Earthquakes | Natural Risks

Earthquakes are caused by tectonic plate movements that make the ground shift or vibrate, resulting in fires, gas leaks, collapsed buildings, flooding due to ruptured pipes, damage to bridges and other structures, and the shattering of fragile or glass structures. Earthquakes can consist of a sequence of foreshocks and aftershocks. Commonly, public utilities and communications are disrupted by severe earthquakes, as are emergency services. The IMP is designed to address the immediate preparation for and response to an earthquake event, reducing the probability of injuries to personnel and damage to facilities.

Add a note hereAlthough some areas have governmentled risk management structures and protocols in place to identify pending earthquakes and respond to the subsequent hazards, there is typically only a few moments of warning to allow preparation. The initial response to a warning must therefore be well practiced and proven in order to be effective. Prior to the earthquake occurring, personnel should seek to secure all loose possessions, especially large, heavy, and breakable items. A safe location should have been identified as part of the contingency plan to accommodate personnel. If no such facility is available, personnel should seek refuge under sturdy tables or door frames. Where possible, gas supplies should be turned off and open flames should be quenched. If outside during the earthquake, personnel should drop to the ground and take cover until the shaking stops, covering their heads with their arms, and positioning themselves away from glass, windows, outside doors, and walls. Doorways should be used only if they are known to be strongly supported. If outdoors, personnel should be advised to stay outside and move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires until the shaking ceases. The greatest danger exists near building exits and alongside exterior walls. Personnel should be advised that the ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of injury.

Add a note herePersonnel in a moving vehicle at the time of the earthquake should stop as quickly as safety permits and remain within the vehicle. Vehicles should not be stopped near buildings or under trees, overpasses, or utility wires. Once the shaking has ceased, vehicles can be used at slow speeds and with caution—avoiding roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake. After an earthquake, aftershocks may occur, as well as secondary hazards such as fires, floods, explosions, or tsunamis. Personnel should be aware that gas leaks might result in fires and that many of the symptoms of floods and hurricanes will be prevalent. Any personnel trapped within collapsed buildings should not light a match or move about and disturb any dust or debris; rather, they should cover their mouths with handkerchiefs or clothing and tap on a pipe to assist rescuers in locating them. Personnel should shout only as a last resort, as shouting can cause them to inhale harmful materials and become exhausted. The IMP is designed to support local managers and the IRT leading up to and during the first effects of an earthquake, prior to crisis management structures and groups mobilizing.

Popular Posts