On Campus Earthquake Precautions
Promiti Prova Chowdhury
“What will you do in campus if there is an earthquake?”When this question was asked to some students studying in different universities the answers turned out to be -- “May be I'll go under a table”, “I will do whatever my friends will do.” While some even said, “If there's an exam, I'll continue writing it as it is important!” The citizens of the digital land were no less. “I'll post a status that would say, 'See, Mother Nature is rocking!',” said one such citizen.
After getting such responses, I couldn't help but write this piece in order to spread the research conducted by the Sustainable Development (SD) Club of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) on safety measures during earthquakes inside the campus. SD Club has been working with the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD), ULAB on safety awareness and many other issues.
After a few workshops with Towhidul Islam Tarafder, Programme Manager of Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Committee (BDPC) and a mock drill inside ULAB campus, the members of the club managed to sort out the do's and don'ts during an earthquake on campus.
The DON'TS during earthquake:
* Experts say rushing towards stairs during earthquake might be dangerous.
* During earthquake, one should stay away from any glass window.
* In classrooms, one should also stay away from glass partitions as they can collapse when the tremor is intense.
* One should avoid staying at the centre of the classroom.
* One is suggested to stay away from rotating electric fans and other hanging objects.
* Using elevators during earthquakes is extremely risky.
* One should avoid staying close to trees, electric poles, foot over bridges and high-rise buildings, if he or she is outside campus.
The DO'S during earthquake
* If one is in class during an earthquake, shelter should be sought under the building beams and columns. Safest place is the junction of a beam and columns.
* If one feels the earthquake, all electric switches should be switched off immediately.
* If you are in the auditorium spread in the gallery and go to different corners of the hall. Stay gathered around the columns to protect yourselves.
* If one is working at his or her private cabin in the university, it is suggested to seek shelter under the table during an earthquake. The formula is to hold on to something strong until the situation is normal.
* If you are using any stove, microwave or heater, turn it off. It will minimise chances of any fire mishap.
* Among the many safety tips during earthquake, the most important one is to stay calm and not panic. When the earthquake is over, come out of classrooms and follow the stairs.
* Remember to always remain on the left side of stairs, since it is strongly supported by the beams.
* After an earthquake we must check if someone is injured or locked in.
* If one is stuck, try to make noise with some strong material by hitting it on a hard surface.
* It is usual to have an after shock, which is like a second earthquake, striking after the first one; and it is the safest to get out of the building right after the earthquake stops.
The demonstration of all these techniques can be found in a video made by the students of SD Club, ULAB available at http://www.ulab.edu.bd/Video-Library/videodirectlink/Earthquake-Preparedness-on-Campus-by-ULAB-SDC/.
Briefly, during earthquakes we need to stay calm, seek shelter at the ascribed places and lastly evacuate the building. After the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that jolted the country last week, hope that these do's and don'ts tips prove useful when needed, and also wish that the need to use them never comes!