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Earthquake Preparedness

 As you may well know, Istanbul and most of Turkey are considered to be earthquake prone area. Especially Istanbul is located on the North Anatolian fault and in a couple of decades a severe earthquake is expected. Therefore it is wise to be alert and to keep in mind some major precautions.

Useful Tips
Always have on hand an emergency supply of nonperishable food and potable water. Rotate as required to ensure freshness. Supplies should be adequate for 72 hours. A non-electric can opener is always useful.

Ensure your house has a first aid kit. Keep a good supply of special medication you may need

Make sure every family member knows his/her blood type.

Always keep a battery-powered radio, a flashlight as well as spare batteries.

Make sure your house is equipped with a sufficient number of fire extinguishers including some outside the house if possible.

Make sure family members and domestic staff know how to turn off the electricity, gas and water.

Make sure tools are kept in place which are easily accessed.

Identify possible escape routes. Make sure you know the load bearing walls in your house as well as its points of weakness. Identify sources of possible falling debris. Most injuries are the result of falling objects.

Make sure you know hot to get to the nearest hospital or clinic. However, remember that should an earthquake strike, hospitals and other government services may be swamped and you will likely have to fend for yourself until the situation return to normal.

When the Earthquake Occurs
Stay calm. Don't panic. Most earthquakes do not last longer than 60 seconds.

Don't rush outside unless you can safely go to an open space without being hit by falling debris.

Turn off sources of power (gas and electricity). This will greatly reduce the risk of the outbreak of fire.

Open doors in your escape route. If is not uncommon in severe earthquakes, to have doors bent so that they cannot open.

Get under cover. If you are indoors stay there. Place yourself in an open doorway or beside heavy object. Objects like a refrigerator, a stove, photocopy machine, a counter, heavy desks and the like will usually bear the weight of a collapse. This "Triangle" creates the void that is used by rescuers when they crawl through collapsed structures.

If you are in a high rise, don't use elevators; use the stairs.

If you are on the street, keep away from structures, which are likely to fall (telephone poles, lamp, posts, etc). Protect yourself from falling objects by taking refuge in the doorway of any nearby sturdy building. Beware of fallen wires and cables.

If you are in a theatre, department store, etc. Don't panic. Follow instructions announced by management.

If you are driving, be prepared to full over to the side of the road and stop your vehicle. Turn o your radio and listen for the emergency broadcast. Follow instructions of police officers. Drive cautiously. Do not stop on bridges or under overpasses.

After the Earthquake
Put on shoes with heavy soles. Wear gloves.

Beware of aftershocks. When the quake subsides, don't blindly run outside. More shocks may be on the way, perhaps bigger than the first, perhaps smaller.

Beware of weakened structures. Aftershocks may trigger landslides or collapse weakened buildings, walkways, roadways, bridges and overpasses. Avoid elevators and be wary of stairways, which may have been damaged. Bu every careful where you walk, ride or drive. Proceed carefully, looking for possible shelters or escape routes as you go.

Check for injured or trapped persons in your building and neighboring buildings. Mark known hazards like weakened structures.

Turn off stoves and heaters.

Check for fires and gas leaks from ruptured lines or connections. Don't light a match or turn on any gas appliance until you're sure the gas lines haven't been ruptured. If that means waiting until someone knowledgeable can check them, wait.

Open windows and doors for ventilation if you smell gas.

If you have reason to believe the electrical lines have been broken or power is out, don't turn on electric switches. Unplug appliances (Fuses or circuit breakers should automatically shut off electricity if there is trouble on the circuit). Be especially careful if you smell gas. Don't attempt to shut off your house's electricity or even unplug appliances if you can smell gas. One spark could set off a fire.

Extinguish fires. Remember, water will probably not be available. Before using a fire extinguisher, be sure you have a safe exit in case the fire gets out of control.

Assist injured people. Administer first aid if necessary.

Avoid fallen power lines. Don't stand under the power lines during or after the quake.

Rescuing someone in contact with a live electrical line is very dangerous and utility companies warn against attempting it. If you do attempt it, be aware that you are taking a big risk. Try to push the line away with a non-conductive pole of some sort (wooden or plastic) before touching he person. A sturdy, long handled broom might work.

If you are in a car, which is touching fallen power lines, you should probably wait for help. The rubber tires should insulate you from shock as long as you do not touch the ground while you are still in contact with the car. If you must get out, be you don't let an open door touch anything else and jump entirely clear in one motion.

Be careful about water, don't drink tap water or use toilets until you know the water and sewage lines are intact. Contaminated water lines could spread an epidemic. Overflowing toilets will create a health hazard.

If you do have to evacuate, go to the specified evacuation area.

Go in a group on foot and help each other.

Protect your head with a helmet.

Cover your skin by wearing a long sleeved shirt and long slacks.

Wear low-heeled comfortable shoes.

Take as little baggage as possible. Carry baggage on your back to leave both hands free.

Before evacuation, shut the doors and windows of your house.

Final note
All foreign citizens residing in Turkey are suggested to register their presence in the country either with their Embassy or Consulate. The essential purpose of registration is to facilitate and expedite communications between the missions and foreign residents in Turkey during local emergencies, in order to ascertain your well-being and that of your family and to provide you with Consular assistance to the extent possible. Although the Turkish Government is responsible for providing emergency relief and medical services in the event of an emergency, such as a catastrophic natural disaster it will be beneficial to register. The Consular assistance will most likely take the form of determining your whereabouts and well-being, conveying information on your status to family in your home country, collecting and conveying information on a responsive basis to you about both the emergency situation and Turkey government emergency services.

Internet in Turkey
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New Fixed Phone Line Tariffs
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Paying the bills, Ankara
Personal Security Precautions
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Winter & Your Car
Your Right Hands

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