Safety tips on how to survive an earthquake threat before, during and after the earthquake event.

As unpredictable events of nature, earthquakes can cause much damage and destruction and much loss of life. During an earthquake injury and death to persons are usually caused by falling objects and collapsing buildings. In order to minimize the impact that earthquakes can have it is most important that safety precautions are observed and adhered to. The following safety precautions take into consideration:

a. Before an earthquake.
b. During an earthquake.
c. After an earthquake.
d. How to Earthquake-Proof Buildings
1. Potential earthquake hazards in the home and workplace should be removed and corrected. Top-heavy furniture and objects, such as bookcases and storage cabinets, should be fastened to the wall and the largest and heaviest objects placed on lower shelves.
2. Supplies of food and water, flashlight, a first-aid kit and a battery-operated radio should be set aside for use in emergencies.
3. One or more family members should have a working knowledge of first-aid measures because medical facilities nearly are always overloaded during an emergency or disaster, or may, themselves, be damaged beyond use.
4. All family members should know what to do to avoid injury and panic. They should know how to turn off the electricity, water, and gas. They should know the locations of the main switch valves. This is particularly important for teenagers who are likely to be alone with smaller children.

1. The most important thing to do during an earthquake is to remain CALM. If you can do so then you are less likely to be injured. Also, those around you will have a greater tendency to be calm if you are calm.
2. Make no moves or take no action without thinking about the possible consequences. Any irrational movement may be an injurious one.
3. If you are inside, stay there. Stand in a doorway or crouch under a desk or table, away from windows or glass fixtures.
4. If you are outside, stay there. Stay away from objects such as light poles, buildings, trees and telephone and electric wires, which could fall and injure you.

5. If you are in an automobile, drive away from underpasses/overpasses, and stop in the safest place possible and stay there.

1. After an earthquake, the most important thing to do is to check for injuries in your family and in the neighborhood. Seriously injured persons should not be moved unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. First-aid should be administered, but only by someone who is qualified or has a working knowledge of first-aid.
2. Evacuate the building as soon as the shaking stops. Carefully inspect the exterior of the building for cracks in walls, shifted posts and pillars. If you see anything other than minor cracks do no re-enter the building until it has been inspected for safety by a professional.
3. Check for safety-hazards - gas, water sewage breaks; downed power lines and electrical short circuits, damaged and weakened buildings and foundations, fires and fire hazards.
4. Turn off appropriate utilities. Do not use matches, lighters or open flame, appliances or electrical switches until you are sure that there are no gas leaks.
5. Do not use the telephone except in extreme emergency.
6. Wear shoes and protective clothing, for example, hard hats and gloves, to avoid injuries while clearing debris.
7. Keep battery-operated radios and listen for emergency bulletins.
8. If electrical power is off for any length of time use the foods in your refrigerator and freezer before they spoil. Canned and dry foods should be saved for last.
9. Co-operate with all public safety and relief organizations. Do not go into damaged areas unless authorized by appropriate personnel.
10. Be prepared for additional earthquake shocks.
How to Earthquake-Proof Buildings
When designing earthquake-safe structures the first consideration is to make the highest bit, the roof, as light as possible. This is best done with profiled steel cladding on light gauge steel Zed purlins. This can also have double skin with spacers and insulation. It can have a roof slope between 3 and 15 degrees. If it is required to have a 'flat' roof, this could be made with a galvanised steel decking and solid insulation boards, and topped with a special membrane. Even a 'flat' roof should have a slope of about 2 degrees. If it is required to have a 'flat' concrete roof, then the best solution is to have steel joists at about 2m, 6", centres, and over these to have composite style roof decking. Then an RC slab can be poured over the roof, with no propping; the slab will only be say 110mm, 4 1/2", and will weigh only about 180 kg/sqm. Such a slab will be completely bonded to the frame and will not be able to slip off, or collapse.
If the building or structure is a normal single storey, then any normal portal frame or other steel framed building, if the design and construction are competently done, will be resistant to Earthquake loads. If it is to have 2 or more stories, more needs to be done to ensure its survival in an earthquake. As with the roof, the floors should be made as light as possible. The first way to do this is to use traditional timber joists and timber or chipboard or plywood flooring. If this is done it is vital that the timber joists are firmly through bolted on the frames to avoid them slipping or being torn off. The frame needs them for stability and the floor must never fall down. A better alternative is to substitute light gauge steel Zeds for the timber joists. These can span further and are easier to bolt firmly to the framework. Then, floor-boards or tongue-and-groove chipboard can easily be screwed to the Zeds. However, in Hotels, Apartment buildings, Offices, and the like, concrete floors may be needed. In such cases, we should reduce the spans to the spanning capacity of composite decking flooring, and pour reinforced concrete slabs onto our decking. The decking is fixed to the joists, the joists into the main beams, the main beams into the columns and the concrete is poured around all the columns. There is simply no way that such floors can fall off the frame.
Once the floors are robustly fitted to the frames, the frames themselves must be correctly designed. Please look at the diagram above.
Start at the bottom. The frame should not be built on simply pinned feet at ground level. Outside earthquake zones it is normal to build a 'nominally pinned footing' under each column. This actually gives some fixity to the base as well as horizontal and vertical support. But in an earthquake, this footing may be moving and rotating, so rather than provide a bit of fixity, it can push to left or right, or up and down, and rotate the column base, helping the building to collapse prematurely. Any pinned footing may actually be moving differently from other footings on the same building, and so not even be giving horizontal or vertical support, but actually helping to tear the building apart. So to earthquake-proof the building we would start with steel ground beams joining the feet together, and these should have moment resistance to prevent the bottoms of the columns from rotating. These ground beams may well go outside the line of the building, thus effectively reducing the height-to-width ratio as well, helping to reduce total over-turning. This ground beam may be built on pads or piles or rafts as appropriate. On loose soils, the bearing pressure should be very conservatively chosen, to minimize the effect of liquefaction.
By applying earthquake engineering techniques, we would then fit the columns to these ground beams with strong moment connections. Either the connections should be strong in both directions, or some columns designed to resist loads in one direction and others in the other direction. The columns should not be the item that fails first: the ground beam should be able to rotate and form plastic hinges before either the connection or the column fails. The reason is that a column failing could instigate a collapse; the connection failing could instigate the column failure. In comparison, the plastic hinging of the ground beam takes time, absorbs energy, and changes the resonant frequency of the frame while leaving the frame nearly full strength.
Next, you would fix the main beams to the outer columns with full capacity joints. This will almost always mean haunched connections. Great care would be taken to consider the shear within the column at these connections. The connections should be equally strong in both up or down directions, and the bolt arrangement should never fail before the beam or the column. In extreme earthquake sway, the beams should always be able to form hinges somewhere, in one or two places, without the column with its axial load failing elastically. In this way the frame can deflect, the plastic hinges can absorb energy; the resonant frequency of the structure is altered, all without collapse or major loss of strength. All this takes a little time until the tremor passes. The inner columns do not give a lot of sway resistance, but even so, should have connections which do not fail before the beam or the column. Then, the floors are fitted, Light-weight or conventional cladding is fitted to the frames, light-weight or thin concrete roofs are fitted as described above. You have a building that will behave very well in an earthquake with significant resistance to damage.
Nothing can be guaranteed to be fully resistant to any possible earthquake, but buildings and structures prepared with the above information would have the best possible chance of survival; and would save many lives and livelihoods, providing greater safety from an earthquake.