building, but shards of broken glass can be fatal if they hit you.
Number Four: No Stairs
Sure, stairs might seem like the quickest path to safety, but they can be deceptively dangerous in an earthquake.
Stairsteps can quickly become shrapnel if a building collapses. Stay off them, and definitely don’t try hiding under them.
Number Three: No Fires
If you happen to be enjoying a quiet night in front of the fireplace when the earthquake hits, you will need to extinguish the fire immediately. If there is a gas leak, which is quite possible during an earthquake, the flame could trigger an explosion.
Number Two: Stay Indoors
It may seem like a good plan to run outside as the walls around you shake, but the immediate area around a building is the most dangerous since windows, facades and architectural details are typically the first to come crumbling down during a quake. As a rule of thumb, stay inside if you are inside. If you’re already outside, stay there.
Number One: No Screaming
Yes, we often tell you to ask for help when you are in a survival situation. However, in this scenario screaming for help could lead to you inhaling large amounts of dust and particles. This is not what you want to have clogging your lungs. A better way to grab attention is to bang on a wall or a pipe.
Hopefully, with these survival don’ts in your pocket, you have managed to make it through the earthquake in one piece. Unfortunately, as you scan the horizon, you see a tsunami headed your way. And contrary to popular belief, you won’t be able to outrun it.
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- “Do’s And Dont’s | Official Website Of National Center For Seismology, Ministry Of Earth Sciences, Government Of India”. 2022. Seismo.Gov.In.