Ramakanta Biswas

Seismic events like earthquakes are quite common and occur somewhere around the world every day. Earthquakes often catch people unaware who do not know what else to do except rushing out of buildings. 

Therefore, it is important to know what needs to be done and what needs to be avoided in such an emergency situation.

In the wake of the tremors in Delhi on Tuesday, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has released a set of do's and don'ts to ensure safety before, during and after an earthquake.

Before Earthquake

• Consult a structural engineer to make your house earthquake resistant.
• Repair deep plaster cracks on walls and ceilings. 
• Fasten shelves securely to walls: place heavy/large objects on lower shelves. 
• Have an emergency kit ready.
• Develop an emergency communication plan for family. 
• Learn the technique of Drop — Cover — Hold. 

During Earthquake

• Stay Calm and Do Not Panic.
• DROP under a table: COVER your head with one hand and HOLD the table till the tremors last.
• Run outside as soon as the tremors stop — DO NOT use lift. 
• When outside move away from buildings, trees, walls and poles. 
• When inside a vehicle — pull over in an open place and remain inside; avoid bridges. 

After Earthquake

• Avoid entering damaged buildings. 
• If trapped in rubble: - Do not light a matchstick: - Cover your mouth with a cloth; - Tap on a pipe or wall; - Sound a whistle; - Shout only as a last resort. 
• Use stairs and NOT lifts or elevators.