Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fujairah Residents Overcome Fear of Earthquakes with Emergency Plan

Hot on the heels of a quake early last Friday morning was another ‘mild’ quake registering 4.3 (epicenter in Gulf of Oman) and letting its presence be felt after 5.00am Sunday (10 May 2009).

As reported in an article on Friday, this movement has followed a series of small quakes earlier in the year.

There is no doubt that Fujairah and the northern emirates are quivering in a prolonged period of seismic unrest.

Quaking and Anxiety
Reports on Friday announced that some people in Fujairah and the surrounding region ran out of their homes. Phone calls for information ran hot. Blog sites with articles on this topic have registered numerous hits. It is obvious that international stories such as from China’s devastating pre-Olympic earthquakes have stoked the fires of anxiety.

The Gulf News concludes its brief report Sunday with this statement from the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology in Abu Dhabi saying, “The tremors are mild and there is nothing to worry about.” From their experience the experts are rightly calling for calm and a measured response.

Prevention Plan Combats Fear
One of the best ways to overcome the fear of earthquakes is to prepare yourself well so that you know what you will do in the event of a sizeable earthquake striking.

Here are some tips from one of the scores of helpful sites:

How to be Prepared
Electricity, water, gas and telephones may not be working after an earthquake. The police and fire departments are likely to be tied up. You should be prepared to fend for yourself for at least three days, perhaps for a week.

You'll need food and water (a gallon a day per person); a first aid kit; a fire extinguisher suitable for all types of fires; flashlights; a portable radio; extra batteries, blankets, clothes, shoes and money (ATMs may not work); medication; an adjustable or pipe wrench to turn off gas or water, if necessary; baby and pet food; and an alternate cooking source (barbecue or camp stove). This list can also be applied to other disasters, such as floods or wildfires.

It's also a good idea to decide beforehand how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake and to conduct in-home practice drills. You might choose an out-of-the-area friend or relative that family members can call to check on you.

Securing water heaters, major appliances and tall, heavy furniture to prevent them from toppling are prudent steps. So, too, are storing hazardous or flammable liquids, heavy objects and breakables on low shelves or in secure cabinets.

Discuss earthquake insurance with your insurance agent. Depending on your financial situation and the value of your home, it may be worthwhile.

During an Earthquake
If you're indoors, stay there. Get under -- and hold onto --a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot. If you're in an office building, stay away from windows and outside walls and do not use the elevator.

If you're outside, get into the open. Stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you.

If you're driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs and power lines. When you resume driving, watch out for road hazards.

If you're in a mountainous area, beware of the potential for landslides. Likewise, if you're near the ocean, be aware that tsunamis are associated with large earthquakes. Get to high ground.

If you're in a crowded public place, avoid panicking and do not rush for the exit. Stay low and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.

After an Earthquake
Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there's evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box.

If the phone is working, only use it in case of emergency. Likewise, avoid driving if possible to keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.

Be aware that items may fall out of cupboards or closets when the door is opened, and also that chimneys can be weakened and fall with a touch. Check for cracks and damage to the roof and foundation of your home.

Listen to the radio for important information and instructions. Remember that aftershocks, sometimes large enough to cause damage in their own right, generally follow large quakes.

If you leave home, leave a message telling friends and family your location.

What to Do in an Earthquake, State of California.

Check out a few more sites, adapt the information to your situation and work out your tailor-made plan for you and your family.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: A wise idea to have an emergency plan.

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