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After an earthquake, be prepared to
- Check for injuries to your family and your surrounding people. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in danger of further more injury.
- Check for fire hazards or fires.
- If you are indoors, check the structural aspects of the building. If any part of the structure appears to be unsafe, move the people from the building until a more detailed inspection is made.
- Buildings that are damaged by the main shock can receive additional damage from aftershocks.
- Wear shoes in all areas near broken glass or debris.
- Do not touch objects touched by the downed wires or downed power lines.
- Immediately clean up spilled medicines, drugs, and other harmful materials. Use extreme caution when cleaning up spilt chemicals, they may have mixed with other chemicals during shaking and can cause harmful effects. Open the windows to provide ventilation.
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- Check for damaged utilities and inspect leaking gas lines by smell.
- Do not use matches, candles, or other open flames. If you smell gas, open all the windows and doors so gas can escape. Shut off the main valve at your gas meter, immediately leave the house, and notify authorities of the leak. Do not reenter the house until repairs have been made and the dwelling has been declared safe.
- If water pipes are broken, shut off the main valve which brings water into the house.
- If there is a short circuit, turn off the main electricity at the meter box.
- If water is off, emergency water may be obtained from canned vegetables, from melted ice cubes, from toilet tanks if no sanitizing chemicals have been added, from swimming pools and spas, and strain water through handkerchief from water heaters.
- Please check that sewage lines are intact before permitting continued flushing of toilets.
- Do not eat or drink anything from open shattered container glass. Liquids can be strained through a clean cloth if the danger of glass contamination exists.
- If power is off, check your freezer and plan meals to use up foods which will spoil quickly.
- Use propane broilers or outdoor charcoal for emergency cooking. Bring these items outdoors. The accumulation of fumes from their use can be deadly.
- Do not use your cell phone/ telephone except for genuine emergency calls.
- If earthquake shaking is more than 20 seconds, a tsunami may be possible for coastal regions. In those cases, you have to move to nearby higher floor building or hilly region. Do not wait for an official warning.
- For chimney, check its entire length for cracks and damage, particularly in the attic and at the roof line. Unnoticed damage could lead to a collapse or fire in aftershocks. The initial check should be made from a distance.
- Closets and storage shelf areas can be checked. Open carefully closet and cupboard doors and watch for objects falling from shelves.
- Do not spread rumors. They do great harm following disasters.
- Tune-in to local radio stations for updated information and danger reports.
- Do not go sightseeing. Do not use your vehicle unless there is a genuine emergency. Keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.
- Be prepared for aftershocks. Most of these are smaller than the main shock. Few of them may be strong enough to cause additional damage.
- Respond to requests for help from fire fighting, civil defense, police, and relief organizations, but do not go into damaged areas unless your help has been requested. Cooperate fully with public safety officials. In some areas, you may be arrested for getting in the way of disaster operations.