What to do in case of an Earthquake
- Drop, cover, and hold on! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Most injured persons in earthquakes move more than five feet during the shaking. It is very dangerous to try to leave a building during an earthquake because objects can fall on you. Many fatalities occur when people run outside of buildings, only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. In U.S. buildings, you are safer to stay where you are.
- If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are. Broken glass on the floor has caused injury to those who have rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways.
- If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines. Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops. Injuries can occur from falling trees, street-lights and power lines, or building debris.
- If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking has stopped. Trees, power lines, poles, street signs, and other overhead items may fall during earthquakes. Stopping will help reduce your risk, and a hard-topped vehicle will help protect you from flying or falling objects. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you're sure it's safe to exit. More injuries happen when people move during the shaking of an earthquake. After the shaking has stopped, if you go outside, move quickly away from the building to prevent injury from falling debris.
- Stay away from windows. Windows can shatter with such force that you can be injured several feet away.
- In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake. Earthquakes frequently cause fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems to go off even if there is no fire. Check for and extinguish small fires, and, if exiting, use the stairs.
- If you are in a coastal area, move to higher ground. Tsunamis are often created by earthquakes. (See the "Tsunami"section for more information).
- If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris that could be loosened by the earthquake. Landslides commonly happen after earthquakes. (See the "Landslide" section for more information.)
What to Do In Case Of a Fire
- Think fast and act with caution: When you first discover a fire determine what to do immediately. If the fire is small and you have the proper fire extinguishers, PUT IT OUT.
- Sound the alarm: Do not underestimate any fire. If the fire is too much for you to handle, report it immediately.
- Warn the people: Warn all people in the area immediately so they can get to places of safety. This is especially important in the case of fires in buildings.
- Stand By: Stay near, but at a safe distance from the fire. Meet and tell the fire fighters where the fire is. They can waste valuable minutes if they have to find it themselves.
- Fire Fighting: Everyone is responsible for preventing fires. But everyone is not obligated to fight major fires. In general, never join in the fire fighting unless your help is requested by the firemen.
- Correct Extinguishers: Different fire extinguishers are recommended for each type of fire. For CLASS A fires (wood, textiles, rubbish) use foam or water. For CLASS B fires (grease, motor vehicle, flammable liquids) use foam, dry chemical, carbon dioxide or vaporizing liquid. NEVER use a water-type extinguisher on live electrical equipment. You can be electrocuted instantly by the electrical current following the water stream to you body. NEVER throw a stream of water on a CLASS B fire. You can splatter flaming liquids over a wide area, spreading the fire out of control.