Priority when earthquake strikes: seek cover immediately 地震第一件事該做什麼? 不要猶豫就地找掩護!

Wed, Mar 07, 2018 - Page 14

Taiwan suffers frequent earthquakes, due to its location within a plate collision zone. People here should therefore be aware of disaster prevention advice in order to keep themselves safe. In the event of an earthquake, or on receiving an earthquake warning announcement, certain steps should be followed. Experts advise a four-step safety procedure: Take cover; open doors; turn off electricity and gas; exit the building.

1. Take cover

When an earthquake hits, personal safety is the priority. Immediately take cover and ensure your head is protected. The three steps to be followed for seeking cover are “drop, find cover, and hold on,” for example by dropping to the floor, taking cover under a solid table, and holding on to a table leg for stability. If outdoors, to avoid being hit by falling signs, seek shelter immediately and squat down until the tremor stops. If driving, bring the vehicle to a stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine until such time as the shaking stops.

One misconception is the so-called “triangle of life,” described in certain widely circulated e-mails and which recommends finding space beside a piece of furniture. The problem is that it is impossible to predict the direction in which a building or piece of furniture will fall during an earthquake. The most sensible solution is to take cover under a solid table.

2. Open doors

Door frames may become broken or misshapen during earthquakes, making it impossible to open the door when you need to escape. If you are within reaching distance of the door when the earthquake begins, open it. However, if you are some distance away, prioritize your personal safety and take cover in the first instance, going to open the door only when the shaking stops.

3. Turn power off

If you are near the power switch or gas valve when the shaking starts, turn off the power. Again, if you are not in their immediate vicinity, the focus should be on your own safety.

4. Escape

Do not attempt to run out of the building until the shaking stops. When it does, find an open space, away from buildings with cracks. Make sure the aftershocks have stopped before returning home.

In addition to these safety tips, each household should prepare an emergency bag for each member of the family to carry with them should it be deemed unsafe to remain at home. Each bag should contain cookies and water sufficient for three days use, a flashlight and whistle, and anything else that might be needed. The emergency bag is also useful to keep anyone unfortunate enough to be trapped alive until such time as they are rescued.

(Liberty Times, translated by Lin Lee-kai)