An emergency is an unexpected situation that poses immediate risk to health, property or environment. Emergencies require immediate and direct actions in order to prevent or reduce the possible after effects of this emergency. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 defines emergency as ‘an even or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare, the environment or security in a part of the United Kingdom’. Emergencies focus on three types of threat. Those are threats to the environment, people’s welfare and security.
An earthquake is an emergency because it is unexpected and cause severe damage to environment and properties or lands. It can also severely harm human beings who happen to be in the designated area. In order to be prepared for unexpected situations like this there are some procedures people can follow to ensure safety around them. These are before the earthquake happens
• Make sure to have a working fire extinguisher, communication device and torchlight. • Learn first aid Learn how to turn off the gas, water and electricity • Make a plan and an escape route and an assembly point to meet your family after the earthquake. • Don’t leave heavy objects on shelves. • Learn the earthquake plan at school or workplace. During an earthquake procedures have to be taken to ensure maximum safety. • Stay calm. If indoors then stay in and if outdoors stay out.
• If you’re indoors, stand against a wall near the centre of the building, stand in a doorway, or crawl under heavy furniture (a desk or table). Stay away from windows and outside doors. If outdoors, stay away from power lines and buildings as they may fall on you • Don’t use matches, candles or anything that could start a fire. • Don’t use elevators. After an earthquake: • Check yourself and others for injuries. Provide first aid if needed. • Check appliances, water, gas and electric lines for faults or damages. If damages then shut off the valves. • If indoors and it smells of flammable gas then open all windows, eave immediately and report to authority. • Follow earthquake plan and listen to the instructions of the person in charge [authority figure] • Expect aftershocks.
Whilst evacuating the building members should remain cal and contain their dignity and self respect. Everyone should treat each other as an equal and direct them all towards safety. For example, in a nursery setting some children may have disabilities therefore might find it more difficult to follow the procedures instructed by teacher. They should still be seen as an equal and help must be given when needed however, they should not feel as though they are being treated differently from the others.
The advantage of having an earthquake plan is that it prepares the individuals with an escape route and gives them a head start on how to deal with it. Having an earthquake plan means the individuals will know what to do when the situation arises and that will save time and less panics. However, the disadvantage of having an earthquake plan is that it is time consuming. It takes time to make one and one must have the knowledge of the setting in which the earthquake plan will take place.
In addition, there may be some who are not informed of this plan therefore will be at loss when the earthquake arises. It is not guaranteed that everyone will follow the plan which contradicts the reason of the plan itself which is the safety of all people at that certain time and place. Plans are bases on predictions and estimations of the future which means there may be turn of events. For example, the plan may direct people towards the safest and quickest exit but what if that certain exit is damaged and blocked due to the earthquake?