I don’t know what they do in Australian schools, but I remember doing earthquake drills in elementary school in Utah. An alarm sounded and we were instructed to get under our desks and cover our heads. Of course, I never encountered an earthquake until the year I lived in Japan where buildings are specifically made for earthquakes; that and none of the ones we went through were that serious.
Earthquakes can be caused by underground volcanic forces, rock breaking beneath the surface, or movement along existing fault lines of the Earth’s crust. Most casualties come from falling debris that the movement breaks loose. Everything shakes and buildings can fall; so cities struck by this particular natural disaster can raise the casualty count pretty quickly. On the other hand, many buildings have structures that can withstand earthquakes or falling debris. You can also expect power and telephone lines to go out and gas, sewer, and water mains can break during the event.
When you feel an earthquake occurring, remember Drop, Cover, and Hold.
· Drop: Drop to your hands and knees. This make it easier to move around and more difficult for you to be knocked over.
· Cover: Cover your head with one arm if you’re out in the open. Otherwise, find shelter under a sturdy object (i.e. a table or doorframe). If you cannot find shelter, stay against an interior wall away from windows and stay on your knees, bent over to protect yourself.
· Hold: Hold onto your sturdy object until the shaking stops. Even if the object starts to move, move with it. If you were unable to find such shelter, cover your head and neck with both arms.
Other dangers coming from earthquakes can be landslides, ground displacement, subsidence, and tsunamis.
Check your emergency kit and make sure your family is aware of all emergency plans before they become a necessity.