Safety Tips

Earthquake

Pre-Disaster
- Shelves for books and household items should be fixed to the walls. Remove heavy objects from shelves above head level as these can topple over and fall
- Locate beds away from the windows and heavy objects that could fall
- Secure applications that could move, causing rupture of gas or electrical lines
- Know location of master switches and shut off valves
- Make sure that overhead electrical fixtures are well secured to the ceiling & move heavy unstable objects away from exit routes
- Replace glass bottles with plastic containers or move them to the lowest shelves
- Be aware that in a severe earthquake utility services like electricity and water-supply will probably be down. Emergency services may be extremely limited for a few days
- Store emergency supplies like water, food, first-aid kit, medicines, tools, portable radio, flash light, batteries, blankets, fire extinguisher etc.

During Disaster
- Keep calm & help others to be calm
- Try to run safely to the nearest open space which is not surrounded by buildings, trees and overhead power lines but do so with great caution
- Do not use an elevator during the earthquake & do not rush to the roof of the house
- Choose your exit as carefully as possible
- If you feel it is not possible to get out of the house/building fast & safely, especially when you are inside a high rise building, stay calmly inside
- While inside the house/building, choose a safe place to protect yourself. Take refuge under a desk, table, bed or stand below the doorway (in case of an Assam type house)
- If you are moving in a vehicle, drive immediately to a place which is away from buildings, high/heavy structures, bridges, electric lines etc & park the vehicle there. Remain inside the car till the earthquake stops
- Do not light candles, gas stove, and cigarette (to prevent any fire due to possible leakage of gas)
- Shut off your gas connection
- Release your pets, domestic animals if they are inside an enclosure
- Do not panic no matter how hard the tremor

Post - Disaster
- Check yourself for injuries
- Examine all sections of your building
- Do not stay inside a room/house where cracks have developed along the walls, ceiling. Get everyone out of the house if it is found unsafe
- Use a helmet or cover your head with a pillow or rubber sheet while moving around inside the house
- Be prepared for additional earthquakes (after-shocks)
- Stay away from overhanging portions of buildings/structures and power lines and poles
- Close the valve of the gas cylinder and do not use open flame
- Do not switch on electric appliances
- Wear rubber soled shoes while moving around
- Attend to injured persons and inform the medical authorities as soon as possible
- If you are trapped inside a collapsed building, wait patiently for help. Remain calm.
- Use a stick/pole to detect any life inside a collapsed building
- Do not spread rumors or be alarmed by rumors
- Turn on your radio and listen to announcements


Fire

Before
- Install smoke alarms. Place smoke alarms on every level of a multi-storey building at spots close to fire-causing sources
- Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year
- Replace smoke alarm systems regularly as advised on the manufacturer’s label
- Do not take illegal connections or tinker with power connections
- Review escape routes with your family
- Make sure windows are not nailed or permanently bolted
- Make sure security gratings on windows can be easily opened from the inside
- Consider escape ladders if your residence has more than one level and ensure that burglar bars and other anti-theft systems can be easily opened from the inside
- Teach family members to stay low on the floor (where the air is safer) when escaping from a fire
- Clean out storage areas. Do not let trash such as old newspapers/magazines and polythene bags accumulate

Flammable Items
- Store flammable liquids in safe containers in well-ventilated storage areas
- Never smoke near flammable liquids
- Discard all rags or materials that have been soaked in flammable liquids after you have used them. Safely discard them outdoors in a metal container.
- Insulate chimneys and place spark arresters on top. The chimney should be at least three feet higher than the roof. Remove tree branches hanging above and around the chimney.

Heating Sources
- Be careful when using alternative heating sources
- Place heaters at least three feet away from flammable materials. Make sure the floor and nearby walls are properly insulated
- Use only the type of fuel designated for your unit and follow manufacturer’s instructions
- Store ashes in a metal container outside, away from your residence
- Keep open flames away from walls, furniture, drapery, and flammable items

Matches and Smoking
- Keep matches and lighters away from children, and, if possible, in a locked cabinet
- Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated

Electrical Wiring
- Have the electrical wiring in your residence checked by a certified electrician
- Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs
- Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring
- Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high-footfall areas
- Do not overload extension cords or outlets. If you need to plug in two or three appliances, get a unit with built-in circuit breakers to prevent sparks and short circuits
- Make sure insulation does not touch bare electrical wiring

Other
- Install fire extinguishers at your residence and read the instructions on the labels carefully. Teach family members how to use them
- Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your residence
- Ask your local fire department to inspect your residence for fire safety and prevention.

During Fire
- If your clothes catch fire, you should stop, drop, and roll until the fire is extinguished. Running only makes the clothes burn faster
- Cover your nose / mouth, possibly with a moist cloth or in its absence with your hands, to prevent inhalation of smoke and asphyxiation
- While escaping from a burning house, it will help if you could cover yourself with a thick blanket
- Check closed doors for heat before you open them. If you are escaping through a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame before you open it.
- Never use the palm of your hand or fingers to test for heat - burning those areas could impair your ability to escape a fire (for ladders and crawling)
- The window is your best escape option. If you cannot escape, hang a white or light-colored sheet outside the window, alerting fire fighters to your presence
- Crawl low under any smoke to your exit - heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling
- Close doors behind you as you escape if you can to delay the spread of the fire
- Do not re-enter once you have escaped. Call the local fire department

After Fire
- If you are with burn victims, or are a burn victim yourself, cool and cover burns to reduce chances of further injury or infection
- Go to the nearest medical doctor for help
- If you detect heat or smoke when entering a damaged building, evacuate immediately
- If you have a safe or strong box, do not try to open it. It can hold intense heat for several hours. If the door is opened before the box has cooled, the contents could burst into flames


Landslide

What are the causes of landslide
The primary cause of landslide is denudation of vegetation on hill slopes resulting in loose / unstable soil that cannot withstand the pressure of rainfall, snow or traffic. Clearance of vegetation for construction purposes or agriculture (jhum) has an adverse impact on the stability of soil. Tremor from earthquakes or explosion could also trigger landslide, apart from erosion as a result of floods and quarrying.
Safety measures before landslide
- Investigate susceptible areas to identify factors of instability and carry out corrective measures to prevent/minimize instability
- Carry out re-forestation in barren areas as the roots of plants / trees will arrest slippage of soil. Plant trees on vulnerable areas
- Always be watchful on hill roads and try to note features like cracks on road surface and slopes
- Do not build house near steep slopes, close to mountain edges, near drains or natural water outlets
- Construct embankment on high gradient slopes

Safety measures during landslide
- Be alert during heavy rainfall and continuous damp weather
- Stay out of the path of a landslide or debris flow
- Listen for any unusual sound that might indicate moving debris, trees cracking or rolling boulders (large stones)
- Be alert when there is a sudden increase in volume of water in streams and a marked transformation from clear to muddy water
- Contact local rescue units

What to do if you suspect imminent landslide
- Alert local authorities
- Informing people around you about the potential threat may help save many lives
- Evacuation or getting out of the path of landslide or debris flow is the best protection
- Make yourself less vulnerable and protect your head if escaping is not possible

Safety measures after landslide
- Avoid the landslide area. There may be danger of subsequent slides
- Look out for flooding which may follow a landslide on debris flow
- Help persons who may require special assistance - infants, elderly persons and the disabled


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