Following close on the heels of the Christchurch quake 2 weeks ago, the current disaster in Sendai,Japan is far more severe especially since the quake started on the sea-bed which resulted in a tsunami (giant forceful waves) wreaking probably more damage than the quake itself.
While it is reasonable to assume that most will panic and try to run for open space (if time permits) in the event of a quake, most international rescue outfits recommend that, in the event of a quake, people should adopt the traditional drop, cover and hold on tactic. In fact, the Red Cross strongly advises not to try to move (that is, escape) during the shaking of an earthquake. The more and the longer distance that someone tries to move, the more likely they are to become injured by falling or flying debris, or by tripping, falling, or getting cut by damaged floors, walls, and items in the path of escape.
What the drop, cover and hold on tactic basically means is that DROP to the floor, Take COVER under a sturdy desk or table(if no table- cover your head with your arms), HOLD ON to the table/desk- even if it moves! …
In the last decade, another method made the rounds that purportedly was more effective. This is the triangle of life, widely promoted by self-proclaimed earthquake expert Doug Copp. This method proposed that one should not shelter under tables but rather next to it because tables and other solid items will collapse and provide support for an open space just next to it.
More aptly, preventive measures form the mainstay of earthquake safety measures and I was quite taken up by the colorful booklet issued by the Tokyo city authorities on 10 Ways To Prepare For an Earthquake., which goes to show the level of preparedness the Japanese have against natural disasters.
Our sympathies go to Japan and her people and the next few weeks will test the resoluteness of the Japanese character as well as the willingness of the international community to assist.