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Chapter 5: Preparedness > Facts and Fiction - Pg. 302

302 INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT Media and Community Education Ideas l Ask your community to adopt up-to-date building codes. Building codes are the public's first line of defense against earthquakes. National model building codes are available to communities and states. These codes identify construction techniques for buildings that help them withstand earthquakes without collapsing and killing people. Codes are updated regularly to make use of information learned from recent damaging earthquakes, so adopting and enforcing up-to-date codes are essential. If your area is at risk from earthquakes, ask your local newspaper or radio or television station to l · Present information about how to respond if an earthquake occurs. · Do a series on locating hazards in homes, workplaces, daycare centers, schools, etc. · Provide tips on how to conduct earthquake drills. · Run interviews with representatives of the gas, electric, and water companies about how individuals should prepare for an earthquake. Help the reporters to localize the information by providing them with the local emergency tele- phone number for the fire, police, and emergency medical services departments (usually 9-1-1) and emergency numbers for the local utilities and hospitals. Also provide the business telephone numbers for the local emergency management office, local American Red Cross chapter, and state geological survey or department of natural resources. Work with officials of the local fire, police, and emergency medical services departments; utili- ties; hospitals; emergency management office; and American Red Cross chapter to prepare and dissem- inate guidelines for people with mobility impairments about what to do if they have to evacuate. Facts and Fiction Fiction: During an earthquake, you should get into a doorway for protection. Facts: In modern homes, doorways are no stronger than any other parts of the structure and usually have doors that will swing and can injure you. During an earthquake, you should get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on. Fiction: During an earthquake, the earth cracks open and people, cars, and animals can fall into those cracks. Facts: The earth does not crack open like the Grand Canyon. The earth moves and rumbles and, during that movement, small cracks can form. The usual displacements of the earth during an earthquake are caused by up-and-down movements, so shifts in the height of the soil are more likely than chasm-like cracks. Fiction: Animals can sense earthquakes and give advance warning. Facts: Animals may be able to sense the first low-frequency waves of an earthquake that occurs deep within the earth, but the damage-causing primary and secondary waves follow just seconds behind. Animals do not make good earthquake warning devices. Fiction: Big earthquakes always happen in the early morning. Facts: Several recent damaging earthquakes have occurred in the early morning, so many people believe that all big earthquakes happen then. In fact, earthquakes occur at all times of day. The 1933 Long Beach earthquake was at 5:54 p.m. and the 1940 Imperial Valley event was at 9:36 p.m. More recently, the 1989 Loma Prieta event was at 5:02 p.m.