Earthquake Preparedness in the Library

By Garid Faria, Administrative & Fiscal Support Specialist

San José Library after 2007 earthquakeA major earthquake is one in which one or more of the following occurs: book stacks collapse or become unstable, walls or floors crack or crumble, window glass breaks, electrical wires or ceiling tiles become exposed, power is lost, flooding occurs, building entrances are blocked and/or occupants are injured.  They are unpredictable and strike without warning.

DURING THE EARTHQUAKE

  • DROP, COVER and HOLD ON. Minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place.
  • Move away from windows, skylights, suspended light fixtures or objects to avoid falling glass/objects.
  • Beware of collapsing book shelves and falling objects.
  • Take cover under a sturdy table or desk.

IF INDOORS

  • DROP to your hands and knees.
  • COVER your head and neck with your arms. This position protects you from falling and provides some protection for vital organs. Because moving can put you in danger from the debris in your path, only move if you need to get away from the danger of falling objects. If you can move safely, crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table. If there is low furniture, or an interior wall or corner nearby and the path is clear, these may also provide some additional cover.
  • HOLD ON to any sturdy shelter until the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • At night, hazards and debris are difficult to see and avoid; therefore, attempt to move in the dark with caution to prevent injury.
  • DO NOT get in a doorway as this does not provide protection from falling or flying objects and you likely will not be able to remain standing if the tremors are severe.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

IF OUTDOORS

  • If you can, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON.
  • STAY THERE until the shaking stops. Depending on the situation, you may need to duck inside a building to avoid falling debris.

AFTER THE TREMORS END

  • When the shaking stops, look around to make sure it is safe to move and there is a safe way out through the debris. Then exit the building.
  • Expect aftershocks and be prepared. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake. DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON whenever you feel shaking.
  • As you exit, PULL THE FIRE ALARM AND EVACUATE to the designated Gathering Area away from buildings/large trees. Staff assembles and conducts a head count to ensure all staff are accounted for.
  • Move injured to a safe area and render first aid as needed.
  • DO NOT BLINDLY RUN OUTSIDE as parts of the building may still be falling.
  • Avoid coming in contact or getting near fallen electrical lines.
  • Beware of fire as it is the most common hazard after an earthquake.

AFTER EXITING THE BUILDING

  • DO NOT RETURN to any building for any reason until the building is declared safe.
  • Call DPS at 6-6911 to report damage and request minor medical assistance OR call Emergency Services directly at 911 for a major emergency (police, fire/rescue, ambulance).
  • If telephones are not working, communicate with authorities in person or via email/text message.
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