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Rules of behaviour during earthquakes Printable version

Last update: 06.04.2020

During first earthquake tremors
Turn off the gas, water and electricity. If an earthquake is of a weak force – it is better to wait it out on the place where you are. During a stronger earthquake (the strength of tremors is five on the Richter scale or higher) if you are indoors on the second floor or higher don’t leave the building. Pick a safe place at an inner wall, corner, doorway, support pillar, lie down into a bath. Duck under bed or table – they will protect you from falling objects and fragments. Stay away from windows and heavy furniture. Don’t use elevators.  
If you are outdoors, move to a clear spot away from buildings and power lines, don’t come close to broken electrical power lines. Don’t run along buildings and don’t enter into them.
If you are in a car, stay on a clear spot and don’t leave the car until the shakings stop.
Remember: during earthquakes the soil movements seldom lead todeath of people. Most earthquake-related injuries result from:
     • collapsingof separate parts of buildings;
     • flying and falling of the broken glass;
     • broken power lines;
     • falling of heavy objects in apartments;
     • fire;
     • uncontrolledbehaviour of people when they panic.

After earthquake:
Give first medical aid for injured.
Take injured and affected people out of the rubbles if additional equipment is not needed.
Turn on portable or car radio.
Whenever possible turn the water and gas off at the mainline and shut off power supply.  
Don’t use naked light.
Be cautious when leaving the building where you had been during the earthquake.
Keep radio turned on, listen to emergency signals.

Keep away from buildings with visible damages and don’t enter into them. Be prepared to aftershocks, as most dangerous are considered in this regard the first two or three hours after the main shocks, although they can occur after several days, weeks and even months. The more time passed after the first earthquake the less is the possibility of aftershocks.
The compression syndrome, the so called crash-syndrome is one of most dangerous injuries. At the long-term exposure of heavy objects: fragments of falling building structures, stocks of fallen trees, heavy furniture and similar – on a hand or foot of a person, blood circulation in the limbs stop. This leads to the metabolic disorder in the human organism. The consequences of a crash-syndrome are often connected with amputation.
After you have determined that the injured person has signs of the compression syndrome examine the injured person; give him or her pain medication; apply a tourniquetabove the area of compression; make the injured personfree of objects and give him or her a warm. Remember – there is no time to loose. Take the person as soon as possible to hospital.

Building collapses
A sudden complete or fractional collapse of a building is an emergency situation which is caused because of errors which had been made whilst building design, improper installation, while the building or its separate parts were taken into service with severe faults, as well as due to the natural or technogenic emergency situations.
A building collapse can be often caused by an explosion as result of a terrorist act, improper operation of household gas mains, careless handling of fire, storing of flammable and explosive materials in the buildings.
Sudden collapse of a building leads to a long-term breakdown of the building, to fire breaking-outs, to destruction of public utilities and power networks, building of rubbles, traumatizing and death of people.
Think out well in advance a plan of actions for the case of a building collapse and show it to all members of your family. Explain them the order of actions and the rules of providing the first medical aid in the case of sudden collapse.
It is necessary to have and store on an easily accessible place a complete first aid kit and a fire-extinguisher. Toxic chemicals, flammable liquids and other dangerous materials should be stores in a safe and well-isolated place. Don’t store gas bags in your apartment if you don’t use or don’t need them. You should know the location of the power knife-switches, main line gas and bib cocks to be able to cut off electric power, gas and water in the case of emergency.
At the slightest signs of gas leak shut off its access to the apartment, air the room and report it to the City gas authority under the telephone number 04. It is absolutely forbidden to use open-flame sources, electrical switchesand home electrical appliances until the gas is completely eolated.
Don’t clutter up the hallways of the building, entry ways, emergency and fire-escape routes with foreign objects. Keep documents, money, pocket lamp and spare batteries in an easily accessible place.
How to behave during a building collapse
If you have heard an explosion or have noticed that the building is losing its stability, try to take documents, money and living essentials and leave it as soon as possible. While leaving the building get downward using stairs, don’t use elevators as they can fall out in any moment. Supress panic, tussle in the doors during the evacuation, stop those people who are going to jump down from the balconies and windows located above the first floor, as well as through panes. If you are in the street don’t stay near buildings, move to an open spot. If you are in a building and you cannot leave it pick the most secure place: filled-in bays of the main inner walls, corners created by main inner walls, under the main beam of the carcass. If there are children with you protect them by covering them by yourself. Open the door of the apartment in order to secure an exit of the apartment if necessary. Don’t panic and keep calm, encourage other people. Keep away from windows, electric appliances, immediately cut off the water, electricity and gas. If a fire broke out try to put it out immediately. Use telephone only to call representatives of law institutions, fire guards, doctors, lifeguards. Don’t go out to the balcony. Don’t use matches as there can be a danger of a gas leak.

Preventive measures

Consider a plan of action in the event of a building collapse and introduce it to all your family members in advance. Explain to them how to deal with a sudden collapse and how to provide first aid.Be sure to keep a complete medical kit and fire extinguisher in an accessible location. Keep toxic chemicals, flammable liquids and other hazardous substances in a safe, well secured place. Do not allow gas cylinders in the apartment without the need for them. Be aware of the location of electrical breakers, gas and water taps for emergency power, gas and water shutdown.If there are any signs of a gas leak, cut off access to the apartment, ventilate the room and call the Gorgas Service at 104. It is strictly forbidden to use open flame sources, electric switches and electrical appliances until the gas is completely weathered.Do not obstruct building corridors, stairwells, emergency and fire exits with foreign objects. Keep documents, money, a flashlight and spare batteries in a convenient place.

How to behave in a rubble
Breathe deeply, don’t panic, recollect yourself on the most important, try to survive at any price, believe that the help will surely come. As far as possible, give yourself the first medical aid. Try to adapt to the situation and look around, to find a possible exit. Try to find out where you are and whether there are other people: listen, give sound signs. Remember that a human being is able to withstand thirst and especially hunger within a long period of time if he or she wouldn’t waste his or her energy uselessly. Look in your pockets or within your reach for the objects which could help you to give light or sound signs (for example a flash light, a small mirror, as well as metal objects using which you can give sound signals by tapping with them on a tube or wall and so try to draw attention). If the only way to get out is a crawlway try to crowd through it - to do this unbrace the muscles und move clamping down your elbows to your body.

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