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Earthquake - how to be better prepared for an earthquake

...part of the extended info series on How to prepare your Personal Emergency Plan   | this page is also accessed via http://bit.ly/EarthquakePrepared

Geophysical Hazards: Earthquake | Landslide | Volcano Scenario: Earthquake 

  DELUXE 2 person GO-BAG | safe evacuation    Earthquake Preparedness Kit   EVAQ8.co.uk - passionate about Emergency Preparedness / assess- prepare - stay safe - recover

Contrary to popular belief, earthquakes happen all the time in the UK.

Thankfully, they are rarely serious.

One of the earliest recorded incidents took place in 1580, when an earthquake beneath the English Channel collapsed part of the white cliffs at Dover, killed two children in London and famoulsy rang the great bell in the Palace of Westminster. It is even referred to in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Nurse Act 1 Scene 3 (25): 

“'Tis since the earthquake now eleven years..”

Two decades later, some now speculate that the devastating 1607 Bristol Channel floods may have been caused by a tsunami which also may implicate an earthquake. The 1692 London earthquake thronged the streets with confused crowds and 1750 was dubbed ‘year of earthquakes’ which triggered a country-wide obsession with seismic events, kick starting scientific study.

A lot has happened since these very early days and today’s ‘science of earthquakes’  is a multi-disciplined and wide ranging subject at the very forefront of disaster risk recover (DRR). Differentiated early warning systems are key as are modern engineering to ‘earthquake-proof’ infrastructure. Still, people get caught and so this is about earthquake preparedness no matter where you are in the world.

For more information see the right column twitter links. In addition, sources: List of Earthquake in the Brish IslesBGS British Geological Survey; The earthquakes that rocked Georgian London (History Extra); WAPMERR  World Agency of Planetary Monitoring and Earthquake Risk Reduction;  
GDACS Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (UN/EU) all hazards;



Earthquake Preparedness


 1. ASSESS know your history and surroundings | earthquake

How likely are you to experience an earthquake at what magnitude?  Shallow quakes are like a bomb, deep quakes go far and wide (PHYS.org) How safe is your environment? Are you at an increased risk from earthquakes during your travels? Also consider mobile homes and homes not attached to their foundations or buildings with foundations resting on landfill and other unstable soils. 

Are you ready to safely evacuate and/or shelter-in-place once the event is over? Do you know who to contact and where to get help?  

 2. PREPARE your supplies - secure your property | earthquake

Be realistic and critical about the types of supplies you will need and the kinds of steps you reasonably can take to be better prepared. General advice is to stock emergency preparedness supplies for 72hours or more; for example a so called Earthquake and Natural Disaster Survival Kit.

However, this will only be useful if you can access the kit!

Consider planning for contingencies and stocking multiple locations.  

3. STAY SAFE during an earthquake 

Know how to react when caught in an earthquake.

Here are some vital tips of what to do and not to do during an earthquake:

  • doorways are no stronger than any other part of a structure so don’t rely on them for protection!
  • get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on; it will help shelter you from falling objects
  • practice “DROP – COVER – HOLD ON” to hone your reflexes; in a real situation you may only have seconds to seek shelter
  • protect your head and neck if you need to run to a shelter place
  • follow the advice of Dwayne Johnson, star in the disaster movie ‘San Andreas’


4. RECOVER - rebuild

Rebuilding after an earthquake can take a very long time. People’s temporary accommodations post-earthquake often become the new normal. Foodsecurity is an issue. Waterpurification is vital for survival, health and hygiene.

Resilience planners and Disaster Risk Reduction experts around the world strive to ‘build-back better’ where this is possible. In some cases, moving communities more permanently to safer places also is a solution.

These are complex and important topics more of which you can access via our virtual preparedness library and our directory ready for emergencies


Additional earthquake preparedness resources: 














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