Seismic Research Unit: Vincentians should brace for more
Front Page
December 7, 2007
Seismic Research Unit: Vincentians should brace for more

As recently as two days ago, aftershocks from last week Thursday’s 7.3 magnitude earthquake were still being felt here. And, according to the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Unit, Vincentians should brace themselves for more.{{more}}

On Wednesday morning, at about eleven minutes past eight o’clock, an earthquake of magnitude 5.3 occurred north of Martinique and was felt here, as well as in St Lucia and Dominica.

The Seismic Research Unit is advising that such aftershocks are normal, and they expect even larger aftershocks in the range of 6.1-6.5 magnitude to occur some time in the future.

The Unit is, therefore, advising citizens to “familiarize themselves with earthquake safety tips and practice these regularly through drills at home, school and work.”

Earthquake preparedness


  • Become actively involved in community preparedness organisations in your district. Call your local disaster management office for contact information.
  • Unstable, heavy furniture should be fastened to a wall or bolted to the floor. When loading storage cabinets heavy objects should be placed on lower shelves.
  • Water heaters and other appliances should be firmly bolted down.
  • All family members should know how to turn off electricity, gas and water using safety valves and main switches.
  • Family members should know basic First Aid steps.
  • Purchase emergency equipment such as battery-operated radios and fire extinguishers for your home.
  • Always have non-perishable food items in stock.


  • Do not panic, stay calm.
  • Always protect your head and face.
  • If inside a building, stand in a strong doorway, or get under a desk, table or bed. Do not try to run out of the building as you can be injured by falling debris.
  • Move away from outer walls, windows, glass doors, heavy mirrors, pictures, bookcases, hanging plants and heavy objects.
  • Look out for falling plaster, bricks, lighting fixtures and other objects.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • If you are outside, stay there. Stand away from buildings, trees, and electricity lines.
  • If you are driving, you should safely bring the vehicle to a stop away from electricity poles and overhead wires. Remain in the vehicle.



  • Check for fires.
  • Check utilities and switch them off, if necessary.
  • Check your house for serious damage and evacuate if the house seems likely to collapse.
  • Be prepared for more earthquake tremors or aftershocks.
  • Turn on a transistor radio for emergency bulletins.
  • Stay away from landslide-prone areas.
  • Collect water.
  • Stay out of buildings that may have been damaged or weakened by the earthquake.
  • Keep the streets clear for the passage of emergency and rescue vehicles.


  • Do not light a match or turn on a light switch. Use a flashlight instead.
  • Never touch fallen power lines.
  • Do not use telephones except in an extreme emergency.
  • Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in danger of further injury.
  • Do not go sightseeing!

Source –

Head of this country’s National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) Howie Prince told Searchlight that a campaign to educate Vincentians on emergency procedures and drills in the event of an earthquake had already begun.

He said that the education process will be a continuing one, but he is encouraging persons to make their own preparations for such a disaster.

His organization hosted a radio call-in programme last Sunday, and advised callers on proper procedures in the event that a similar situation should occur.

Prince noted that on the day of the event, many persons were not adhering to basic safety precautions, particularly running out of buildings and standing under the same structures, or out into the streets under electrical wires.

As for himself, he followed procedure by taking refuge under his office desk, then left the building when the shaking stopped.

He said that there seemed to be too much panic, and that the introduction of proper procedures will alleviate most of these problems.

According to Prince, reported property damage was minimal, with the exception of only one or two houses.

The majority of the damage was done to household appliances and loose objects falling from shelves and tables.

Although the ‘quake measured 7.3 at the epicenter, which was just south of Dominica and north of Martinique, Prince said that the intensity here was about a level 5 out of the maximum 12.

One of the major concerns for persons on ‘Tremor Thursday’ was the temporary loss of cell phone and some land line phone service, which was experienced during the minute long event.