Checklist - Earthquake preparation

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Last updated on April 18, 2016

Although Tasmania has not been significantly impacted by previous earthquakes, the risk of earthquake is still present. Landslides can occur anywhere across Tasmania but have been particularly noticeable in several areas of the north-west landscape and the Tamar Valley, as well as specific areas in and around Hobart, Launceston and St Helens. Use this checklist to prepare your business in advance and take action to reduce potential earthquake impacts. See the Tasmania State Emergency Service (SES) website for further earthquake information www.ses.tas.gov.au

You can download this checklist here.

General

  • Consider whether earthquakes are a risk to your business. For further information on earthquake, see the SES website www.ses.tas.gov.au or check the Land Information System Tasmania www.thelist.tas.gov.au
  • If you are in a landslide prone area, consider having a suitably qualified professional undertake a landslide risk assessment for your property.
  • Know the possible earthquake or ground movement warning signs (for example, sudden changes in ground water levels and erratic animal behaviour for earthquake; trees tilting down-slope, water seepage and breaks in ground for ground movement).
  • Include risk mitigation strategies for earthquake in your Business Continuity Plan.
  • Think about your insurance needs in relation to earthquake and make sure your chosen policy provides an appropriate level of cover for your business and that you understand any requirements.
  • Keep a back-up copy of critical documents and business data in a secure off-site location.

Infrastructure and property

  • Ensure general maintenance around your business premises and store items appropriately:
    • brace tall, free-standing bookshelves and water heaters to stop them falling over in an earthquake
    • store heavy items on bottom shelves and secure suspended cupboard doors with heavy latches
    • store hazardous materials in waterproof containers in a secure cupboard
    • if you live in an earthquake or landslide prone area, consider seeking professional advice about ways to improve the safety of your business property in the event of an earthquake.
  • Check your emergency evacuation plan does not use elevators.
  • Check your incident response plan or evacuation plan includes instructions to turn off electricity, gas and water at the mains in the event of an earthquake.
  • Identify the safest place in which to shelter during an earthquake or landslide. For an earthquake, this place should be clear of windows, chimneys, overhead fittings, shelves and outer walls. For a landslide, seek shelter at the least affected end of the building under a strong table or bench.

Staff and business visitors

  • Ensure all staff and guests are aware of emergency evacuation procedures and familiar with their roles during an evacuation, including knowing the trigger for activating emergency plans and how this information will be communicated. Ensure your evacuation plan considers the potential for aftershocks to occur following an earthquake and details where staff and guests should go.
  • Ensure your staff and guests know where to access official sources of information in an emergency (for example, TasALERT website www.alert.tas.gov.au and social media and the emergency broadcaster, ABC local radio).
  • Consider how you would communicate information to staff, guests or customers in the event of an emergency (for example, bulletins, meetings, notice board, or social media).
  • Ensure a list of emergency and staff contact numbers is available to all staff.
  • Ensure you have an appropriate number of staff trained in first aid and that the contents of your first aid kit is regularly checked and stocked. Further information about first aid requirements is available from WorkSafe Tasmania www.worksafe.tas.gov.au
  • Prepare an emergency kit and store in a large plastic container. Include an emergency radio (battery, solar or hand crank) and torch. See Part 3 of the Business Continuity Plan Template for further information.
  • If staff travel in vehicles during the work day, make sure you have procedures in place for what they should do in an emergency situation.
  • Identify a suitable meeting place in case staff and/or guests become separated. Ensure that the location is well communicated.

During an emergency, keep yourself, your staff and guests updated by checking the TasALERT website www.alert.tas.gov.au

If you are indoors and an earthquake strikes, drop, cover and hold. Stay indoors until the shaking stops. If you are outdoors move a few steps away from buildings, trees, street lights or power lines, then drop, cover and hold.

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