West Jaintia Hills Police

Government of Meghalaya

Mission Statement

What is an earthquake?
An earthquake is a sudden tremor or movement of the earth’s crust, which originates naturally at or below the surface. Vibrations or shakings in the earth’s crust are generally caused by sudden tectonic movements or volcanic eruptions. Earthquakes may also be induced by human activity, such as the removal of materials from the earth’s crust or atomic explosions.
What causes an earthquake?

1. Tectonic movement- earthquake can be triggered by tectonic activity along the plate boundaries and fault. An earthquake of 9.3 magnitude at the west coast of northern Sumatra on 26 December 2004, was caused by the thrust –faulting on the interface of the India and the Burma plates.

2. Volcanic eruptions- earthquake can be linked to an explosive volcanic eruption. In 1833 an earthquake generated by the eruption of the Krakatau Volcano at the straight of Sunda between Java and Sumatra Islands triggered at least three tsunami waves that killed 36,000 people.

3. Human activities- Earthquake can be generated by human activities. Shock waves caused by the French nuclear tests generated some tremors in the past.

Effects of earthquakes
1. Destruction of buildings, infrastructures
2. Human casualties
3. Can generate tsunami

How do I protect myself in an earthquake?

Things to do before an earthquake occurs

• At home, talk about earthquakes or possible disasters. Make sure every colleague/family member knows how to respond in case of an earthquake.

• Know the safe spots in each room (under a sturdy table or desks, against the interior wall or a column, or under door frame etc.)

• Identify the safest and nearest place from your house.

• Practice DROP, COVER and HOLD in each safe spot. Drop under a sturdy table or desk, hold on to its leg, and protect your eyes by pressing your face against your arms. Practicing will make these actions an automatic response. When there is an emergency, many people hesitate, forgetting what they are supposed to do. Responding quickly and automatically will help to protect you from injury.

• Know the danger spots- near windows, mirrors, hanging objects, tall unsecured furniture, and shelves holding heavy objects.

• Locate safe places outdoors- In an open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electric post and lines and overpasses.

• Locate gas, water, and electricity installations, and periodically check that they are in good condition. Use accessories with flexible connections, and make sure you know how to disconnect them. • Identify exits and alternative exits- always know all the possible ways to leave your house and work place in emergency situations. Practice getting out of your home or building, check and see if he planned exits are clear of obstacles.

• Keep in a handy place: emergency telephone numbers, first aid box, a portable radio, and torch with batteries.

• Always carry your I.D.

• Know the location of shut off valves for water, gas and electricity. Learn how to operate those valves. • Learn first aid.

• Develop an emergency communication plan- in case family members are not together during the earthquake, that is, when adults are at work and children are at school.

• Make the home a safe place by doing the following: - Secure heavy furnishing such as cup boards and book cases against walls to prevent them from falling over and injuring persons. - Keep large, heavy objects and breakables on lower shelves to prevent you from serious injuries caused by falling objects. - Store all flammables or hazardous liquids outside the house, in their proper containers, away from structures since earthquakes may trigger fires or explosions within the building. - Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit. - Pull down and close shutters or draw curtains, as protection from flying glass, especially for windows that are near the bed in the event of an earthquake occurring at night and people are asleep.

• Ensure that a stock of appropriate supply is kept: food and drinking water, first aid kit and essential medicine, flash light with extra batteries, portable radio with extra batteries. Radio will be the best source of information following the earthquake especially when the electricity power is out.

Things to do during an earthquake

• Stay calm. If you are indoors, stay indoors. If you are outdoors, stay outdoors. Many injuries occur as people enter or leave buildings.

• If you are inside, move away from windows, doors, tall cabinets, breakables or heavy objects that could fall. Take cover under a desk or sturdy table and hold on or stay against and interior wall or column. Remember that most fatal injuries are head wounds, therefore, DROP, COVER and HOLD.

• If you must leave a building, do so in an orderly manner. Rushing to get out can result in injuries. Do not use the elevator. As a precaution against possible fires, use the stairs. • If you are outdoors, move to a clear area away from the trees, signs, buildings, electrical wires and poles. DROP and COVER your head until the shaking stops.

• If you are in a vehicle, stop and remain inside until the shaking stops. Avoid buildings, overpasses, bridges, power lines and roads beside ravines and cliffs in which landslides may occur. Be cautious of possible road damage while you proceed.

• If you are in a building; once earthquake is over, leave the building. Remember: do

What is a flood?
Floods occur when large amount of water overflows over dry land. They may result from prolonged or very heavy rainfall, severe thunderstorms, monsoon rains, or tropical cyclones. People, who live near rivers, or in low-lying coastal areas, live with the greatest threat of floods. Common types of flooding
1. Slow onset floods
2. Rapid onset floods
3. Flash floods

Flood warnings

Usually, a reasonable warning period is possible except in case of flash floods. Common terms used by the meteorological department to describe the warnings for flooding are as: 1. Minor flooding: Causes inconvenience, closing small roads and low-level bridges. 2. Moderate Flooding: Low-lying areas inundated, requiring removal of stock, equipment and evacuation of isolated homes. Main road and rail bridges may be covered. 3. Major flooding: Higher areas inundated, towns and properties isolated, and extensive damage. 4. Local flooding: Intense rainfall, some high run-off, but usually no flooding in main streams; 5. Significant river rises: This warning is issued if it is not certain that the initial flood levels will be exceeded in the main streams. It makes people aware that appreciable rises are expected.

Before a Flood
To prepare for a flood, you should: • Know your local flood history.

• Find out from local government agencies or experts at what river height you are unsafe.

• Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.

• Find out the evacuation route. • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.

• Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.

• Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building.

• Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.

During a Flood If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

• Listen to the radio or television for information.

• Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

• Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following: • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.

• Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

• Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

• Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. Driving Flood Facts

The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:
• Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. • A foot of water will float many vehicles. • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including pickups. After a Flood

The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:

• Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.

• Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.

• Avoid moving water.

• Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.

• Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.

• Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.

• Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.

• Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.

• Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.

• Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.