What To Do When You Experience An Earthquake At The Office
Anyone who lives in earthquake prone areas needs to know what they should do the moment an earthquake hits, especially if they are at the office. An earthquake cannot be predicted as can hurricanes or other natural hazards. It is important to always be prepared.
Most areas that are prone to earthquakes have strict building codes for the specific area. Start by making sure that the building one is in is up to code. A quick check with a local building regulatory department can tell the person the answer to this question. This does not mean the building would not withstand an earthquake, it is just a starting point. If the building is not up to code sometimes there are things that can be done to bring it up to code and the regulatory department will look into this. There are many inexpensive ways that a building can be secured.
Nonstructural items would include utilities and lighting etc. This too needs to be up to code. Furnishing should be able to withstand a large earthquake and desks especially should be large enough and heavy enough to protect an employee from any falling debris. The employee should be able to crawl underneath of the desk during the shaking of the earthquake to protect themselves from any falling debris.
Employees should all participate in earthquake drills in order to know the right procedure to protect themselves from danger. During an earthquake it is reinforced to stop, drop and cover. Most places of business have a few desks that are safe hiding places for this purpose.
After the earthquake employees should have a rendezvous place. Each and every employee should check in there with a coordinator to make sure that no one is trapped or missing.
Stay Off Phones
During and immediately after an earthquake it is important to keep phone lines free for emergency personnel. Avoid calling loved ones during the first hour after an earthquake. Explain to them prior that the building is safe and all of the employees know what to do. Use phones only for immediate emergency purposes such as getting medical care for an injured person or getting help for someone who is trapped.
Employees should prepare for earthquakes at home as well and help their family understand what to do when an earthquake hits. This will help to give them and the family both peace of mind. Keep in mind that the separation is usually very short lived and families will be reunited as soon as possible.
In the event that the employee cannot make it home after an earthquake due to roads etc. They could have a secondary rendezvous set up for family. Sometimes going an alternate route will work for the rendezvous.
Avoid Using Electricity
Keep electrical items turned off until power companies have ensured that they are safe to use. Sometimes a power outage can happen in one area but not another.
Following these safety tips will go far in helping employees to be safe when they are away from home. Training family members and employees how to react during the shaking will be very helpful to those who are in an earthquake as well.