Disaster Management

Disaster Management

Earthquakes usually give no warning at all.
Before Earthquake :
Now is the time to formulate a safety plan for yourself and your family. If you wait until the earth starts to shake, it may be too late. Consider the following safety measures :

*      Always keep these, viz. bottled drinking water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, shoe torch-light and battery-operated radio with extra batteries in a designated place
*      Teach family members how to turn off electricity, gas, etc.
*      Identify places in the house that can provide cover during an earthquake.
*      It may be easier to make long distance calls during an earthquake. Identify an out-of-town relative or friend as your family’s emergency contact.
*      If the family members get separated after the earthquake and are not able to contact each other, they should contact the designated relative / friend. The address and phone number of the contact person/relative should be with all the family members.
*      Safeguard your house. Use earthquake resistant construction technology while building a house.
*      Consider retrofitting your house with earthquake safety measures; Reinforcing the foundation and frame could make your house quake resistant. You may consult a reputable contractor and follow building codes.
*      Kutcha buildings can also be retrofitted and strengthened.

During Earthquake :
*     Earthquakes give no warning at all. Sometimes, a loud rumbling sound might signal its arrival a few seconds ahead of time. Those few seconds could give you a chance to move to a safer location. Here are some tips for keeping safe during a quake.
*     Take cover. Go under a table or other sturdy furniture; kneel, sit, or stay close to the floor. Hold on to furniture legs for balance. Be prepared to move if your cover moves.
*     If no sturdy cover is nearby, kneel or sit close to the floor next to a structurally sound interior wall. Place your hands on the floor for balance.
*     Do not stand in doorways. Violent motion could cause doors to slam and cause serious injuries. You may also be hit be flying objects.
*     Move away from windows, mirrors, bookcases and other unsecured heavy objects.
*     If you are in bed, stay there and cover yourself with pillows and blankets
*     Do not run outside if you are inside.
*     Never use the lift.
*     If you are living in a kutcha house, the best thing to do is to move to an open area where there are no trees, electric or telephone wires.

If outdoors :
If in a moving vehicle :
Move to a clear area way from buildings, trees, overpasses, or utility wires, stop, and stay in the vehicle. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.

After the Earthquake :
*      Wear shoes/chappals to protect your feet from debris
*     After the first tremor, be prepared for aftershocks. Though less intense, aftershocks cause additional damages and may bring down weakened structures. Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.
*     Check for fire hazards and use torchlight’s instead of candles or lanterns.
*     If the building you live in is in a good shape after the earthquake, stay inside and listen for radio advises. If you are not certain about the damage to your building, evacuate carefully.

Do not touch downed power line :

*     Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. In such cases, call for help.
*     Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance-infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
*     Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest emergency information.
*     Stay out of damaged buildings.
*     Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals. Open closet and cupboard doors cautiously.
*     If you smell gas or hear hissing noise, open windows and quickly leave the building. Turn off the switch on the top of the gas cylinder.
*     Look for electrical system damages - if you see sparks, broken wires, or if you smell burning of amber, turn off electricity at the main fuse box. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box, call an electrician first for advice.
*     Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets. If water pipes are damaged, avoid using water from the tap.
*     Use the telephone only for emergency calls. SMS is the best alternate medium to establish contact.
*     In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
*     Ask an out of state / district relative or friend to serve as the .family contact.. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number(s) of the contact person.
*      Here are a few things to keep in mind after an earthquake. The caution you display in the aftermath can be essential for your personal safety:


Do’s and Don’ts
*     Listen to the Radio/ TV / Public Address System for advance information & advice.
*     Do not go outside during a lull in the storm.
*     Allow considerable margin for safety. Be away from fallen power lines, damaged bridges and structures.
*     A cyclone may change direction, speed or intensity within a few hours, so stay tuned to the radio / TV for updated information.
*     Do not go for sight seeing.
*     Close large windows to prevent from shattering.
*     Move to the nearest shelter or vacate the area as ordered by the appropriate government agency.
*      Stay indoors and take shelter in the strongest part of the house /society.
*     Open windows on the sheltered side of the house if the roof begins to lift.
*     Find shelter if you are caught out in the open. If you have to evacuate, do not return until advised.

Do’s and Don’ts
*      Listen to the Radio/ TV/ Public Address System for advance information & advice.
*     Avoid standing under direct sun.
*     Finish the work in the morning or leave it to the evening.
*     Avoid Long Drives.
*     Drink sufficient water & take food.
*     Keep your head away from the direct heat;
*      Use Clothes, Cap, Umbrella or Glasses.
*     Keep/stock water with you.
*      Wear light dresses.



*     Calmly leave the apartment, closing the door behind you. Remember the keys!
*     Pull the fire alarm near the closest exit, if available, or raise an alarm by warning others.
*     Leave the building by the stairs.
*     Leave the building by the stairs.

If the exit is blocked by smoke or fire :
*     Leave the door closed but do not lock it.
*     To keep the smoke out, put a wet towel in the space at the bottom of the door.
*     Call the emergency fire service number and tell them your apartment number and let them knowyou are trapped by smoke and fire. It is important that you listen and do what they tell you.
*     Stay calm and wait for someone to rescue you.

If there is a fire alarm in your building which goes off :
*     Before you open the door, feel the door by using the back of our hand. If the door is hot or warm, do not open the door.
*     If the door is cool, open it just a little to check the hallway. If you see smoke in the hallway, do not leave.
*     If there is no smoke in the hallway, leave and close the door. Go directly to the stairs to leave. Never use the elevator.

If smoke is in your apartment :
*     Stay low to the floor under the smoke.
*     Call the Fire Emergency Number which should be pasted near your telephone along with police and other emergency services and let them know that you are trapped by smoke.
*     If you have a balcony and there is no fire below it, go out.
*     If there is fire below, go out to the window. DO NOT OPEN THE WINDOW but stay near thewindow.
*     If there is no fire below, go to the window and open it. Stay near the open window.
*     Hang a bed sheet, towel or blanket out of the window to let people know that you are there and need help.
*     Be calm and wait for someone to rescue you.


Lightning & Thunderstorm :
It is important to know what kind of stove or cooking oven you have in your home, gas, electric, and kerosene or where firewood is used. The stove is the primary cause of fire hazards in your kitchen and can cause fires, which may destroy the entire house, especially in rural areas where there are thatched roof or other inflammable materials like straw kept near the kitchen. For electric and gas stoves ensure that the switch or the gas valve is switched off/turned off immediately after the cooking is over.

An electric burner remains hot and until it cools off, it can be very dangerous. The oven using wood can be dangerous because burning embers remain. When lighting the fire on a wooden fuel oven, keep a cover on the top while lighting the oven so that sparks do not fly to the thatched roof. After the cooking is over, ensure that the remaining fire is extinguished off by sprinkling water if no adult remains in the kitchen after the cooking. Do not keep any inflammable article like kerosene near the kitchen fire.

Important Do’s in the Kitchen :
*     Do have an adult always present when cooking is going on the kitchen. Children should not bellowed alone.
*     Do keep hairs tied back and do not wear synthetic clothes when you are cooking.
*     Do make sure that the curtains on the window near the stove are tied back and will not blow on to the flame or burner.
*     Do check to make sure that the gas burner is turned off immediately if the fire is not ignited and also switched off immediately after cooking.
*      Do turn panhandles to the centre of the stove and put them out of touch of the children in the house.
*     Do ensure that the floor is always dry so that you do not slip and fall on the fire.
*     Do keep matches out of the reach of children.

Important Don’ts :
*     Don’t put towels, or dishrags near a stove burner.
*     Don’t wear loose fitting clothes when you cook, and don’t reach across the top of the stove when you are cooking.
*     Don’t put things in the cabinets or shelves above the stove. Young children may try to reach them and accidentally start the burners, start a fire, catch on fire.
*     Doesn’t store spray cans or cans carrying inflammable items near the stove.
*     Don’t let small children near an open oven door. They can be burnt by the heat or by falling onto the door or into the oven.
*     Don’t lean against the stove to keep warm.
*     Don’t use towels as potholders. They may catch on fire.
*     Don’t overload an electrical outlet with several appliances or extension cords. The cords or plugs may overheat and cause a fire.
*     Don ‘t use water to put out a grease fire. ONLY use baking soda, salt, or a tight lid. Always keep a box of baking soda near the stove.
*     Don’t use radios or other small appliances (mixers, blenders) near the sink.

*     Do keep the phone number of the Fire Service near the telephone and ensure that everyone in the family knows the number.
*     Do keep matches and lighters away from children.
*      Do sleep with your bedroom closed to prevent the spread of fire.
*     You should never run if your clothes are on fire and that you should .STOP.DROP.ROLL.


Do’s and Don’ts
*     Listen to the Radio/ TV/ Public Address System for advance information & advice.
*     Do not enter floodwaters on foot if you can avoid it.
*     Disconnect all electrical appliances and move all valuable personal and household goods and clothing out of reach of floodwater, if you are warned or if you suspect that floodwaters may reach the house.
*     Never wander around a flooded area.
*     Move vehicles and movable goods to the highest ground nearby.
*     Do not allow children to play in or near floodwaters.
*     Turn off electricity, gas if you have to leave the house.
*     Do not drive into water or unknown undercurrent.
*     Lock all outside doors and windows if you have to leave the house.
*     Do not consume food or drink water affected by floodwater.
*     If you have to evacuate, do not return until advised.


*     Lightning claims quite a few lives and injures many every year. Take these precautions during thunderstorms:
*      If caught outdoors:
*     If you hear thunder 10 seconds after a lightning flash, it is only about three kilometers away. The shorter the time, the closer the lightning, so find shelter urgently:
*     Seek shelter in a hardtop (metal-bodied) vehicle or solid building but avoid small open structures or fabric tents.
*     Never take shelter under a small group of (or single) trees.
*     If far from any shelter, crouch (low, feet together), preferably in a hollow. Remove metal objects from head/body. Do not lie down flat but avoid being the highest object.
*     If your hair stands on end or you hear buzzing from nearby rocks, fences etc. move immediately. At night, a blue glow may show if an object is about to be struck.
*     Do not fly kites during thunderstorms.
*     Do not handle fishing rods, umbrellas or metal rods etc.
*     Stay away from metal poles, fences, clotheslines etc.
*     Do not ride bicycles or travel on open vehicles.
*     If driving, slow down or park away from trees, power lines, stay inside metal-bodied (hard top) vehicles or in a pucca building but do not touch any metal sections.
*     If in water, leave the water immediately.
*     If on a boat, go ashore to a shelter as soon as possible.
*     Be sure the mast and stays of the boat are adequately secured.

If you are indoors :
*     Before the storm arrives, disconnect external aerial and power leads to radios and television sets.
*     Disconnect computer modems and power leads.
*      Draw all curtains and keep clear of windows, electrical appliances, pipes and other metal fixtures (e.g. do not use the bath, shower, hand basin or other electric equipments).
*     Avoid the use of fixed telephones. In emergencies, make brief calls (do not touch any metal, brick or concrete) and do not stand bare foot on concrete or tiled floors.

First Aid :
Apply immediate heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to lightning victims until medical help arrives. (You won’t receive a shock from the victim).
Facts & Myths:
*     When struck, people do not glow or fry to a crisp but the heart and breathing are often affected.
*     Only about 30% of people struck actually die and the incidence of long-term disability is low, particularly when appropriate first aid is applied promptly.
*     If your clothes are wet, you are less likely to be seriously injured if struck, as most of the charge will be conducted through the wet clothes rather than your body.
*     Lightning can, and often does, strike more than once in the same place.