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Earthquake safety precautions

Spain and other Mediterranean countries are located in a seismic active area. Here is information on what you should know and do before, during and after an earthquake.

Most people have heard about last night’s earthquake in the sea between Morocco and Spain. This time it was not strong enoug to cause any major damage and no lives were lost. But more deadly earthquake has happened, and is also likely to happen in the future. Therefore it might be a good idea to take preventive measures to minimize the risks and to know how to behave during and after an earthquake.

The Swedish Embassy in Pristina (Kosovo), which is also an earthquake zone brings you this information on how one should behave. Here it comes:

Most major earthquake lasts for 1-2 minutes. When the earthquake is in progress you only have a few seconds to protect yourselves. If an earthquake breaks out, it is necessary to act quickly.

Before the earthquake

  • Heavy objects and such that can easily break should be placed on the bottom shelves.
  • Check that electrical wires, gas pipes and water heater is in order.
  • Make sure the main switch for gas, water and electricity are in order.
  • Any cracks in ceilings and walls should be inspected and repaired.
  • Get a fire extinguisher for your home.

During the earthquake

  • If you are indoors, seek shelter under a sturdy table, for example, where you can avoid being hit by falling cabinets, bookshelves and other objects. An empty corridor is also recommended.
  • Avoid standing near windows, as they may shatter and cause glass fragments.
  • If a fire breaks out, extinguish it as soon as possible. Think of the danger of gas stoves, electricity and other energy sources. Ensure that flammable objects are stored in a safe place. It is usually the subsequent fires that leads to a major disaster in case of an earthquake.
  • Do not run out of the house in a panic, but wait for an opportunity to leave home. Pay attention to the building’s stability, foundations and state and risk of falling objects outdoors, for example, windows and signs.
  • Use the stairs. Never use the lift during an earthquake.
  • Plan in advance the fastest way to get out if you can’t get to the door.
  • If you are outdoors, try to protect your head from falling objects, walls and columns, etc. An open space is recommended.
  • If you are in a car, stop immediately by the road and stay in the vehicle for protection. Do not park under bridges and viaducts, etc. that can topple down.
  • Turn on the local radio for information.

After the earthquake

  • Be prepared for possible aftershocks that could cause further damage.
  • If the gas line is damaged, open the windows and turn off the main switch.
  • If the power cord is damaged, turn off the main switch.
  • Avoid damaged buildings that could easily collapse and exercise extreme caution if you have enter them.
  • Listen to radio and television for evacuation instructions given by local authorities.

A related article: Torrevieja in earthquake study

The big earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. The fires that occurred ruined almost the entire city. 25,000 buildings were destroyed and 250,000 people became homeless. The death toll is a bit uncertain, but is estimated at between 400 and 700 people. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The big earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. The fires that occurred ruined almost the entire city. 25,000 buildings were destroyed and 250,000 people became homeless. The death toll is a bit uncertain, but is estimated at between 400 and 700 people. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.