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BASIC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EARTHQUAKE PROTECTION
[click on the photos to enlarge them]

Have a first-aid kit ready



Secure furniture to the wall

Before the Earthquake:

Fasten down hazardous objects well
  1. Have ready: First-aid kit, torches, battery-operated radio, batteries etc and some provisions in a place known to everyone. Know how to disconnect electricity, gas and water.
  2. Make an emergency action plan and ensure that the family gathers in a secure place.
  3. Prepare a telephone list so that, if necessary, you can call the civil protection, fire, medical emergency or police services.
  4. Do not place heavy objects on top of high furniture, secure them on the ground.
  5. Fix furniture such as cupboards, bookshelves, etc., firmly to the walls and fasten down those objects which could cause damage if they fell such as pictures, mirrors, lamps, toxic or inflammable products, etc.Fix furniture such as cupboards, bookshelves, etc., firmly to the walls and fasten down those objects which could cause damage if they fell such as pictures, mirrors, lamps, toxic or inflammable products, etc.
  6. Check the structure of your house and, above all, ensure that chimneys, eaves, rendering, balconies, etc., are securely fixed to the main structural components of the house. If necessary, consult a building expert.

During the earthquake:

Protect yourself by lying underneath a bed




Do not use the lift

If the earthquake is not strong, stay calm — it will soon be over.

If the earthquake is strong, stay calm and transmit your calm to others. Be very careful to avoid risks and remember the following instructions:

  1. If you are inside a building, stay inside; if you're outside, remain outside. Entering or leaving buildings can only cause accidents.
  2. Inside a building, look for strong structures: underneath a table or bed, underneath a door lintel, next to a pillar, supporting wall or in a corner and protect your head.
  3. Do not use the lift and never run headlong towards the exit.
  4. Extinguish all fires. Do not use any type of flame (match, lighter, candle, etc.) during or immediately after the tremor.
  5. Outside of a building, keep away from electricity cables, cornices, windows, parapets, etc.
  6. In order to avoid being hit by dangerous falling objects (glass, cornices, etc.), do not approach or enter buildings. Head for open spaces, do not run and beware of traffic.
  7. If you are travelling in a car when the earthquake occurs, stop where you can and remain in it away from bridges and steep drops.


Lie underneath a table




Keep away from electricity cables
After the Earthquake:

Do not flee headlong
  • keep calm and ensure that others do the same. Prevent any panic situations.
  • Check whether anyone is hurt; give them any necessary first aid. The seriously injured should not be moved except if you have the knowledge to do so; in the event that the situation worsens (fire, landslide, etc.) move the patient with care.
  • Check the condition of water, gas and electricity conduits, both visually and by smell, never start machinery. In the event of any anomaly or doubt, turn off the mains switches, and inform the technicians or authorities.
  • Do not use the telephone. Only do so in the event of an extreme emergency. Turn the radio on to receive information or instructions from the authorities.
  • Be careful opening cupboards —some objects may have been left in an unstable position.
  • Use boots or shoes with thick soles to protect yourself from objects which are sharp or may cut.
  • Do not repair damage immediately, except if there is broken glass or bottles containing toxic or inflammable substances.
  • Put out any fires. If you cannot control them, contact the fire brigade straight away.
  • After a very violent tremor leave the building where you are in an orderly and gradual fashion, especially if the building is damaged.
  • Keep away from damaged buildings. Move to open areas.
  • After a strong earthquake, other smaller aftershocks follow which may cause additional destruction, especially to damaged buildings. Stay away from such buildings.
  • If there are urgent reasons to enter damaged buildings, do so quickly and do not remain inside. Do not enter buildings with serious damage until it is authorized to do so.
  • Take care when using mains water since it may be contaminated. Drink bottled and boiled water.
  • If the epicentre of a large earthquake is at sea, it may cause a tidal wave. This may be of considerable size in the Gulf of Cadiz. Stay away from the beach.


Do not go on to the balcony
WORK WITH THE CIVIL PROTECTION SERVICE:
  • Follow the rules and recommendations for Seismic Emergencies and the instructions of the Civil Protection service.
  • Turn the radio on and follow the instructions given by the authorities. Do not let yourself be influenced by or spread rumours.
  • Report seriously damaged buildings to the authorities, especially those which threaten to collapse in thoroughfares. Report the existence of hazardous material (radioactive, toxic products, etc.) or any event (fire, explosions, etc) which threatens to increase or provoke damage.
  • Work with and under the orders of the Civil Protection service. Coordination is essential. Help provide assistance to the injured, ill, children and old people. We all play a role in civil protection.
  • Pay attention to the instructions of the authorities. If requested, do not enter affected areas. Being curious is dangerous and makes assistance work more difficult.
  • Do not use your car as there is a risk of accidents and hinders external aid.
  • Only use the telephone in extreme cases. Use your resources sparingly (water, food, etc.). Work together with your neighbours.

REMEMBER THAT THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF IN THE EVENT OF A POWERFUL EARTHQUAKE, IS TO BE WELL INFORMED AND PREPARED


USEFUL DEFINITIONS:
  • Earthquake: Sudden and abrupt liberation of energy accumulated by a slow deformation in the Earth’s surface which spreads through seismic waves.
  • Seismic source: Volume of rock which fractures during an earthquake.
  • Seismic tremor: Accumulation of motions vibrating the earth.
  • Hypocentre: The point where the earthquake begins.
  • Epicentre: Point on the surface situated vertically above the focus or hypocentre.
  • Aftershocks: Smaller earthquakes which follow an earthquake.
  • Precursors: Smaller earthquakes which precede a main earthquake.
  • Magnitude: Measurement developed by Richter which indicates the size of and energy liberated by an earthquake in the form of seismic waves. The magnitude scale has no limits, although no earthquakes have been observed with a local magnitude higher than 9.
  • Intensity: Parameter which indicates the impact of tremors in an area affected by earthquake tremors. It is measured using the reactions of people, the degree of damage caused to buildings and the disturbance caused to land (fissures, landslides, etc.). The official scale used in Spain is the E.M.S. 92 which is divided into 12 levels. Damage starts to be significant from level VII.