Earthquakes – Tsunami

A TERRA TREME, an earthquake risk awareness exercise, took place at 11.05 hrs on 5th November 2018, throughout the country.This coincided with International Tsunami Awareness Day  
This is a national exercise which involves the community, for the purpose of creating awareness of the earthquake risk here in Portugal and importantly simple measures people can take, in case an earthquake strikes, which may save lives. In 2018 over 625,000 people participated.
Several regions of Portugal are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes, greater Lisbon and Algarve, for example.
We therefore encourage everyone, and we mean everyone, to participate in some way. It only takes one minute starting on 5th November at 11.05 hrs precisely. Whether you are at school, at work or at home with your family, this is something that affects you.
Details of A Terra Treme can be found on the dedicated website: http://www.aterratreme.pt/
Safe Communities Portugal announcement of the Exercise in English can be downloaded from Youtube here
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon earthquake, occurred on Saturday, 1 November, the holy day of All Saints’ Day, at around 09:40 local time. In combination with subsequent fires and a tsunami, the earthquake almost totally destroyed Lisbon and adjoining areas.

 

Seismologists today estimate the Lisbon earthquake had a magnitude in the range 8.5–9.0 on the moment magnitude scale, with its epicentre in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 km (120 mi) west-southwest of Cape St. Vincent. Estimates place the death toll in Lisbon alone between 10,000 and 100,000 people, making it one of the deadliest earthquakes in history.

Above picture 1755 Lisbon earthquake 

According to historical records, most of the earthquakes affecting Portugal (mainland) have epicentre SW of the Iberian Peninsula (Gorringe bank) or in the Lower Tagus Valley. The most vulnerable areas are the Lisbon urban area and Algarve south. Major earthquakes: occoured in 1531, 1755, 1909 and 1969.

 

Preparation – Beforehand

  • Inquire about the possible causes and effects of an earthquake in your area. Discuss in a calm and serene way with your family and friends.
  • Make an emergency plan for your family.
  • Make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of an earthquake.
  • Identify and agree a meeting place in advance, in case the family members separate during the earthquake.
  • Prepare your home in order to facilitate the movements, clearing the corridors and passageways, arranging furniture and toys.
  • Organise your emergency kit:
    • Keep a flashlight, a portable dynamo radio (without batteries) as well as a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.
    • Store water in plastic containers and dry food for two or three days (be careful: periodically check shelf life). Include a can opener.
    • Have the emergency services phone numbers in a handy location, the family / friends contact list, and copies of important documents.
    • Take your usual medication and personal hygiene products (including toilet paper, wet wipes and plastic bags for sanitary purposes), also include a change of clothes (do not forget a cap and waterproof);
    • Include also: money, a whistle, an anti-dust mask, and the mobile phone charger with an extra battery (common power-bank);
    • Extra food and water for pets.
  • Identify the safest places by distributing your family members through them: from interior doors, corners of master walls, under tables and beds.
  • Keep a safe distance from objects that may fall or splinter.
  • Know the most dangerous places: next to windows, mirrors, lamps, furniture and other objects. Elevators and exits to the street.
  • Secure the shelves, vases, and flower pots to the walls of your home.
  • Place heavy or large objects on the floor or on the lowest shelves.
  • Teach all family members how to turn off electricity and cut off water and gas.

Emergency telephone numbers are available in a handy location

 

During an earthquake

The accepted action to help protect yourself taught in countries at high risk of earthquakes, is to “drop, cover and hold” i.e. drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly. More details can be downloaded here.

  • If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, drop, cover and hold. Stay indoors till the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops.
  • If you are in an elevator, drop, cover and hold. When the shaking stops, try and get out at the nearest floor if you can safely do so.
  • If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, move no more than a few steps away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold.
  • If you are at the beach or near the coast, drop, cover and hold then move to higher ground immediately in case a tsunami follows the quake.
  • If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling debris or landslides.

 

After an earthquake

  • Listen to your local radio stations as emergency management officials will be broadcasting the most appropriate advice for your community and situation.
  • Keep calm but expect to feel aftershocks.
  • Check yourself for injuries and get first aid if necessary. Help others if you can.
  • Be aware that electricity supply could be cut, and fire alarms and sprinkler systems can go off in buildings during an earthquake even if there is no fire. Check for, and extinguish, small fires.
  • If you are in a damaged building, try to get outside and find a safe, open place. Use the stairs, not the elevators.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines, and stay out of damaged areas.
  • Only use the phone for short essential calls to keep the lines clear for emergency calls.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window, get everyone out quickly and turn off the gas if you can. If you see sparks, broken wires or evidence of electrical system damage, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box if it is safe to do so.
  • Keep your animals under your direct control as they can become disorientated. Take measures to protect your animals from hazards, and to protect other people from your animals.
  • If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs for insurance purposes. If you rent your property, contact your landlord and your contents insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Do not try and remove injured persons with fractures unless it is urgent to place out of danger – wait for medically trained personnel to arrive.

All prevention and protection information is from official sources.

“A Terra Treme” Earthquake exercise 2017 – Safe Communities Portugal together with Euroinesco participated in this exercise held on 13th October 2017, using “DROP, COVER, HOLD ON” . This can be viewed on YouTube here

 

Emergency planning

Under the emergency plans for earthquakes over 200 entities are involved covering First aid and medical assistance; Forensics / Mortuary; Law and order; Buildings and Structures; Logistics; Communications and  Vital networks

 

Tsunamis

Certain areas of Portugal’s coastline are at risk of a Tsunami. A very useful video about Tsunamis and what action you should take in the event of a Tsunami can be downloaded here. 

 

Resource Centre Downloads

  • Sismos - Earthquake preparation - in PortugueseDownload
  • Earthquakes protection - Sismos leaflet ANPC (In-portuguese)Download
  • COMUNICADO DE IMPRENSA NEAMWAVE17Download
  • Earthquake Awareness and Protection. In English docxDownload