Earthquakes are a normal phenomenon that most likely occurs in areas of frequent plate movements.
Most earthquakes occur along the edges of oceanic and continental plates.
Papua New Guinea, finds itself sitting in one of the most greatest earthquake belt, the circum-Pacific seismic belt/Pacific Ring of Fire, found along the rim of the Pacific Ocean, where about 81 percent of the world’s largest earthquakes occur.
Earthquakes can be very dangerous especially if occurring in a highly populated area, which may place lives at danger and cause huge destructions to the surroundings.
The rate of Aftershocks (smaller earthquakes that follow after a big one) decreases quickly, but can be felt up to weeks or even months after a large earthquake occurs.
Although we may not know when an earthquake may strike, we can plan in advance for proper response that may be crucial to protecting yourself, and those around you, before and after an earthquake.
The following are tips covering situations in which you may find yourself in when an earthquake strikes:
When inside a building:
- Stay indoors
- Keep calm and do not panic
- Let doors open to avoid being jammed
- Keep away from windows and heavy furniture and stay away from glass or anything that can fall
- Take cover under a strong table if necessary until the shaking stops
When outside a building:
- Do not run through or go near buildings, trees or power poles
- Once in an open area, stay there until the earthquake stops
- If in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly as safety permits.
Keep in mind that an ‘aftershock’ could be damaging and fatal as the main earthquake.
When shaking stops:
- Turn electrical items off, put fires out
- If the building is seriously damaged, turn off water, electricity supply, gas and heating mains
- Treat minor injuries
- Get in touch with neighbors – they might need help
- When help is needed, go to your nearest government authorities or emergency and disaster office
Keep alert – remember after shock may happen
If you find yourself trapped under debris:
- Do not light a match because you could set other materials on fire or cause fumes to ignite
- Do not move frantically because you could injure/cause more harm to yourself
- Cover your mouth and nose with a clothing to protect yourself from breathing in dust and other airborne substances.