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Thursday, September 21, 2023

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Earthquakes happen suddenly, without warning. We don’t know when the next big earthquake will happen, but we can act now to survive and minimize its impact. Preparation starts with a plan. For cities, this means working with engineers to strengthen old structures and design new buildings, bridges and highways to withstand an earthquake as best as possible. For individuals and families, this means creating an earthquake preparedness plan and kit and knowing what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Here are the precautions you can take before the earthquake…

• Settlements should be determined meticulously. Slippery and plain areas should not be opened to settlement. Housing should not be built on sloping lands with loose soil.

• Structures should be built resistant to earthquake effects. (In accordance with Construction Technique and Construction Regulation)

• Houses and buildings should not be built in places other than those reserved for housing in the zoning plan.

• Buildings should not be built near steep cliffs, in steep gorges and valleys.

• Buildings should not be built on slopes with heavy snowfall and avalanche.

• The durability of existing buildings should be increased.

• Houses should be insured against earthquakes.

In addition to these measures, we should take the following precautions when placing our daily belongings inside the house in order to protect them from non-structural, i.e., damage caused by the furniture, not the building:

• The items and office materials placed on the cabinet should be fixed with plastic holder materials or adhesives to prevent them from slipping and falling.

•Stoves and other heaters should be fixed to the wall or floor with solid materials.

• Cabinets and similar items that can tip over should be fixed to each other and to the wall. If there is a gap between the fixed object and the wall, a filling material should be placed in between to reduce the impact effect.

• Ceiling and wall hanging chandeliers, air conditioners, etc. The devices should be hung to the place where they are located, far enough from the walls and windows and with hooks to carry their weight.

• Closet doors containing heavy items should be kept tightly closed by installing mechanical locks.

• By placing a metal profile under the white goods on the counter that may slip, they should be prevented from slipping.

• Toxic, explosive, flammable materials should be fixed in a position where they will not fall, and should be stored in a way that cannot be broken. Phosphorous, identifying labels should be placed on these materials.

• Elastic band or wire can be added to the front of the shelves. Small objects and bottles should be placed in boxes so that they do not bump into each other or tip over.

• Gas valve and electrical fuses should be automated against gas leakage and fire.

• Hazards on the roads to be used to exit the building urgently should be eliminated, these roads should be marked, and items that might block the exit should be removed from the exit road.

• Wide exit roads should be created. Doors opening outwards should be used, emergency exit doors should not be locked. Emergency exits should be illuminated.

• Beds should not be placed near the window and heavy cabinets that can tip over, and shelves with heavy items should not be placed on the bed.

• “Disaster preparedness plans” should be made with the participation of all individuals (at home, at work, in an apartment, at school), and this plan should be reviewed every six months. From time to time, exercises should be done on how to behave according to this plan.

• How to provide communication with family members in case of a disaster and emergency, alternative meeting places and a contact person outside the region (home, workplace, inside, outside the school or outside the neighborhood) should be determined.

• Important documents (identity cards, title deed, insurance documents, health certificate, diplomas, passport, bank wallet, etc.) should be kept in a watertight manner by preparing their copies, and a copy of these documents should also be in the contact person outside the region.

• Appropriate fire extinguisher must be available according to the characteristics and size of the residence or workplace, predetermined by the building management, and periodic maintenance must be done. These devices are;
▸ It should be kept in an easily accessible place.
▸ Its location should be known by everyone.
▸ It must be firmly fixed to the wall.
▸ It should be maintained by the relevant company every year.
▸ Once used, it must be refilled.
▸ “Not Used During Earthquake” sign should be hung on the door sides of elevators in buildings.

Source: AFAD

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