Earthquakes: how to behave correctly

Anyone planning a trip should find out whether the destination country is at risk of earthquakes. The German Research Center for Geosciences explains how to behave during and after an earthquake.

Buildings damaged by earthquakes should only be entered when accompanied by rescue workers and wearing a safety helmet

Athens or even Istanbul are considered earthquake risk areas. The German Research Center for Geosciences explains what you should do in the event of an earthquake.

Place of refuge: stable table or bed

If you are in a building and you are not standing right next to the first floor exit, you should not try to leave the building during an earthquake. You could be injured by falling objects or broken glass. A suitable place of refuge can be found under a stable table or bed. Hold on to this for as long as the shaking lasts – even if the furniture is moving.

Important: Protect your head with your arms

Even a stable door frame offers refuge. Or lie down on the floor next to a load-bearing interior wall – as far away from windows as possible – and protect your head and face with folded arms. An elevator must not be used during an earthquake. It could be damaged during the quake and get stuck.

Outside: Safe in an open space

If you are outdoors during the quake, the safest place to be is a clear open space – away from buildings, trees or streetlights. The same applies to motorists in their cars. It is best for drivers to stay in their cars as long as the tremors continue. Landslides or rockfall threaten on steep slopes.

Holidaymakers: seek shelter in the interior of the country

If the earth quakes in flat coastal regions, vacationers should run inland and, if possible, to an elevated point. An earthquake can trigger high sea waves (tsunamis) and cause widespread flooding.

Earthquake: What to consider afterwards

After a severe earthquake, civil protection issues instructions on how to behave. You can follow these reports on the radio, informs the German Research Center for Geosciences. Since aftershocks are often to be expected after an earthquake, those affected should be very careful – often the aftershocks first cause already damaged buildings to collapse.

Check on your neighbors after an earthquake and provide first aid if possible – under no circumstances should you put yourself in danger and enter unsecured buildings.

On return: check lines

Earthquakes can also occur in some parts of Germany. Affected people should also follow the tips of the Geo Research Center here. In general, be very alert when returning to your house – or apartment – after an earthquake. The heaters, for example, should be turned off, the main gas tap closed, if you’re not sure whether the pipes might have been damaged – listen for noises and the smell of gas.

By the way: If you want to find out which parts of the world are particularly at risk from earthquakes, you can do so on the Global Seismic Hazard Map.

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