To BE AWARE of what to do, how to behave when something is happening might be always advantage. It means to be SMART. I went for an „Earthquake preparedness“ by AKUT Saturday 15th October. Feel this might be of some use for you. Check it. Pass it on your friends. Laugh at me. Love you! That´s why this shortcut is done.
What is AKUT? AKUT is NGO with 26 teams, which can operate all over Turkey and abroad (part of Insarag, UN). What do they do? 24/7 helping and saving lives in their free time. By the Black Sea´s traffic accidents, saving adrenaline sport riskers (Antalya), searching for lost people (at forests or with Alzheimer), helping by water related disasters, earthquakes, etc. I would love to thank Mr. Saydun Gökşin, the AKUT´s General Secretary, for this seminar and checking my blog´s contribution. Having seen their cat Richter… I feel they are not only philanthropists, but very kind people. This is my way appreciating what they do. Please, if you find another one, do. Their motto: „because we love you“ means a lot. One day might mean the most! So now you know, all of us loving you, go through it.
The disaster basics:
1) Know your house and surroundings well. Forget you are foreigner in Turkey. Walk around, check streets, stairs, pharmacies. Observe. Ask your kapici or the flat owner, whether your building has a shelter? Find a place with no trees, walls, electricity (or with the minimum of it) to set the FAMILY/FRIENDS/COLLEAGUES/NEIGHBOURS meeting point. Think about 2 WAYS how to get there.
2) Get familiar with the house. How much do you know about the structure/quality? Do you know, which materials is it built out? How old the building is? Is the house standing on mud or rock? What are the electricity/water supply/gas conditions? Do not hesitate to pay extras for fixing furniture, lights, lamps, safety lockers (cupboards). Those having children might know how to protect them in general, think about disasters in the same way… Do you have house insurance?
3) Walk around your flat and point out weak places (lights, cupboards, doors, windows, heavy paintings, etc). The matter is to have good luck and some kind of home disaster plan. The maximum you can do is to know, where you can switch off all supplies (gas, electricity, water) and to hide yourself and the family. The magical shape is triangle (for earthquake). Might by a place beside your bed (with good frame, not MDF one) or by the dining table. Whatever can create the triangle means you have higher chance to be found later by rescuers, as they are checking those significant markers of survivors… TRIANGLE! Think about your children´s age. Can they cooperate easily? OR you have to care and carry them? You can play a „rescue“ plan game twice a year. Remember panic is not helping. PREPARE – review the home disaster plan, update it with each moving, practice 2x a year.
4) What is the survival kit? American´s might know about it (hurricanes, etc). Us Europeans might not. Do you have your medicine at home? Is it enough to survive on it for some time? Minimum is 72 hours. The more the better. Do you have a lamp? Do you have an easy access to water? Do you have your vital document copies? Do you have your valuables easy-to-take packages? Leave some cash at home. ATM´s might not work.
5) Save all important numbers to all your phones. Police/firemen/emergency/etc. Leave a message to your friend living outside the city. Call him/her if needed and inform about who is NOT at the meeting point. Check your children´s school emergency plan? Ask what to do when the child at school or bus service. Turkish mobile network is improving. So just have numbers you need saved.
6) Help people around you, stay calm, try to find out who did not come to the meeting point, before calling to the help. Hospitals, schools and shopping centres might be the first place where the help is going to. 72 hours to get help. The municipality needs other cities´ help. You might not be able to come back home (gas explosions, building structure damages, etc.). Good if you can have a first aid kit and the survival kit in your car or at the shelter.
7) Take care about what is above. Roofs, cables, trees, minarets, chimneys… If you can go out for the safe place (out of home, car), do it. If there is a lot of stuff falling, stay inside your home triangle, embryo positioned. Do not use elevators. Take care of stairs. If you are close the entrance, escape OUT, if not, stay home.
8) Be able to give first aid. 55% of after-deaths are caused by respiration problems. Just tilt the head back when the person is lying on its back. To do so we place cushioning material under the back of the neck so that the head falls back, this will automatically free the airway. First solve the breathing issues, bleeding (bandage) and other serious cases.
9) Install smoke alarms at home, check the heaters, gas bombs, how is the water tank fixed… Better to fix flexible.
10) Know there is always a disaster management in Turkey. Know there is AKUT. Know there are many people around you, who did not read this text. Help them BEFORE, DURING and AFTER. Not necessarily by the earthquake, this might be suitable for manmade cases or technological ones (other natural of course too).
Important links to check further:
Iris Seismic Monitor: http://www.iris.edu/seismon/
Earthquake Hazard Map Istanbul: http://www.ibb.gov.tr/en-US/SubSites/IstanbulEarthquake/Pages/EarthquakeRiskMaps.aspx
Red cross/Red Crescent: http://www.ifrc.org/