Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fire accidents and Fire Control steps

In my earlier post dated 25.5.2012 , I have written about the origin and effects of Earthquakes and the Steps to be taken during earthquakes with the link given below:

In this post, I have covered about Fire accidents and steps to be taken to control fire:

Fire in another disaster which occurs every day in some place and causes severe consequences  in respect of loss of life and loss of properties etc. In many Fire disaster cases, it is always reported that the fire has occurred due to negligence of the occupants of the building in strictly following the steps required to avoid such disasters. In many cases , the Fire disaster takes place in high raised Apartments, Buildings without fire fighting equipment, buildings with improper/damaged electric wire connections etc and by the time the Fire men arrives most of the materials in the building is either completely or partly bunt out and in many cases loss of life of human beings and animals also happen.  

In this post, I have covered  about the causes of fire disasters and the steps to be taken to avoid to control the fire for creating awareness among the public especially for persons living in high raised apartments and persons working in Computerised environment.

Causes of fire accidents

  •   Carelessly discarded smoking materials
  •   Faulty electrical equipment/wiring
  •   Misuse of different types of heaters
  •   Over heating of equipment
  •   Spontaneous combustion (Direct Heat)
  •   Welding and cutting equipment
  •   Careless disposal of waste papers, combustible material etc.
  •   Casual attitude of workers & employees in the pantry and canteens
  •   Ignorance of Fire safety/Prevention.

Steps to be taken for avoid/control Fire accidents:

  • Ø  Functioning and operation of fire safety devices like Fire Extinguisher has to be explained to the residents of high raised buildings/employees  in offices through periodical training.
                                                    Fire Extinguisher
  • Ø  Comprehensive fire & emergency instructions have to be displayed at a prominent location.
Ø  Fire alarm system is to be installed.

Ø  Smoke detectors are to be provided in the server room and other areas of computer installations and are tested regularly to ensure their working condition.

                                              Smoke Detector

Ø  An evacuation plan is to be documented and rehearsed at regular intervals for taking immediate action in case of outbreak of fire for e.g., in multi storied buildings and commercial complexes.
Ø  Emergency exits have to be provided in the building with prominent sign boards above the exits for e.g., in multi storied buildings and commercial complexes.

   Preventive Measures to protect the Computer Systems from fire:

a.  Combustible materials and computer supplies such as stationery should not be kept inside the server room – should be kept at a safe distance.

b.   Electricity supply to systems must be wired with standard cabling, sealed with proper grounding / earthing. All loose ends in wires should be covered with seals or with insulated tapes. All electrical cables should be housed in conduits duly fastened and loose wires should not be hanging. Temporary wiring is prone to hazards and should not be allowed. Electrical cables used for wiring to be fire proof or fire retardant.

     All Electrical Installations, fittings, cables etc. have to be tested for preventing electrical short circuits once in three months. To confirm the same, the services of a qualified electrician can be availed. Use of extension boards must be avoided. Only three pin plugs should be used. Electrical components should be with BIS certification.

c. Electrical installations / plug points intended for computer systems should not be used for other electrical equipments / devices like fans, emergency lights etc and no extra load over the capacity should be added in UPS connections.

 d.UPS and batteries must be kept outside the server rooms in a separate enclosure.     


   Power supply must be routed through UPS with necessary arrangement for automatic switchover to UPS in the case of power failure. Where there is a three-phase connection, UPS with Automatic Phase Selector is to be provided. 
     Supply to UPS must be direct from the main supply. The power supply through UPS must be tested periodically for input, output, voltage and load.

e.    Wherever systems are exposed to high voltage fluctuations, suitable voltage stabilizers may be installed. The use of spike busters or circuit breakers may also be explored depending upon the nature of voltage fluctuation

f.      System rooms must have only essential computer items like servers, routers, modems. Peripheral devices such as printers etc should not be kept inside the server room. Inflammable materials must not be kept near the computer site. 

g.     Portable Fire Extinguishers must be installed at proximate places in the branch and all the staff members must be trained to operate the same.  The fire extinguishers must be serviced at periodical intervals and the date on which the last servicing activity was carried out indicated suitably on the equipment.

h.   All systems including computers, accessories, networking equipments, AC, UPS etc must be properly insured for full value covering all natural events and theft and must include the Electronic Equipment Policy clauses also. Wherever the systems are under warranty or AMC, the terms of contract must be properly complied with. 

i.      Periodic Fire fighting drills must be conducted at all strategic locations and teams to handle such occurrences must be formed besides imparting general knowledge and awareness to the people present.

j.      Contact numbers of staff must be made available with important customers in the neighbourhood for contact in case of exigency. The contact numbers of important service personnel viz., Fire Service Station, Police Station, Electricity Helpline, hospitals must be prominently displayed . 


All residents in the buildings/staff in offices to  be trained in taking appropriate action to be taken for emergencies like a fire breakout.  

The training will cover areas like:

  • Raising alarm;
  • Emergency measures;
  • Using fire-fighting equipment;
  • Evacuation procedures etc.
  • Periodic drills (at least once every year) to  be conducted to maintain the state of readiness among the staff in fighting emergencies and disasters and the details of the training conducted along with list of participants to be kept.

Fire safety checklist

  • Keep the area clean
  • Watch the storing systems
  • Ensure no inflammable fuel around the switch boards
  • Proper and identifiable circuit breakers
  • Proper marking of exit routes and doors
  • Unobstructed exit routes and doors
  • Proper size of exit points
  • Opening system of emergency/fire exists
  • Location of fire extinguishers


ü  Raise alarm (short fire-fire).  Inform one and all
ü  Press fire alarm button by breaking the glass
ü  Call administration, reception and security
ü  Keep to the right hand of staircases and in passageways
ü  Move any obstructions to one side
ü  Shut off power
ü  Use fire extinguisher if time permits
ü  Work as per the Evacuation plan.
ü  Crawl and evacuate heat smoke and gas will be less at lower levels
ü  Use wet handkerchief to cover face and nose
ü  Report to assembly area for head count
ü  Make sure the door closes tightly behind you
ü  If you need assistance with children, disabled elderly people. Please advise security personnel.
ü  Continue to leave the building even if the fire alarm stops
ü  Once outside the building give any information about those still inside to the fire fighting staff/security staff
ü  In case trapped – shout for help


ý  Do not panic – keep cool – think.
ý  Do not exert – you will inhale excessive smoke
ý  Do not go to washroom/cloak room
ý  Do not use elevator/lifts on the event of a fire.  Proceed to the Staircase and move down
ý  Do not waste valuable time by gathering personal belongings/valuables
ý  Avoid touching any lights, fans or electrical fittings
ý  Do not congregate in the lobby areas or just outside of the exit doors
ý  Do not obstruct the entrance of the building
ý  Do not attempt to jump out of a window or to climb onto ledges
ý  Do not break windows on upper floors unless vital for survival because glass may injure those below
ý  The lift doors should not be opened by force

A Message by George Carlin


George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comediansocial criticsatiristactor and writer/author, who won fiveGrammy Awards for his comedy albums.
Carlin was noted for his black humor as well as his thoughts on politics, the English languagepsychologyreligion, and various taboo subjects. Carlin and his "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a narrow 5–4 decision by the justices affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves.
The first of his fourteen stand-up comedy specials for HBO was filmed in 1977. In 1988, the 1990s and 2000s, Carlin's routines focused on socio-cultural criticism of modern American society. He often commented on contemporary political issues in the United States and satirized the excesses of American culture. His final HBO special, It's Bad for Ya, was filmed less than four months before his death.
In 2004, Carlin placed second on the Comedy Central list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time, ahead of Lenny Bruce and behind Richard Pryor.[23]He was a frequent performer and guest host on The Tonight Show during the three-decade Johnny Carson era, and hosted the first episode of Saturday Night Live. In 2008, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Isn't it amazing that George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent...and so very appropriate. 
"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways 
, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgement, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. 

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. 
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. 
It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. 
A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete... 

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

  • Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
  • Remember, to say, ' I love you ' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
  • Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
  • Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Look deeply into LOGOS

 Description: cid:000901ccf541$3744b1f0$990a60c0@DBNUser10  
 Do you see the arrow between the “E” and “x”?  I had never noticed this before.

Description: cid:000a01ccf541$3744b1f0$990a60c0@DBNUser10  
2nd and 3rd “t’s” are two people sharing a tortilla over a bowl of salsa.

Description: cid:000b01ccf541$3744b1f0$990a60c0@DBNUser10
Probably the world’s most famous bike race. The “R” in “Tour” is a cyclist – yellow circle front wheel of bicycle.

   Description: cid:000c01ccf541$3744b1f0$990a60c0@DBNUser10
Arrow probably means Amazon has everything from A to Z?

Description: cid:000d01ccf541$3744b1f0$990a60c0@DBNUser10 
There is a sideways chocolate kiss between “K” and “I”.

Description: cid:000e01ccf541$3744b1f0$990a60c0@DBNUser10 
There is a bear if you look closely at image of Matterhorn. Toblerone chocolate bars originated in Berne,Switzerland whose symbol is the bear. 
See “31” embedded in the “B R”??  Thirty one-derful flavors!!!

Description: cid:001001ccf541$3744b1f0$990a60c0@DBNUser10

Northwest Airlines. Circle is a compass. Guess which direction the arrow in upper left corner (or beginning of “W”) is pointing?      

See the gorilla and lioness?


Smiley face is also a “g” as in “goodwill”.


Used to be the emblem for the Milwaukee Brewers.  Baseball glove forms an “M” and a “B”.
 Logo was designed by a college art student. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Getting the Best out of Life - Lee Kuan Yew

I am glad to post this Excellent Article by "Lee Kuan Yew", former prime minister of Singapore on ........

                          "Getting Best of LIFE" 

which must be read by everyone who is worrying about aging:

"MY CONCERN today is, what is it I can tell you which can add to your knowledge about aging and what aging societies can do.
You know more about this subject than I do. A lot of it is out in the media, Internet and books. So I thought the best way would be to take a personal standpoint and tell you how I approach this question of aging.

If I cast my mind back, I can see turningpoints in my physical and mental health. You know, when you’re young, I didn’t bother, assumed good health was God-given and would always be there.
When I was about 57 that was – I was about 34, we were competing in elections, and I was really fond of drinking beer and smoking.  And after the election campaign, in Victoria Memorial Hall – we had won the election, the City Council election – I couldn’t thank the voters because I had lost my voice. I’d been smoking furiously. I’d take a packet of 10 to deceive myself, but I’d run through the packet just sitting on the stage, watching the crowd, getting the feeling, the mood before I speak.
In other words, there were three speeches a night. Three speeches a night, 30 cigarettes, a lot of beer after that, and the voice was gone. I remember I had a case in Kuching, Sarawak . So I took the flight and I felt awful. I had to make up my mind whether I was going to be an effective campaigner and a lawyer, in which case I cannot destroy my voice, and I can’t go on.

So I stopped smoking. It was a tremendous deprivation because I was addicted to it. And I used to wake up dreaming…the nightmare was I resumed smoking.

But I made a choice and said, if I continue this, I will not be able to do my job. I didn’t know anything about cancer of the throat, or oesophagus or the lungs, etc. But it turned out it had many other deleterious effects. Strangely enough after that, I became very allergic, hyper-allergic to smoking, so much so that I would plead with my Cabinet ministers not to smoke in the Cabinet room. You want to smoke, please go out, because I am allergic.

Then one day I was at the home of my colleague, Mr Rajaratnam, meeting foreign correspondents including some from the London Times and they took a  
picture of me and I had a big belly like that (puts his hands in front of his belly), a beer belly. I felt no, no, this will not do. So I started playing more golf, hit hundreds of balls on the practice tee. But this didn’t go down. There was only one way it could go down: consume less, burn up more.

Another turning point came in 1976, after the general election – I was feeling tired. I was breathing deeply at the Istana, on the lawns.
My daughter, who at that time just graduating as a doctor, said: ‘What are you trying to do?’ I said: ‘I feel an effort to breathe in more oxygen.’ She said: ‘Don’t play golf. Run. Aerobics..’ So she gave me a book , quite a famous book and, then, very current in America on how you score aerobic points swimming, running, whatever it is, cycling.

I looked at it sceptically. I wasn’t very keen on running. I was keen on golf. So I said, ‘Let’s try’. So in-between golf shots while playing on my own, sometimes nine holes at the Istana, I would try and walk fast between shots. Then I began to run between shots. And I felt better. After a while, I said: ‘Okay, after my golf, I run.’ And after a few years, I said: ‘Golf takes so long. The running takes 15 minutes. Let’s cut out the golf and let’s run.’

I think the most important thing in aging is you got to understand yourself. And the knowledge now is all there. When I was growing up, the knowledge wasn’t there. I had to get the knowledge from friends, from doctors.
But perhaps the most important bit of knowledge that the doctor gave me  was one day, when I said: ‘Look,  I’m feeling slower and sluggish.’ So he gave me a medical encyclopaedia and he turned the pages to aging. I read it up and it was illuminating. A lot of it was difficult jargon but I just skimmed through to get the gist of it.

As you grow, you reach 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and then, thereafter, you are on a gradual slope down physically. Mentally, you carry on and on and on until I don’t know what age, but mathematicians will tell you that they know their best output is when they’re in their 20s and 30s when your mental energy is powerful and you haven’t lost many neurons. That’s what they tell me.
So, as you acquire more knowledge, you then craft a programme for yourself to maximise what you have. It’s just common sense. I never planned to live till 85 or 84.! I just didn’t think about it. I said: ‘Well, my mother died when she was 74, she had a stroke.. My father died when he was 94.’
But I saw him, and he lived a long life, well, maybe it was his DNA. But more than that, he swam every day and he kept himself busy.. He was working for the Shell company. He was in charge, he was a superintendent of an oil depot.
When he retired, he started becoming a salesman. So people used to tell me: ‘Your father is selling watches at BP de Silva.’ My father was then living with me. But it kept him busy. He had that routine: He meets people, he sells watches, he buys and sells all kinds of semi-precious stones, he circulates coins. And he keeps going. But at 87, 88, he fell, going down the steps from his room to the dining room, broke his arm, three months incapacitated.
Thereafter, he couldn’t go back to swimming. Then he became wheelchair-bound. Then it became a problem because my house was constructed that way. So my brother – who’s a doctor and had a flat (one-level) house – took him in. And he lived on till 94. But towards the end, he had gradual loss of mental powers.
So my calculations, I’m somewhere between 74 and 94. And I’ve reached the halfway point now. But have I? Well, 1996 when I was 73, I was cycling and I felt tightening on the neck. Oh, I must retire today. So I stopped. Next day, I returned to the bicycle. After five minutes it became worse. So I said, no, no, this is something serious, it’s got to do with the blood vessels. Rung up my doctor, who said, ‘Come tomorrow’. Went tomorrow, he checked me, and said: ‘Come back tomorrow for an angiogram.’
I said: ‘What’s that ?’ He said: ‘We’ll pump something in and we’ll see whether the coronary arteries are cleared or blocked.’ I was going to go home. But an MP who was a cardiologist happened to be around, so he came in and said: ‘What are you doing here?’ I said: ‘I’ve got this.’ He said: ‘Don’t go home. You stay here tonight. I’ve sent patients home and they never came back. Just stay here. They’ll put you on the monitor. They’ll watch your heart. And if anything, an emergency arises, they will take you straight to the theatre. You go home. You’ve got no such monitor. You may never come back.’
So I stayed there. Pumped in the dye, yes it was blocked, the left circumflex, not the critical, lead one. So that’s lucky for me. Two weeks later, I was walking around, I felt it’s coming back. Yes it has come back, it had occluded. So this time they said: ‘We’ll put in a stent.’
I’m one of the first few in Singapore to have the stent, so it was a brand new operation. Fortunately, the man who invented the stent was out here selling his stent. He was from San Jose, La Jolla something or the other. So my doctor got hold of him and he supervised the operation.  He said put the stent in. My doctor did the operation, he just watched it all and then that’s that. That was before all this problem about lining the stent to make sure that it doesn’t occlude and create a disturbance.
So at each stage, I learnt something more about myself and I stored that. I said: ‘Oh, this is now a danger point.’ So all right, cut out fats, change diet, went to see a specialist in Boston , Massachusetts General Hospital . He said: ‘Take statins.’ I said: ‘What’s that?’ He said: ‘(They) help to reduce your cholesterol.’ My doctors were concerned. They said: ‘You don’t need it. Your cholesterol levels are okay.’ Two years later, more medical evidence came out. So the doctors said: ‘Take statins.’
Had there been no angioplasty, had I not known that something was up and I cycled on, I might have gone at 74 like my mother. So I missed that decline. So next deadline: my father’s fall at 87. I’m very careful now because sometimes when I turn around too fast, I feel as if I’m going to get off balance. So my daughter, a neurologist, she took me to the NNI, there’s this nerve conduction test, put electrodes here and there.
The transmission of the messages between the feet and the brain has slowed down. So all the exercise, everything, effort put in, I’m fit, I swim, I cycle. But I can’t prevent this losing of conductivity of the nerves and this transmission. So just go slow.
So when I climb up the steps, I have no problem. When I go down the steps, I need to be sure that I’ve got something I can hang on to, just in case. So it’s a constant process of adjustment.
But I think the most important single lesson I learnt in life was that if you isolate yourself, you’re done for. The human being is a social animal – he needs stimuli, he needs to meet people, to catch up with the world.
I don’t much like travel but I travel very frequently despite the jetlag, because I get to meet people of great interest to me, who will help me in my work as chairman of our GIC. So I know, I’m on several boards  of banks, international advisory boards of banks, of oil companies and so on. And I meet them and I get to understand what’s happening in the world, what has changed since I was here one month ago, one year ago.
I go to India , I go to China. And that stimuli brings me to the world of today. I’m not living in the world, when I was active, more active 20, 30 years ago. So I tell my wife. She woke up late today. I said: ‘Never mind, you come along by 12 o’clock. I go first.’
If you sit back – because part of the ending part of the encyclopaedia which I read was very depressing – as you get old, you withdraw from everything and then all you will have is your bedroom and the photographs and the furniture that you know, and that’s your world. So if you’ve got to go to hospital, the doctor advises you to bring some photographs so that you’ll know you’re not lost in a different world, that this is like your bedroom.
I’m determined that I will not, as long as I can, to be reduced, to have my horizons closed on me like that. It is the stimuli, it is the constant interaction with people across the world that keeps me aware and alive to what’s going on and what we can do to adjust to this different world.
In other words, you must have an interest in life. If you believe that at 55, you’re retiring, you’re going to read books, play golf and drink wine, then I think you’re done for. So statistically they will show you that all the people who retire and lead sedentary lives, the pensioners die off very quickly.
So we now have a social problem with medical sciences, new procedures, new drugs, many more people are going to live long lives..
If the mindset is that when I reach retirement age 62, I’m old, I can’t work anymore, I don’t have to work, I just sit back, now is the time I’ll enjoy life, I think you’re making the biggest mistake of your life. After one month, or after two months, even if you go traveling with nothing to do, with no purpose in life, you will just degrade, you’ll go to seed.
The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge. If you’re not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.
So when I read that people believe, Singaporeans say: ‘Oh, 62 I’m retiring.’ I say to them: ‘You really want to die quickly?’ If you want to see sunrise tomorrow or sunset, you must have a reason, you must have the stimuli to keep going..’ Have a purpose driven life and finish well, my friends."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Safety steps to be taken during Earthquake

I have recently moved to Gated community apartments in OMR Road with my  as a tenant in a flat in eighth floor.Here I want to write my experience on  11th April 2012 when a powerful earthquake struck.

First let us know about how earth quakes strike the earth and its effects:

An earthquake (also known as a quaketremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. Theseismicityseismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. Earthquakes are measured using observations from seismometers

The moment magnitude is the most common scale on which earthquakes larger than approximately 5 are reported for the entire globe. The more numerous earthquakes smaller than magnitude 5 reported by national seismological observatories are measured mostly on the local magnitude scale, also referred to as the Richter scale. These two scales are numerically similar over their range of validity. Magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes are mostly almost imperceptible and magnitude 7 and over potentially cause serious damage over large areas, depending on their depth. 

The largest earthquakes in historic times have been of magnitude slightly over 9, although there is no limit to the possible magnitude. The most recent large earthquake of magnitude 9.0 or larger was a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan in 2011 (as of March 2011), and it was the largest Japanese earthquake since records began. Intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale. The shallower an earthquake, the more damage to structures it causes, all else being equal.
At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and sometimes displacement of the ground. 
When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a tsunami. Earthquakes can also trigger landslides, and occasionally volcanic activity.
In its most general sense, the word earthquake is used to describe any seismic event — whether natural or caused by humans — that generates seismic waves. 
Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults, but also by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests. An earthquake's point of initial rupture is called its focus or hypocenter. The epicenter is the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter.

Effects of earthquakes

The effects of earthquakes include, but are not limited to, the following:

Shaking and ground rupture

Specific local geological, geomorphological, and geostructural features can induce high levels of shaking on the ground surface even from low-intensity earthquakes. This effect is called site or local amplification. It is principally due to the transfer of the seismic motion from hard deep soils to soft superficial soils and to effects of seismic energy focalization owing to typical geometrical setting of the deposits.
Shaking and ground rupture are the main effects created by earthquakes, principally resulting in more or less severe damage to buildings and other rigid structures. 

The severity of the local effects depends on the complex combination of the earthquake magnitude, the distance from the epicenter, and the local geological and geomorphological conditions, which may amplify or reduce wave propagation.The ground-shaking is measured by ground acceleration.
Ground rupture is a visible breaking and displacement of the Earth's surface along the trace of the fault, which may be of the order of several metres in the case of major earthquakes. 
Ground rupture is a major risk for large engineering structures such as dams, bridges and nuclear power stations and requires careful mapping of existing faults to identify any which are likely to break the ground surface within the life of the structure.

Landslides and avalanches

Earthquakes, along with severe storms, volcanic activity, coastal wave attack, and wildfires, can produce slope instability leading to landslides, a major geological hazard. Landslide danger may persist while emergency personnel are attempting rescue.


Earthquakes can cause fires by damaging electrical power or gas lines. In the event of water mains rupturing and a loss of pressure, it may also become difficult to stop the spread of a fire once it has started. For example, more deaths in the 1906 San Francisco earth quake were caused by fire than by the earthquake itself.

Soil liquefaction
Soil liquefaction occurs when, because of the shaking, water-saturated granular material (such as sand) temporarily loses its strength and transforms from a solid to a liquid. Soil liquefaction may cause rigid structures, like buildings and bridges, to tilt or sink into the liquefied deposits. This can be a devastating effect of earthquakes. For example, in the 1964 Alaska earthquake, soil liquefaction caused many buildings to sink into the ground, eventually collapsing upon themselves.


The tsunami of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
A large ferry boat rests inland amidst destroyed houses after a 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan in March 2011.
Tsunamis are long-wavelength, long-period sea waves produced by the sudden or abrupt movement of large volumes of water. In the open ocean the distance between wave crests can surpass 100 kilometers (62 mi), and the wave periods can vary from five minutes to one hour. 

Such tsunamis travel 600-800 kilometers per hour (373–497 miles per hour), depending on water depth. Large waves produced by an earthquake or a submarine landslide can overrun nearby coastal areas in a matter of minutes. 
Tsunamis can also travel thousands of kilometers across open ocean and wreak destruction on far shores hours after the earthquake that generated them.
Ordinarily, subduction earthquakes under magnitude 7.5 on the Richter scale do not cause tsunamis, although some instances of this have been recorded. Most destructive tsunamis are caused by earthquakes of magnitude 7.5 or more.


A flood is an overflow of any amount of water that reaches land. Floods occur usually when the volume of water within a body of water, such as a river or lake, exceeds the total capacity of the formation, and as a result some of the water flows or sits outside of the normal perimeter of the body. However, floods may be secondary effects of earthquakes, if dams are damaged. Earthquakes may cause landslips to dam rivers, which collapse and cause floods.
The terrain below the Sarez Lake in Tajikistan is in danger of catastrophic flood if thelandslide dam formed by the earthquake, known as the Usoi Dam, were to fail during a future earthquake. Impact projections suggest the flood could affect roughly 5 million people.

Human impacts

An earthquake may cause injury and loss of life, road and bridge damage, general property damage (which may or may not be covered by earthquake insurance), and collapse or destabilization (potentially leading to future collapse) of buildings. The aftermath may bring disease, lack of basic necessities, and higher insurance premiums.

The 2012 Indian Ocean earthquake was a magnitude 8.6 Mw undersea earthquake that struck near the Indonesian province of Aceh on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 at 15:38 local time. Initially, authorities feared that the earthquake would cause a tsunami and warnings were issued across the Indian Ocean; however, these were subsequently cancelled.The earthquake was the 11th strongest earthquake since 1900.(Source : ).

My experience of Earthquake on 11 April 2012:

The tremors due to the earth quake were felt in many places in India including Chennai. When the tremors were felt in Chennai, my wife and myself were watching a TV programme and both of us felt a little shaking of the sofa. We thought that it was due to a tremor and went out of our flat and noticed that our neighbours with their children also came out telling that they also felt the tremor and advised that it is better go down the steps rather than going by the lift. 

Meanwhile my son also called from his office and told us to get down to the open space in the ground floor  and move away from the building  to a safe distance. He also told us to avoid the lifts.So we went down by the steps   from the eighth floor to the open space in ground floor and stood away from the building. Apart from us and our neighbours we could not see anyone in the ground floor open space.

After some minutes about 5 persons came down from different blocks and they informed that got the news about the tremor through their relatives/friends and TV news. We could see many persons standing outside their flats in different floors of different blocks without the knowledge of the tremors and with out understanding the danger to their life if the earthquake is strong enough to affect the building.

I could not understand why there was no alarms raised/public announcement made advising all the residents to evacuate the building immediately.Such a system must be there as followed in many high raised residential buildings/offices 

It is advisable that mock drills are periodically  conducted by the Security Department in such high raised buildings   to create awareness among the residents about the steps to be taken at the time of disasters like fire,earth quake etc.utilising the services of government agencies like Fire Department etc.

I have consolidated some useful tips given below on the steps to be taken during and after such earth quakes;

What to do during an earthquake:

  • Stay inside
  • DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. Take cover under and hold onto a piece of heavy furniture or stand against an inside wall. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you're sure it's safe to exit. Stay away from windows and doors.
  • **Never take an elevator
  • If you are in bed, hold on, stay there, protect your head with a pillow.
  • Find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines.
  • Drop to the ground until the shaking stops.
In A Car
  • Slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above).
  • Turn on emergency flashers on and slow to a stop. Do not stop on overpasses, underpasses, or bridges. Be careful of overhead hazards such as power lines or falling building debris.
  • Turn off the ignition and set the parking brake.
  • Stay inside the car until the shaking stops.
PETS: During and after
  • Don't try to hold your pet during a quake. Animals instinctively want to hide when their safety is threatened. If you get in their way, even the nicest pets may hurt you.
  • Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard.
  • Pets may not be allowed into shelters for health and space reasons. Prepare an emergency pen for pets in the home that includes a 3-day supply of dry food and a large container of water.
  • If you can't find your pet or must leave it at home after a quake, leave fresh water in nonspill containers such as bathtubs and sinks. Leave plenty of low-fat dry food, which deteriorates more slowly and is less tasty so pets won't try to eat it all at once. Leave a note indicating that you have a pet, where you will be and the date.

Personal Safety
  • Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!
  • Check yourself for injuries. Protect yourself by wearing long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
  • Check others for injuries. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe.
  • Telephone: Use the telephone only for emergencies. Check to make sure the receiver has not been shaken off the hook and is tying up the line.
  • Fires: Look for and extinguish small fires.
  • Gas: Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and leave building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company.
  • **Remember, only a professional can turn the gas back on.
  • Electricity: Look for electrical system damage. Turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker if you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if smell hot insulation. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
  • Sewage, Water: Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and contact a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap.
SOURCE: American Red Cross, FEMA, SF Fire Department, SF Chronicle

Read more: