Emergency Preparedness News and Announcements

Earthquake

CODE: PLAIN SPEECH/TEXT

Defined

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “Earthquake is a term used to describe both sudden slip on a fault, and the resulting ground shaking and radiated seismic energy caused by the slip, or by volcanic or magmatic activity, or other sudden stress changes in the earth.”

Immediate Action

  1. Drop where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.
  2. Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand
    • If sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath for shelter
    • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall away from windows
    • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs
  3. Hold on until shaking stops
    • Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
    • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

Information taken from shakeout.org

Common Staff Assignments

Inspect the facility for potential fire. Evacuate if building is not safe using RACE system.

R Rescue Rescue/Evacuate persons in immediate danger.
A Alarm Pull nearest “pull station.” Announce “CODE RED” and fire location over loud speaker. Repeat the announcement.
C Confine Confine the fire by closing doors to isolate the fire and smoke.
E Extinguish Attempt to extinguish the fire only if the first three parts of the R.A.C.E. Procedure have been completed and the fire appears to be manageable.

Specific Staff Assignments

  1. Activate the Incident Command System (ICS). The most qualified staff member (in regard to the Incident Command System) on duty at the time will assume the Incident Commander position. If severity of incident warrants, then appoint other positions of ICS structure.
  2. Facility management staff report to the Incident Command Post for a briefing and instruction.
  3. Put out small fires quickly. If not handled by one extinguisher, or it is larger than a wastepaper basket, evacuate the building.
  4. Check on residents, staff and visitors. Check restrooms or vacant rooms for visitors or stranded residents.
  5. Take care of injured or trapped persons. Provide medical treatment as appropriate. Call 9-1-1 only for life-threatening emergencies.
  6. Turn off gas only if you smell gas or think it may be leaking. (Natural gas line cannot be turned on again except by the gas company.) Alert the local Fire Department.
  7. Be prepared for after-shocks and re-evaluate building safety after additional seismic activities.
  8. Help injured or trapped persons until emergency assistance arrives.
  9. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
  10. Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for latest emergency information.
  11. Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  12. Stay away from damaged areas
  13. Unless police, fire, or relief organizations have specifically requested your assistance, stay away from damaged areas. Return to the facility only when authorities say it is safe.
  14. Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall off shelves.
  15. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
  16. Inspect utilities
  17. Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, start evacuation procedures quickly. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can.
  18. Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks, broken or frayed wires, or smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Begin evaluation procedures.
  19. Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap.
  20. Inspect the entire length of chimneys for damage.

Expect aftershocks.

These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or months after the quake.

Preparing Ahead/Training

  1. Evaluate the facility for potential dangers and fix the problems.
  2. Remove potential fire hazards
  3. Secure furniture or equipment/appliances to the wall (may fall and cause injuries)
  4. Store large and/or heavy items low to the ground
  5. Repair any deep cracks in walls, ceilings or foundation of building
  6. Bolt and strap the water heater to the wall and ground
  7. Affix pictures and/or mirrors securely
  8. Brace overhead light fixtures
  9. Train and exercise on “Drop, Cover and Hold.”
  10. See website, http://www.dropcoverholdon.org/ for more earthquake preparedness information
  11. See website for the Great American Shakeout, which is held each October. This website also has earthquake preparedness information.
  12. The Central US Earthquake Consortium website, has information about the New Madrid fault, the seven states including Kentucky that would be affected by an earthquake on the New Madrid fault and earthquake preparedness.

See also: evacuation, fire warning, fire watch