Earthquake zones are regions that have a greater chance of the occurrence of earthquakes. They are marked on the basis of aspects like history, magnitude, intensity, geology, presence of faults, active tectonic activities, etc. All over the planet, these zones have been marked to indicate the possibility and severity of earthquakes in these particular areas. Basically, there are five zones - Zone 1 to Zone 5, marked according to the above parameters.
In the US, the entire western coast, right from California to Washington is marked under Zone 5, which is a high-risk zone. This is due to the San Andreas active fault in this region, which is the cause of many seismic activities. Other major high-risk zones around the world include the western coastal areas of South America, Indonesia, Malaysia, Java and Sumatra islands, Japan, and the Himalayan region in the Indian subcontinent.
Earthquakes are among the most destructive natural phenomena, and countless lives have been lost due to them. They cause utmost damage to life and property, and even if some people do manage to survive, their life and hard earnings are wrecked completely during those few cataclysmic minutes. We cannot prevent earthquakes from occurring, but we can surely take precautionary measures in order to save our lives, and our possessions and property. In fact, the only way to save ourselves and those around us, is to take adequate safety measures.
Preparedness for earthquakes is most crucial to people living in high-intensity earthquake-prone areas. The following earthquake safety checklist will surely help you stay safe.
- Ensure that the building in which you are living, is equipped to resist major damages caused by tremors.
- If your building or house is old, it's better to either fix the weak areas, or try to relocate; this is especially applicable to those who live in highly quake-prone areas.
- Secure the cabinets and shelves to the wall, to minimize the risk of them toppling over during a quake.
- Store sharp and heavy objects in the lower compartments to avoid accidental injury.
- Secure cabinet doors with latches to prevent things kept inside from falling out during an earthquake.
- Keep the hanging objects like lamps, mirrors, picture frames, hanging plants, etc., away from the beds. Also make sure that they are anchored properly.
- Ensure that all the electrical points in your house are fully functioning.
- Always remember to turn off your cooking gas cylinder after every use, as major earthquakes can cause a gas leak, increasing the chances of an explosion.
- When tremors are experienced, stay away from furniture and other heavy things like cupboards and showcases that could tip over.
- Get under a sturdy table or a desk, to avoid being hit by falling debris during a quake.
- Protect your head and neck with your arms, in case you do not find a place for safe cover.
- Stay away from glass windows and other fragile materials, as they might shatter or crack due to the vibrations, and you may get injured.
- Standing in the door frame of your house is a good measure, as the door beams are usually strong, and can withstand minor tremors.
- Always keep a survival kit handy. It should include first aid, medicines, copies of useful documents like insurance papers, birth certificates of all family members, other important documents, doctor's prescriptions, non-perishable foodstuffs, sealed water bottles, flashlights, matchbox, candles, and clothing.
- At least one family member should have good knowledge of first aid measures, which would be helpful if someone gets injured.
- Avoid using an elevator when you feel tremors.
- When outdoors, stay away from buildings, trees, poles, overhead electric wire connections, and other such hazardous objects which can fall upon you.
- In case you are driving, stop immediately, but be inside the vehicle.
- Last but not the least, remember to stay calm, and do not panic.
- Ensure that you train your kids to keep themselves safe from injuries during a quake.
- If you are staying in an earthquake-prone area, regularly conduct mock earthquake drills in your house, and involve each member of your family in them.
- Always stay updated about the general information regarding earthquakes.
- Usually, tremors are felt for a few days before a large earthquake strikes. Be more prepared if you experience such tremors.
A Little about Earthquakes
An earthquake is an unexpected natural event, which brings a lot of damage in its wake. This phenomenon is mainly caused due to the release of an enormous amount of energy from beneath the Earth's crust. Beneath the surface, many dynamic seismic activities are going on like magma formation, seafloor spreading, rift building, mantle convection, etc. Thus, a lot of stress and potential energy is stored in the rocks, which are present in these zones. These rigid materials can handle stress and natural forces up to a certain limit which is known as the breaking point. Beyond this limit, the rock breaks or shatters, and there is a sudden transfer of energy from the interior to the Earth's surface, causing earthquakes. They are classified according to their intensity, magnitude, distance from epicenter, damage caused, etc.
The earthquake safety precautions given in this WellnessKeen article will surely help your chances of survival during these devastating events. If followed properly, they can help in saving many lives.