Seismic Activity in Bhutan

Hi Folks,

With the situation in Nepal in the news and the devastation of the region, some folks have asked about Bhutan, Nepal’s neighbor.  The most recent studies on seismic activity in Bhutan are located here: Bhutan Seismic Activity.  Notice that evidence suggests that the zone of most serious concern has moved west toward Nepal in the past 500 years or so.

However, that study does not mean that Bhutan will not have a significant quake.  We will talk about being as safe as you can be in an earthquake zone and develop a plan of evacuation in case we face some serious seismic activity.

Concerning earthquake safety and preparation, check out this information from ready.gov:

During An Earthquake

If you are…

Indoors
  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.
Outdoors
  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Many of the 120 fatalities from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake occurred when people ran outside of buildings only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.
In a moving car
  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.
Trapped under debris
  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

After An Earthquake

After the earthquake is over, you should expect aftershocks. If you are indoors, make sure it is save before you head outside. Attempt to extinguish small fires, and check on your utilities: turn off the gas at the main, and be aware of gas leaks. Help injured or trapped persons. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance such as infants, the elderly, and people with access and functional needs. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help, but know that phone lines could be unavailable.

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