ODM educates schools of earthquake drills

by: - February 1, 2019
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The Office of Disaster Management in collaboration with the Ministry of Education initiated and
carried out a national Earthquake Drill in all schools.
This is part of the activities to increase awareness on earthquake hazards and safety plans. A “drop, cover and hold on” exercise was executed in schools earlier this week.
An earthquake is a sudden slipping or movement of a portion of the Earth’s crust. This is then followed by a series of vibrations.
This is a critical activity as the ODM and the wider Ministry of Environment, Climate Resilience, Disaster Management and Urban Renewal seek to build collaborative efforts on strengthening the national Early Warning Systems (EWS) and to build the preparedness and response capacity of our youth.
Students were encouraged to take the message home to their families and continue to practice.
The general public should also begin to practice a few simple safety activities.
These include examining your homes, offices and business places and determining your safe space such as
under desks; tables; beds; an interior wall free of hanging objects or drop and take cover next to
these objects if you are unable to fit under them in the event of an earthquake.
ODM cautions the public to be reminded that earthquakes can occur at any time. Knowing what to do reduces panic and chances of getting hurt.
During an earthquake the recommended practice remains to Drop, Cover and Hold On.
Official rescue teams and emergency managers have found that this method will reduce your chances of
falling from ground shaking or stepping on objects that have fallen, flying debris and other
nonstructural hazards; increase the chance of your ending up in a Survivable Void Space if the
building actually collapses and you will be more likely to react quickly when shaking begins if
you have actually practiced how to protect yourself on a regular basis.
Earthquake magnitude as measured on the Richter Magnitude Scale ranges from micro to light which is less than 2.0 to 4.9 and the shaking ranges from not being felt but measurable to noticeable shaking but no significant damage likely; 5.0 to 5.9 being moderate with noticeable or major damage for some buildings; 6.0 to 6.9 is classified as a strong earthquake with destructive impact in populated areas and 7.0 and above as major to great earthquakes and usually cause serious damage over large areas.
Hazards that may result from earthquakes include: partial or total collapse of poorly designed or constructed buildings; flood from collapsed dams; falling debris or dust from rubble; landslide; tsunami and could indirectly cause fires.
A few recommended safety tips to practice before an earthquake are: top-heavy objects and furniture should be fastened to the wall and the largest and heaviest objects placed on lower shelves; assess your homes or offices and determine safe areas or “survivable void spaces”; water heaters and other appliances should be firmly bolted down; set aside emergency supplies and equipment and include a whistle in your emergency kit; teach family members how to turn off electricity, gas and water by learning location of safety valves and main switches; adhere to recommended building codes.
Safety tips to adopt during an earthquake (drop, cover and hold on while protecting your head and face); remain calm; do not rush for exits and try to reassure others where possible; move away from windows, glass doors, heavy mirrors, pictures, bookcases, hanging plants and heavy objects; outdoors – find a clear spot away from buildings, trees and power lines. Drop to the ground.