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Cyprus

Civil defence safety advice to public in event of quake

Earthquakes cannot be prevented, but with the right precautions everyone can effectively contribute to mitigating its effects, civil defence spokeswoman Olivia Michaelidou told the Cyprus News Agency on Tuesday.

Her comments came a day after one person was killed after a strong tremor measuring 5.8 shook Greece’s largest island Crete, with civil defence issuing advice to the public on protective measures in the event of a quake.

“Earthquakes are phenomena that occur without warning and often cause great damage to the infrastructure, as well as serious injuries and loss of lives.

“That is why it is important to be aware of all measures and precautions to take before, during and after an earthquake,” she said.

BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE

(At home/ /school/workplace)

  • Make sure all shelves and bookcases are firmly attached to the walls
  • Do not place refrigerators and large pieces of furniture in places where they could potentially block escape routes
  • Remove heavy items from beds and sofas
  • Make sure all hanging lighting systems and fans are securely attached to the ceiling
  • Identify the safest place at your home/ school/ office and designate it as the place where to take refuge in case of an earthquake. Ideally, it should be under a sturdy table away from glass surfaces
  • Check that the electricity and gas supply is working properly
  • Always switch off power and gas generators when not in use
  • Make sure to have a first aid kit
  • Place a fire extinguisher in an accessible location

AT THE TIME OF THE EARTHQUAKE

If you are indoors:

  • Keep your cool. Do not panic
  • Take cover under sturdy furniture (tables or desks)
  • If there is no sturdy furniture, kneel in the middle of the room, reducing your height as much as possible and use your hands to protect your head and neck
  • Move away from large glass surfaces (windows, glass partitions) or furniture and objects that could potentially injure you
  • Do not try to leave the premises
  • Do not go out onto the balcony

If you are in a tall building:

  • Move away from windows and outside walls
  • Do not use the lift to escape. There is a high risk of getting trapped in it due to power failures
  • Do not stand on balconies or on the edges of roofs. The earthquake vibrations may cause you to fall into the void

If you are in a shopping mall or a large store:

  • Stay in the area until the shaking stops
  • Do not run towards the exits, as there is a high risk of stampedes occurring

If you are in an open area:

  • Avoid standing near buildings, electric poles or objects that could fall and injure you
  • If you carry a bag or briefcase, cover your head with them
  • Stay away from the sea as to not get injured by strong waves caused by the earthquake

If you are in the car:

  • Park as quickly and carefully as possible away from high-rise buildings and electric poles
  • Avoid driving through tunnels, bridges or overpasses

AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE:

  • Immediately help children, people with disabilities and sick or elderly people to protect themselves.
  • If a fire breaks out, try to safely put it out before it spreads
  • Do not touch wires in order to avoid getting electrocuted
  • If you are trapped somewhere you cannot escape from, try to make every effort to give signs of life so that rescue crews can locate you
  • Do not attempt to move a seriously injured person unless their life is in immediate danger
  • Do not enter buildings that have been damaged until the competent authorities have assured you that they are safe
  • Do not use the telephone unless absolutely necessary. Jamming the lines could affect the coordination efforts of rescue teams after an earthquake
  • Respond to calls for help, but do not move around unnecessarily in order not to crowd the affected area and prevent rescue teams from carrying out their duty

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