What would happen in an earthquake?

In my home town we've had over 8500 earthquakes in the last 12 months, including the most violent earthquake ever recorded anywhere in the world. The losses of glass have been massive, and to date there have been no earthquake related fatalities in the glass and window industry.

During the year all Christchurch glass and window manufacturers have been seeking to make their workplaces safer in an earthquake.

Earthquakes can occur in any part of the world, and it makes sense to consider the following if an earthquake occurred :

1. How would each of my staff get out of the building?
2. On their way out what storage systems would they have to pass by, and how would those storage systems be behaving in an earthquake?
3. Which items could fall and break?
4. Which items would become potentially dangerous if broken or falling?
5. Which items are on castors or wheels and would potentially move in an earthquake?

In one glass factory I visited the staff had to run a gauntlet of falling glass to get out of a building. Had it not been for glass retention systems they would have been injured.

Another factory had trolleys on castors rolling around the floor, and one factory manager narrowly missed being crushed by a rolling glass cutting table.

A third factory was unloading a pack of glass from an open top container when an earthquake occurred. The pack of glass swung, narrowly missing one of the staff who was in the container. 

In each of these situations the earthquake was making any movement by the staff more challenging. Many people have been knocked to their feet by the earthquakes, so any planning for exiting an area need to take this into account.

Bryn and myself now have unique knowledge about earthquakes and the glass and window industry and are keen to share this with anyone who wants to listen. Please call anytime.