Sunday, May 15, 2011

Earthquake Preparedness in Spain

Following last week’s earthquake in Lorca, various local governments are updating and issuing details of their emergency plans for seismic events.  It is interesting to note that when it comes to such planning for earthquake safety the town of Torrevieja was ahead of the game:

On March 21st, 1829 Torrevieja experienced one of the worst of the dozen major earthquakes that have taken place in Spain in the last 600 years. Registering a magnitude of 6.9 at its highest point, more than 400 people lost their lives and the city was reduced to rubble.
It’s and event that is commemorated very year in Torrevieja as many local families lost friends and relatives in the disaster. It’s not surprising...that Torrevieja already has an action plan in place, called PES, Plan Especial Sismico, to deal with such a situation.
While some other municipalities have reacted to the Lorca tragedy by hurriedly putting together an action plan, on April 23, 2010, Torrevieja’s Mayor Pedro Hernandez Mateo, along with representatives from the Valencian Community and all local and regional Emergency services, held a conference to discuss initiatives should such an occurrence happen on the Vega Baja.
This conference centred on what the emergency services would do in case major seismic activity struck the region and thus residents of Torrevieja and surrounding regions should feel confident that the Police, Ambulance, Protection Civil, Fire Brigade and Military have an action plan in place.
However, for those that have never been in an earthquake...it’s good to have a basic idea of what you should do. Most emergency service operators would agree that you should try and remember [three things above all]: Drop, Cover, Hold On.
The majority of deaths and injuries are not caused by gaping holes in the ground...but...[from] falling rubble from buildings. If possible you should  make your way to an open space, but in the vast majority of situations you will reduce your chance of injury if you feel a sudden and violent shaking of the ground around you if you remember, drop, cover and hold on.
DROP down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquakes knocks you down). This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won't fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands. Remember if you have an ornamental dining table with a glass top, it won’t help you at all!
HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
For more information on this principal please visit the [Southern California Earthquake Center's Drop! Cover! Hold On! website]... 
Read more at The Leader,

Carloz

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