USEFUL INFORMATION – FIRE AND EARTHQUAKE
Fire is a constant and frightening risk in the summer months, and even during other months if the undergrowth is very dry. Members will want to be particularly careful about any discarded glass or shiny metals near their properties.
Lighting fires is forbidden.
There also a requirement in Cyprus that land owners should cut any dry grass on their property. If you experience any difficulty over this with your neighbours, the Village Office is very ready to help. It is important safety rule for the whole village.
In any case plan your fire defences: fire extinguishers (and how to use them), other items for dousing fires, hoses and how to use swimming pool water in an emergency.
The Village Office has acquired a small fire engine which is located near the police station. Call them (25222611) or the Village office (25221388). The number of the Limassol fire station is 25805400.
We live in an earthquake zone. Pissouri, in particular is in the highest risk area in Cyprus, being on the major fault that has in the past destroyed Kouklia, Paphos and Curium. Be warned!
There are some 40 to 50 earthquakes around Cyprus every month measuring between 1.5 and 5 on the Richter Scale. The strongest recent earthquake, in 1996, measured 6.5. It was felt all over the island, caused extensive damage to buildings, and two people in Paphos died of heart attacks.
It is not a question of if earthquakes will hit, just a question of where, when, and how powerful. And that is not predictable. Fortunately, building regulations are well abreast of international technology and Cyprus Civil Defence is constantly honing its responses.
The following information has been provided via the Cyprus Civil Defence.
Prepare in advance for an earthquake – it is important to avoid panic.
Stock your homes with essential emergency equipment (and store them somewhere easily accessible) such as the following
- A first aid kit.
- Cash and other valuable objects or documents
- A portable radio
- A flash light
- Dry food and concentrated or powdered milk
- Water bottles
- Underwear and towels
Install fire extinguishers and learn how to use them.
Keep in mind other items for dousing fires (apart from extinguishers) eg water or blankets.
Store flammable items in storage rooms and in parts of the house where fires are less likely to arise.
Talk to your children’s school about how they will deal with an earthquake.
At work assign emergency duties. Appoint people to be responsible for safety, extinction of fires, removal of important objects, orderly evacuation of buildings, circulation of information, rescue etc. Periodically carry out emergency exercises.
Have specialists inspect and repair buildings that are faulty, old or unsteady.
Locate the safest areas in your homes or workplace for protection in the case of an earthquake. Temporary shelters can be under strong tables or desks, next to pillars or under doors.
In such places you have a certain amount of protection from falling objects and collapsing walls until you are able to safely evacuate the building or are rescued by a rescue team.
You should have always in mind where the electrical switches are located and how they are switched off, to avoid the possibility of an outbreak of a fire. Fires following earthquakes are due to short-circuit and gas leakages, or in an effort to light matches and candles etc, causing casualties and damages.
Place large heavy items which can easily fall and break on lower places.
Firmly secure shelves and heavy or high furniture.
Do not hang heavy items on ceilings, walls and around beds.
Do not place refrigerators, ovens, washing machines, wardrobes etc in areas where they could block exits.
Make sure that the members of your family know how to offer first aid and supply yourselves with necessary provisions (medicines for wounds and eyes, cotton, bandages, antiseptics etc). It is possible that after a strong earthquake medical teams may be overburdened and therefore unable to offer help at once.
Start now and periodically repeat self-protection exercises for earthquakes with members of your family at home. This will guarantee self-confidence and limit fear in case of an earthquake.
Remain calm and don’t panic. Panic causes victims. Think of the consequences of your actions in order to react calmly and efficiently.
If outdoors, stay there but don’t stand next to buildings, walls, rocks, electricity poles or pylons or other objects that are likely to fall and injure you. Move to the nearest open area and check the situation around you.
If you are within a building remain there. In earthquakes many casualties are caused when panic-stricken people try to rush outdoors.
Seek refuge under a steady table or desk or under a door.
Do not stand next to open windows, balconies or terrace edges.
Do not stand next to windows, wardrobes, shelves or objects that may break or fall and injure you.
Never use a lift for escape.
If you are in a moving car stop as quickly as safety permits in the best available space (away from high buildings, pillars or rocks). Your car provides sufficient protection.
Stay away from the seashore.
Do not light matches, candles or other fires.
Help children, disabled or sick people to protect themselves.
The hours following an earthquake are critical. Remain calm and try to calm down others who have panicked. Check for casualties. Do not try to move seriously injured people, unless their lives are at stake. Give first aid on the spot.
Extinguish any fires before they spread.
Check electrical installations and electrical appliances to see if they have been damaged. If you find any damage, switch off the main switch.
If you can smell gas, open doors and windows and switch off the valves of the gas cylinders.
Do not remain in or enter buildings that have suffered damage until the appropriate authorities establish that they are safe.
Check chimneys for cracks. Unseen damage could cause a fire in the future.
Inform the appropriate authorities briefly and clearly when it is necessary, but do not use the telephone unnecessarily. Jamming the lines hinders the services who have to deal with the emergency.
Respond to appeals for voluntary help but otherwise keep off the roads, especially in areas in which buildings have collapsed.
Do not impede rescue traffic.
If you have been trapped and cannot escape, try by all means, but remain calm and give signs of life so that rescue teams can locate you.
Don’t touch live cables on the ground or objects touching the cables.
After-shocks can be strong and may cause damage. So stay away from damaged buildings. If it is absolutely necessary to enter them do not stay long. After-shocks can cause even greater damage and collapse.
Co-operate with your neighbours to put out fires and help the injured, elderly, disabled and children.