First Aid Kit and Emergency Preparedness for Earthquakes

An earthquake is a sudden shake of the earth that happens suddenly without a warning. The shock is short-lived but is known to cause considerable damage.

 Though experts can try to predict some earthquakes, many tremors still happen without warnings. Identifying potential hazards and planning can reduce the impact of an earthquake in your workplace.

Earthquake Emergency Readiness.

  1. What to Do in Preparation for an Earthquake.

Here’s how to get ready for an earthquake;

  • Review your family emergency preparedness.
  •  Have a family communication plan.
  • Assemble an earthquake first aid kit.
  • Prepare your home:
    1. Store breakable items in low closed cabinets, and fasten shelves securely to walls.
    2. Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds and couches.
    3. Secure and brace overhead light fixtures.
    4. Repair any deep cracks in walls, ceilings, and foundations.
    5. Store pesticides and flammable products in closed cabinets and on bottom shelves.
  • Identify safe places in each room of the house:
    1. Under well-made furniture, such as a heavy table or desk.
    2. Against an inside wall or under a door frame.
    3. Away from glass or where heavy furniture could fall over.
  • Locate safe places outdoors:
    1. In the open, away from buildings, retaining walls, trees, overpasses, and power or telephone lines.
  • Things to do when an earth quake occurs.
  • Drop or godown on your hands and knees.
  • Take cover in a safe place and hold on.
  • If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow.
  • If you are in the kitchen, quickly try to turn off the stove, if possible.
  • Stay away from pictures, windows, light fixtures, or anything that could fall and break.
  • Move into the open, away from buildings, street lights, poles, and utility wires.
  • Get down low and stay there until the shaking stops.
  • Stop quickly and stay in the vehicle.
  • Move to a clear area away from buildings, trees, utility wires, and overpasses.
  • Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution, avoiding bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.
  • If you are in a mountainous area, keep in mind the possibility of landslides and debris flows.
  • Similarly, if you are on the coast, be aware that tsunamis are often associated with earthquakes.
  • Staying safe during an earth quake.
  • Find a bright spot and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
  • Try to get as far away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights as possible.
  • If you’re in a vehicle, pull over to a precise location, and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses, and power lines if possible.
  • Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
  • After the shaking has stopped, drive on carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may be damaged.
  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris as well as landslides.
  • What to do after an earthquake has occurred
  • Identify victims and use your first aid kit to offer help
  • Be prepared for aftershocks. Although smaller than the mainshock, aftershocks can cause additional damage and bring weakened structures down. Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
  • Listen to a radio or TV for updated information.
  • When the shaking stops, look around. If there is a clear path out, leave the building and head for an open area.
  • Avoid making phone calls except in serious emergencies.
  • Help injured or trapped people. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. Call for help.
  • Stay out of damaged homes, and follow the directions of emergency officially.
  • Check for damage to the walls, roof, foundation, electrical

Lastly, clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or other flammableliquids immediately.

What Are the Consequences of Failing to Undertake a Risk Assessment.

Carrying out an earthquake risk assessment is requirement by the law for businesses with more than five employees. The employer has to ensure employees get protected from possible accidents or harm within the workplace. 

Failing to carry out risk profile assessments can be quite consequential to a business. Besides causing harm or injury to your staff, other consequences include:

  • It’s costly to replace workers who are off work due to injuries or ill health emanated after an earthquake.
  • It will cost you to compensate or pay bills for those injured or got sick after an earthquake occurs in the workplace.
  • In cases where employees are more than five, failure to assess risks can attract law enforcers in your business. Remember, it’s a legal requirement to undertake a risk assessment.
  • Also, failure to assess risks can attract fines or intervention charges or face possible prosecution.
  • When your business has claims or fines to deal with, there is an automatic rise in insurance costs.
  • When workers realize their working conditions are not safe or have their colleagues injured, their morale in work lowers drastically, leading to low work output

Doing an EarthquakeRisk Assessment.

Earthquake hazard assessment involves assessing the possibilities of tremor across a region. This isa fundamental component in earthquake risk analysis or hazard mapping for design codes.

The process may require several components, such as earthquake instrumental, and active geological faults.

 Earthquake hazard may be analysed in two main ways: deterministically, in which a single most adverse earthquake scenario is identified, all-potential earthquake scenarios are explicitly considered along with their likelihood of occurrence.

 The development of a probabilistic earthquake hazard analysis (PSHA) model requires complex mathematical formulations to account for uncertainties in earthquake size, location and time of occurrence, and the outputs relate various levels of ground shaking that may be observed at a site with a corresponding exceedance probability in a given time period.

 Probabilistic earthquake hazard analysis typically follows two main approaches:

  • Time-independent – incorporating geological and geodetic evidence with both instrumental and historical earthquake catalogues to derive a model covering earthquake cycles up to thousands of years
  • Time-dependent – accounting for periodic trends in earthquake recurrence to predict the likelihood of earthquakes occurring in a source given the time elapsed since the previous event.

Seven Essential things to Prepare for an Earthquake

Here are the seven must-haves to get ready for a tremor.

1. Water storage.

It’s hard to ignore the importance of water. After an earthquake, you could be without it for days or weeks, depending on how bad the damage is.

 Experts recommend one gallon per person. The bare minimum to store is three days’ worth, but after a significant disaster, planning for two weeks’ worth of water is more appropriate.

Rigid water containers made of blue polyethylene consistently perform better than opaque collapsible ones for both storage and pouring. They offer more durability, are leak resistance, and help prevent bacterial growth.

2.A gas shut-off feature.

A ruptured natural gas or other utility line is a common hazard following an earthquake. If you smell gas, turn off your range and try to contact your local gas supplier.

But keep in mind that you can’t use a tool to turn the gas back on by yourself, so if you don’t smell anything, don’t turn it off you could be without gas for days while waiting for technicians to service your home.

Once you have the wrench, learn how to use it. Find your gas shut-off valve, readjust the tool if you’re using a crescent wrench, and store it right there, so you don’t have to look for it when you need it.

  • An emergency radio.

An emergency radio is worth the investment. It can get reception not only from AM and FM bands but also from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), commonly referred to as the weather bands.

NOAA is a reliable source of emergency information after a significant catastrophe. But your radio must be able to receive VHF frequencies to tune in.  The Midland ER210 is the best, it receives both AM/FM signals and the weather stations.

You can charge it in multiple ways, including solar, by a hand crank, and rechargeable USB battery. It can also charge your phone.

4.A portable headlamp.

Although any light source you have on hand will do in case of a power shortage. A lantern, a flashlight, a candle, and a projector are the most useful lighting tool in an emergency.

Unlike a flashlight or your phone’s camera flash, it keeps your hands free. After an earthquake specifically, it’s wise to avoid candles or matches in case of undetected gas leaks, according to the Earthquake Country Alliance.

5. A first aid kit.

After an earthquake, there is always the potential for small wounds and fractures. But a good first aid kit should also be able to treat other minor maladies, such as blisters. Besides, every home should have an excellent kit ready.

After testing several, the Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Whitetailfirst aid kit is recommended, which can handle underlying injuries and less common issues for up to four people.

6. Phone chargers or battery packs.

People rely on their phones and social media to communicate during and after a natural disaster, so it’s essential to have a power source for your phone that won’t die quickly. The Anker Power Core 20100 battery pack is the most efficient.

It can charge a smartphone once a day for about a week, and it’s about the size of two decks of cards stacked end to end. When you stash it in your emergency kit, include an extra power cablefor your device as well.

7. Emergency contact numbers.

Finally, one of the most important things you can do to prepare is to designate an emergency contact for you and the community around.

“I think a family communication plan is essential so that number one, you know how you’re going to contact each other after an emergency,” says Tammy Franks, program manager for Home and Community Injury Prevention at the National Safety Council.

Pick a contact who lives out of town. Then, write the number down and put it in your wallet. So often we don’t know each other’s phone numbers anymore, because everything is on speed dial.

Also, be sure to coach young children who don’t carry a wallet to memorize significant phone numbers, in case they get separated.

Remember that sending a text is better than calling. Texts have a higher likelihood of getting through when signal coverage is compromised, and it frees what little bandwidth there is for emergency responders.

Preparing a First-aid Kit & The Role First Aid in Earthquake Emergencies.

A First aid kit is an important tool in our homes, cars, schools, workplaces, or in any other place, we may find ourselves. 

 Because earthquakes come withinjuries, you must be prepared to deal with these cases when they occur.

 The first thing is to learn the importance of first aid and how to do it to yourself and then to another person. 

This know-how is useful in selecting which clinical items to use in any situation and, more specifically, when an earthquake occurs.

The Role of First Aid during earth quake.

It is, therefore, a good idea to get first aid training from a reputable institution that will equip you with the right knowledge on how to protect yourself when an earthquake occurs. This your first aid kit won’t make any difference. In case you don’t know how to use it when an accident happens.

It may seem like no first aid knowledge is required to clean a wound. Still, a foundational understanding of anatomy can help one understand those different injuries treated differently.

This knowledge can be easily be acquired from different first aid training services online.

They require no experience, and anyone can pursue these courses.   Non-governmental organizations offer some training on the same, such as the Red Cross and the American Heart Association.

In case you want to advance your skills, you can take a course as a first responder or an emergency medical respondent.

You can also seek emergency response knowledge from your local hospitals, the nearest fire department, and the nearest police officer.

This, though, should be a last resort for those who do not get first aid training anywhere, including in online sites. Some of these departments offer First Aid training during their community reach program.

Understand your Risk Profile of an earth quake.

In readinessfor an earthquake,start by getting your mind to work. Think of the risks of a shock, the needs for a first aid kit, the problem it should help solve, the people it’ll help, and the cost of making it.

Those three elements will ensure you come up with a reasonable idea and first aid kit design that can be of help if an earthquake happens.

Although it may be impossible to premeditate all the dangers of injury that lie ahead, you can evaluate the damages that have occurred in the past according to their frequency.

It will help you know what you will need to address at most times and will, therefore, influence the medical items you’ll have to buy.

Documenting everything will help you in identifying which incidences to term as most occurring, and which ones to classify under least occurring.

Include all risks of injury, then rate the risks between 0-5, with the least occurring being zero and the most occurring being 5.

Start your preparation according to the rate of occurrence of an earthquake, from the commonly occurring to the least.

Sometimes, it might not be possible to prepare for all the risks; that’s why it is a good idea to start with the most required items.

This assessment will help you in identifying what is more important in your home first aid kit box or bag that will be of help when an earthquake occurs.

It will also help you to plan for the Kit in terms of budgeting. To get the general risk profile in your home, you will have to do these detailed assessments in every area.

You might not notice it, but you successfully assess risks daily. Climate conditions are regularly changing nowadays. An earthquake may occur at any time without notice.

For a successful risk analysis, the following five steps recommended. They include:

1. Identifying hazards.

2. Determining who might be harmed and how.

3. Evaluating the risks and establishing suitable control measures.

4. Recording and documenting the findings.

5. Reviewing and updating the assessment.

Risk evaluation puts into consideration all factors enhancing safe and healthy environments. These factors include:

  • The likelihood of the occurrence of harm.
  • How severe harm could be if it occurs
  • How well you are informed about the reducing, eliminating, and controlling hazards and risks of an earthquake.
  • The presence of control measures meant to eliminate, limit, or manage the risk.
  • Expenses linked with the control measures meant to eliminate, limit, or manage the risks.

The following steps will ensure you assess risks correctly and come up with a kit that can address all your emergency response needs.

  1. Define the Purpose of the Kit.

In this step, you’ll have to accomplish some analytical and writing tasks.

One of them is to state what risk the Kit will be solving and how often it will occur. It will help you in making a kit that will address all your problems.

Then fill the gap with “who” is in danger of this risk.

Will the Kit be addressing your risk alone, or are there other people from your village who may also be caught up with the earthquake? It involves your neighbors, children, and anybody else you care for.

It can be specialized to address injuries that may occur during an earthquake, be it in a construction site, electrical works site, a garage, hardware, a timber works site. In this case, you can have items that help in traumatic injuries, such as broken hand or leg, burns, and excessive blood loss.

The location where the protective gear will be found or used is significant. It could be in your house, car, backpack, workshop, garage, or any other place.

Risks at home are different from risk away from home, such as in the workplace or when out for leisure.

If you live far away from the hospital, you also have to consider the kind of emergency response equipment that can sustain life long enough to allow you to reach a healthcare facility when an earthquake occurs.

  • Find out which items you need for your Kit.

Find out the requirements you will need for your first aid kit item according to the predetermined Purpose of your Kit.

They should be noted down according to order their importance. However, some essential items are necessary for an earthquake occurrence.

The Dangers of an Earthquake.

The first main earthquake danger is its ground shaking effect. Buildings can be damaged by the shaking itself or by the ground beneath them settling to a different level than it was before the earthquake.

The second main earthquake hazard is fire. These fires can be started by broken gas lines and power lines, or tipped over wood or coal stoves. They can be a serious problem, especially if the water lines that feed the fire hydrants are broken, too.

The third main hazard is flooding. An earthquake can break dams or levees along a river. The water from the river or the reservoir would then flood the area, damaging buildings and maybe sweeping away or drowning people.

The fourth main earthquake hazard is ground movement along a fault. If a building or a roads          is built across a fault, the ground displacement during an earthquake could seriously damage or rip apart that structure.

And lastly, injuries, which is why you need an emergency first aid kit.