Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness
In the event of an earthquake and/or tsunami watch or warning, AUC will alert students and colleagues via our SIREN notification system. In Sint Maarten, we have two Emergency Assembly Points (EAP) on campus:
Remain Calm. Sound usually precedes earthquake motion by a split second. If you have developed the correct earthquake responses in your mind before a quake, this split second is enough time to activate your automatic reactions. If you stay calm, you will be better able to assess your situation. The rolling and roaring may terrify you, but unless something falls on you, the sensations probably won't hurt you. Try talking yourself through the violent motion phase. This will release stress and others may take courage and follow your reasoned restraint. Think through the consequences of any action you plan to take.
Before an Earthquake
- Make sure shelves are secure and designed with latching doors or raised edges to prevent objects from falling.
- Bolt top-heavy furniture and equipment to walls or floors.
- Store breakables and heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Anchor overhead lights, heavy artwork, and mirrors.
- Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
- Against an inside wall.
- Away from glass that could shatter or heavy bookcases or furniture that could fall over.
During an Earthquake
- Stay where you are and drop onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
- Cover your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under the shelter of a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you.
- Hold onto your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
Quickly move away from glass, hanging objects, bookcases, cabinets, or other large furniture that could fall. Watch for falling objects, such as bricks from fireplaces and chimneys, light fixtures, wall hangings, high shelves, and cabinets with doors that could swing open.
- Grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and broken glass.
- If you are in the kitchen, quickly turn off the stove and take cover at the first sign of shaking.
- If you are in bed, protect your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are.
- Do not rush outside. Stairways may be broken and exits jammed with people. Do not use elevators as the power for elevators may go out and leave you trapped. The greatest danger from falling debris is just outside doorways and close to outer walls. If for safety reasons you must leave the building, choose your exits as carefully as possible.
- If you are outside, stay there. Move away from the building, garage, walls, power poles and light posts. Electric power lines are a serious hazard - stay away from fallen lines. If possible, proceed cautiously to an open area.
- If you are in a moving car, stay in your car and pull over as quickly as possible. A car is an excellent shock absorber and will shake a lot on its springs during an earthquake, but it's a fairly safe shelter from which to assess your situation.
- Avoid fallen power lines. You are at an increased risk of encountering fallen live wires during and after an earthquake. If you are on foot, make a wide path around the wires. If you are in the car and live wires have fallen across the car, remain where you are. Your car is usually well insulated and will protect you from electric shock. Never assume that downed power lines are dead.