When the earth starts to shake – NEMO offers advice

By SNO Staff

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(SNO) – In light of earthquakes that have shaken the region in recent times, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) is reminding Saint Lucian of what they should do in case one affects the island.

Before an earthquake even takes place, NEMO said there are a number of things people should do in order to reduce the risk of injury or even death.

They are:

-Reduce the threats of hazards within your home by bolting down unstable items and and placing large and heavy objects on lower shelves.

-Contact professionals to repair defective electrical wiring, leaking gas lines and install flexible utility connections

-Know where and how to shut off water, electricity and gas supply

-Keep exits free of obstacles and locate safe spots and danger zone in each room of your home

-Family members should know basic first aid

-Store important documents in waterproof/fireproof containers and ensure your Disaster Survial Kit is stocked and prepared

-Identify someone you can rely on to pick up your children from school in case you cannot get them in an emergency situation

-Choose and memorize two meeting points: one outside your home and one outside your neighbourhood

-Practice safety drills so everyone knows how to “drop, cover and hold on” and how to evacuate safely

During an earthquake, NEMO said there are number of things a person can do

They include:

-Do not rush for exits. Others may have the same idea and trampling may occur. If you have to leave, use the stairs not the elevator

-Protect your head and face

-Take cover under a sturdy desk, table, bench or bed

-Or move to an interior wall; kneel with back to wall; place head close to knees; clasp hands behind neck; and cover side of head with arms

-Or brace yourself in an interior doorway. Never take shelter by standing in external doorways

-Move away from outer walls, windows, glass doors, heavy mirrors, pictures, hanging plants and heavy objects

-If the earthquake occurs and you are outside, move away from building, trees, street lights and utility wires

The following should be done after and earthquake:

-Be prepared for more earthquake tremors and aftershocks

-Turn on a battery-powered radio for emergency bulletin

-Use a batter-powered flashlight. Do not use candles or matches or open flames indoors because of the possiblities of gas leaks.

-Check utilities and shut off if necessary

-Do not use your telephone for the first 90 minutes after an earthquake, except for an emergency

-Stay away from buildings that have been damaged or weakened by the earthquake

-Keep the streets clear for the passage of emergency and rescue vehicles

-Do not attempt to move seriously injured people unless they are in danger of further injury

-If you leave near coastal waters, be aware that the earthquake may have caused a tsunami. Evacuate to higher grounds immediately and stay there until you are told it is safe to return

-Parents, do not phone your child’s school, they may be trying to reach you or emergency response services.

The important thing is to be prepared.

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