Earthquakes are sudden vibrations that shake the earth surface, causing landslides, surface cracks, and building tremor.
Lebanon is located alongside a basic geological fault that cuts through the middle of the Lebanese territories. Known as the Dead Sea Rift, the fault line runs over 1000 km long from the Dead Sea to the Anatolian heights in Southern Turkey and resulted in some of the most terrible seismic events in the Middle East. It fans into a series of sub-fault lines within Lebanon known as the Roum, Hasbayya, Yammouneh, Rachayya and Serghaya fault lines. The most dangerous fault is the Yammouneh which bisects the Lebanese areas from south to north alongside the western boarders of the Bekaa Valley. Sea fault lines are present along the Lebanese waters facing the Damour-Batroun coast at a distance of 10 to 30km away from the coastline. These are extremely dangerous and are considered permanent precursors of seismic movements.
Preparing for the prevention of seismic risk:
Before an earthquake:
Determine and treat risks at home:
• Do not hang or attach heavy objects over beds, sofas, or any place you may be seated
• Stay away from dangerous places in the house such as windows, mirrors, hanging objects, high furniture. The living room (lobby) may be one of the safest places in case it is not overloaded with furniture, while the kitchen is one of the most dangerous places at home.
• Keep heavy and breakable objects on low shelves.
• Tightly fix the water heater in the bathroom
• Place detergents, combustible substances, or any other hazardous materials and away from butane/gas in isolated areas, close to the ground in storage or in low shelves.
Set up a home emergency plan
• Talk with your family about the phenomenon of earthquakes, and discussed with them what to do during and after the earthquake.
• Identify safe areas in the house to take cover when you feel an earthquake (next to the inner walls).
• Plan where family members will meet after the disaster.
• Mount smoke detectors, and make sure it works every month.
• Learn first aid and fire suppression by following training sessions held by the Civil Defense and Lebanese Red Cross.
• Have a fire extinguisher at home and learn how to use it.
• Learn how to separate gas, water and electricity.
• Keep important papers in a safe place that you can refer to it when necessary. • Keep a list of the necessary phone numbers.
• Hold earthquake drills with your 7family members including training to meet in safe areas.
Prepare your emergency kit:
Every family should have an emergency kit at hand to support survival in the event of a disaster. A prototype emergency kit contains material and equipment that will insure the survival of 3- 4 persons for 3 days without shelter. (for more information refer to the emergency kit section)
Behavioral considerations during an earthquake event
If you are indoors
Bend under a strong desk or table, and hold on to one of its foundations. If you do not find a table, sit near the wall away from risk elements, especially furniture and equipment that might fall down such windows and furniture and other heavy objects that can be reversed. Stay sheltered until the shaking stops, and be prepared for the possibility of the occurrence of small earthquakes later.
If you have to leave the house / building
Exit by stairs, never use elevators!
In case you are out on the streets:
• Run to open yards/parks away from buildings and bridges.
• Stay away from electric poles
In case you are next to a building
• Head towards the nearest building entrance to avoid falling objects
In case you are driving:
• Pull over and park apart from electric poles, trees, and bridges. Stay inside your car until the earthquake ends.
If you are at the beach
Stay away from the sea and head towards higher places
What to do after an earthquake
• Make sure you are safe before helping others
• Never use combustible materials since aftershocks may take place and cause hazardous or gaseous leakages
• Cover the injured with blankets or extra clothing.
• Inspect people around you and make first aid where necessary
• Avoid getting close to shattered glass and windows.
• Make sure there is no fire.
• Examine gas lines, water and electricity and shut them down. If there was a gas leak, do not use matches, electric light, open the doors and windows and leave the place immediately.
• Leave you building without rushing.
• If you see broken electrical wires, do not touch them, directly call the electricity company.
• Be prepared for the possibility of the occurrence of subsequent aftershocks of the earthquake.