Plate Tectonic - Hazards (6)
Post Lab 

  • Analyzing what to do in case of an earthquake.
  • Preparing for an earthquake.
  • disaster
  • earthquake hazard
  • worksheet

Students write an essay evaluating the safety of their homes.

Earthquake damage in homes in Peru.


There are no rules which can eliminate all earthquake danger. However, damage and injury can be greatly reduced by following common sense. The following excerpt is from a U.S. Geological Survey publication, which can help direct your students on what to do after an earthquake.

  • Check for injuries to your family, to those around you, and others in your neighborhood. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Check for fires or fire hazards.
  • Wear shoes in all areas near debris or broken glass.
  • Check utility lines and appliances for damage. If gas leaks exist, shut off the main gas valve. Shut off electrical power if there is damage to your house wiring. Report damage to the appropriate utility companies and follow their instructions. Do not use matches, lighters, or open-flame appliances until you are sure that there are no gas leaks. Do not operate electrical switches or appliances if gas leaks are suspected.
  • Avoid downed power lines or objects touched by the downed wires.
  • Immediately clean up spilled medicines, drugs, and other potentially harmful materials.
  • Obtain emergency water from water heaters, toilets tanks, melted ice cubes, and canned vegetables if the water is off.
  • Check to see that sewage lines are intact before permitting continued flushing of toilets.
  • Do not eat or drink anything from open containers near shattered glass. Liquids may be strained through a clean handkerchief or cloth if danger of glass contamination exists.
  • Check you freezer and plan meals to use foods which will spoil quickly if the power is shut off.
  • Use outdoor charcoal broilers for emergency use.
  • Do not use your telephone except for genuine emergency calls. Turn on your radio for damage reports and information.
  • Check your chimney over its entire length for cracks and damage, particularly in the attic and at the roof line. Unnoticed damage can lead to a fire. The initial check should be made from a distance. Approach chimneys with caution.
  • Check closets and storage shelf areas. Open closet and cupboard doors carefully and watch for objects falling from shelves.
  • Do not spread rumors. They often do great harm after disasters.
  • Do not go sightseeing, particularly in beach and waterfront areas, where seismic sea waves may strike. Keep the streets clear for passage of emergency vehicles.
  • Be prepared for additional earthquake shocks called "aftershocks." Although most of these are smaller than the main shock, some many be large enough to cause additional damage.
  • Respond to requests for help from police, fire fighters, civil defense, and relief organizations, but do not go into damaged areas unless your help has been requested. Cooperate fully with public safety officials. In some areas, you may be arrested for getting in the way of disaster operations.
  1. Read the list of post earthquake actions to the class.
  2. Have the students write an essay, as a homework assignment, on what they would do at home after a big earthquake. You might want to give them the lead sentence, "It was a hot, blistering day when the big earthquake occurred. I was home..."
  3. Have the students read their essays. Have them discuss whether good procedures were followed. Do not just give the students your evaluation, but have other students analyze the logic. This helps to reinforce the logic of responding to a disaster.
  4. Please remember that the answers may vary for different situations. Students should be taught to THINK about the hazards and react accordingly...not to just "duck" and "cover."

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