Earthquakes can occur in many areas of the world. For instance, the western coast of the United States is one location where earthquakes can happen without any warning. Other earthquake-prone areas include Japan, Turkey, Ecuador, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. When traveling to these areas, it’s a good idea to know how to protect yourself when an earthquake occurs.
1. City and Rural Dangers
Be aware that where you intend to stay in an earthquake-prone country can have a significant bearing on your safety. Large, urban centers have more buildings, congestion and infrastructure dangers but may also have more quake-resistant construction. Old buildings in rural areas can be very dangerous. Tall buildings located near the epicenter have a better chance of escaping damage than those further away from the center.
2. Your Hotel’s Structure
When checking into your hotel or lodging in any earthquake prone zone, you should look for ways to find shelter from falling debris and structural damage. Contrary to popular belief, doorways are usually not any stronger than the rest of the structure and should not be used as shelter in an earthquake. Safe places to hide include under heavy furniture or against an inside wall. Make sure your safe place is away from mirrors or windows that cause danger from shattering glass.
3. Personal Earthquake Kit
You can assemble a small emergency personal earthquake kit to help you if an earthquake does occur while you are traveling. The kit should contain a small key-ring flashlight, a whistle to alert people to your location, water purification tablets, a few high-energy snack bars, extra medication, a multi-tool penknife, a pocket first-aid kit and a small amount of currency in small denominations. These items should be kept in a small bag that can be kept near you at all times, either in the room or when you are around the city.
4. Information To Have On Hand
Keep important phone numbers on hand so that you can contact people immediately. These numbers should include your health insurance company, phone numbers of family or friends, business numbers and the nearest embassy for your country of origin. These numbers can make it easier for those trying to help you in case you are injured in an earthquake. Also keep on hand a list of your medical conditions and medications you are taking.
5. What To Do When Indoors
If an earthquake should strike while you are indoors, drop to the floor and crawl under a sturdy desk or table. Hold onto the furniture. Stay away from windows and outside walls. Never use staircases or elevators during an earthquake.
6. What To Do When Outdoors
Stop the vehicle, keeping away from buildings, trees, overhead cables, overpasses or underpasses, if possible. Stay inside the vehicle under the shaking stops. Be aware that aftershocks may occur. Only continue with great caution when the quake is over. Avoid bridges or other structures that may have been damaged during the quake.
7. If You Are Trapped Under Debris
Avoid moving around and kicking up dust. Hold a cloth over your mouth and nose to avoid breathing in dust. Use your whistle to alert rescuers to your location. Only shout as a last resort, to avoid inhaling dust. Tap on a pipe or wall to notify others of your position. Do not light a match or lighter, which can ignite gas leaks caused by the quake.
These tips will help you to travel in earthquake-prone regions of the world safely, so that you can enjoy your trip knowing you are ready for any eventuality.