Earthquake survival guide: How to stay safe

Earthquake survival guide

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked New Zealand’s South Island on Sunday, with at least two people reportedly losing their lives during the natural disaster. People have reported collapsing roofs and shaking floors and walls around them, while taking cover under tables and in doorways waiting for the earthquake to subside.

But it’s not just the locals who have been affected by the earthquake, holiday-makers too have become caught up in the event.

Read more: What to do if you experience a national disaster while on holiday

“The land has been very peaceful for many, many months. So this is bringing back all the rare memories,” Chet Wah, owner of Designer Cottage bed and breakfast in Christchurch, told CNN. “I just checked with all the guests. They are alright. It is scary. It’s going to be a long night.”

If you do find yourself caught up in an earthquake while on holiday, here’s an earthquake survival guide which will help you stay safe.

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1. Research before you go

Before you even buy your tickets, take a look at your planned travel destination and find out if there is a risk of earthquakes occurring. If it is a real possibility, then find out if they occur less frequently during certain parts of the year and see if you can arrange your plans accordingly.

2. Register your travels with Smart Traveller

Whenever you go on holiday overseas, it’s a good idea to register your plans with the Smart Traveller government website. That way, if something does happen in the region you are visiting, then they will be alerted to your location and will work towards accounting for you during an emergency.

3. Head for cover

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If you’re indoors when an earthquake strikes overseas, then you want to make sure you head for cover to protect yourself. Get under a sturdy table and hold on to whatever you can until the shaking stops. Only take shelter in a doorway if you know it is a supporting beam.

4. Cover your face

If there’s nothing around you can grab to cover your face and eyes, use your arms and crawl into a ball.

5. Stay inside

While the earth is still shaking, stay inside. Most earthquake injuries occur when people attempt to run outside while the shaking is still happening. 

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6. Contact the embassy

If you are overseas and you’re safe, contact the local embassy so they can account for your safety and let your family know. The embassy will also provide you with information about what to do next or whether you should leave the area.

7. Contact friends and family

No doubt the people back home will be wondering about your welfare as soon as news hits about the earthquake, so be sure to contact them when you can to let them know you’re ok. You can also use the “I’m Safe” button on Facebook to let everyone in your network know of your whereabouts, too.

Our thoughts are with our friends in New Zealand at this time. Leave your messages and condolences with them in the comments section below. Have you ever experienced an earthquake?

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