Earthquake Safety Checklist for Businesses – During & After
Earthquakes are hard to predict and can devastate an entire neighborhood in a matter of seconds. Recouping the monetary loss can be next to impossible in some cases. Small businesses often don’t make a recovery due to the severity of the impact.
To ensure that you can minimize the effects of an earthquake, it’s imperative to make preparations before one occurs.
We’ve prepared a quick earthquake safety checklist that most water damage restoration specialists in Norfolk VA recommend in order to protect businesses and employees from harm.
It is highly recommended to create an action plan for what happens during an earthquake. Your earthquake action plan should include the following information:
- Contact information of relevant professionals and contractors.
- Information on what employees should do during and after an earthquake.
- Define responsibilities for staff members, for example, allocate the task of calling professionals such as restoration companies and insurance agents to certain individuals in your company, usually HR.
Having this information handy will ensure a speedy recovery.
Build a Kit
It is highly recommended to build a kit that you and your employees can use until help arrives. A basic kit should include the following items:
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio
- Three day supply of food
- One gallon of water per person per day
- Whistle to signal for help
- Manual can opener
- Cell phone with backup batteries
For more details on must-have items for a survival kit, check out this guide.
Things to do During an Earthquake
Your priority during an earthquake should be to protect employees from potential harm.
Human lives first, properties second.
Here’s what you can do.
- Learn about all the exit routes if you’re in a commercial building. The priority is to find cover until the shaking stops before you can reach for any exits.
- Direct all your employees to stay indoors, stay inside, and take cover under something sturdy, such as a table or desk to absorb damage from falling debris. The goal is to protect them from falling objects.
- As a general rule, you and your employees should face away from windows and glass doors. These objects may shatter and the resulting shrapnel can cause life-threatening injuries.
- You can also stand near a doorway (without a door) to make observations about your next move.
- Try to find a corner in the room that is removed from windows, glass walls, fireplaces, and other objects that may be the first to shatter upon impact.
- If possible, wear a hard hat (or a protective helmet) to avoid potential injury to the head from flying debris. If this isn’t possible, you should cover your head with your hand.
- Remain in your spot until the shaking or vibrations stop. Make sure to plan your next course of action before moving.
- Once the moving stops, you can reach for an exit. When outside, try to find an open area away from trees, walls, utility lines, and buildings – basically, anything that could topple over.
- Lie low to maintain your balance.
- Make your way to the nearest shelter if there is no open area available.
- If you’re in a car, stop your car at a safe location. Stay inside the car until the shaking stops and try to stay under window level.
- Do not stop the under bridges or overpasses – these structures could collapse.
- Turn the engine off and switch the radio to follow emergency instructions.
- If you find downed utility lines, do not approach them. Stay in your vehicle and wait for help.
- If you must leave your car, try to find an open area as soon as possible.
After an Earthquake
- Once the earthquake has passed and the shaking has stopped, you can begin damage control efforts. The priority is to look after your injuries and initiate rescue work if needed.
- Try not to move any seriously injured victims and wait for help.
- Don’t use the phone unless there is another concurrent emergency, such as a fire or flood. Look for potential hazards.
- Check for potential hazards and try to stop them from spiraling out of control (such as fire, toxic fumes, and chemical spills).
- Turn off utilities such as gas, electricity, and water to minimize further damage.
- Check your building for cracks and damage, including chimneys, roofs, and foundations.
- Get access to food and water supplies. You can find water from water heaters, canned vegetables, and toilet tanks.
- Don’t use matches or light candles inside the building.
- Turn the radio on and listen for instructions and news reports from public safety officials. Try to cooperate with public safety officials.
- Try not to use your vehicle unless there is an emergency. Doing so will cause unnecessary traffic on the road and prevent emergency vehicles from reaching their destinations (such as ambulances and fire trucks).
- If you fear that the buildings are about to collapse, set up shelter away from them.
- Cooperate with your neighbors and share resources until help arrives.
- Be prepared for any aftershocks.
- Leave written messages for loved ones and help officials.
- Wear protective gear such as gloves, heavy shoes, goggles, and other such equipment.
Earthquakes can cause a lot of devastation in a matter of seconds. However, you can still prepare for the worst and mitigate the risks to your company and staff. If your area has been hit by an earthquake, call your local 911 Restoration team to help you.
Our commercial damage restoration services in Norfolk VA are designed to help you recover from crisis and get back to business in the shortest possible time. Let us help you put the pieces back together.