After an Earthquake
Pets after an earthquake
The behavior of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake. Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard.
Pets may not be allowed into shelters for health and space reasons. Prepare an emergency pen for pets in the home that includes a 3-day supply of dry food and a large container of water.
Be prepared for aftershocks
Although smaller than the main shock, aftershocks cause additional damage and may bring weakened structures down. Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks or even months after the quake.
Help injured or trapped persons
Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
Remember to help your neighbors
Who may require special assistance – infants, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Stay out of damaged buildings – return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals.
- Open closet and cupboard doors cautiously.
- Inspect the entire length of chimneys carefully for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to a fire.
Inspecting utilities in a damaged home
- Check for gas leaks – if you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
- Look for electrical system damage – if you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
- Check for sewage and water lines damage – if you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact Brunswick County Public Utilities or your water provider and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.
How the public can help after a disaster
When disaster strikes, people everywhere want to help those in need. To ensure that this compassion and generosity are put to good use, keep these facts in mind:
- Financial aid is an immediate need of disaster victims. Financial contributions should be made through a recognized voluntary organization to help ensure that contributions are put to their intended use.
- Before donating food or clothing, wait for instructions from local officials. Immediately after a disaster, relief workers usually don’t have the time or facilities to set up distribution channels, and too often these items go to waste.
- Volunteers should go through a recognized voluntary agency such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. Those organizations know what is needed and are prepared to deal with the need. Local emergency services officials also coordinate volunteer efforts for helping in disasters.
- Organizations and community groups wishing to donate items should first contact local officials, the American Red Cross, or Salvation Army to find out what is needed and where to send it. Be prepared to deliver the items to one place, tell officials when you’ll be there, and provide for transportation, driver, and unloading.