LESSON 3 – Universal agents

Physical forces

Earthquakes, wars, landslides and inadequate support systems. These factors result in objects breaking, deforming, tearing, abrasions, etc. Earthquakes, in particular, can result in total or partial collapse of the building and consequent loss or breakage of the objects. The hazard may be exacerbated by some side effects, like: fires, obstruction of accesses, vandalism, etc.

On November 1, 1755, tectonic plates shift suddenly, causing an 8.5 magnitude earthquake, the epicenter of which is only 150 miles from Portugal’s capital. It sets off a tragic chain of events.

How an Earthquake, Tsunami, and Firestorm All Hit Lisbon at Once

It is therefore important to identify weak spots throughout the building, and reinforce and consolidate the structure, if applicable. As an emergency measure, we must consider turning off the water, gas and electricity and have an emergency contact with easy access.


The objects’ locations (shelves, for example) must be firmly fixed, the heavier objects should be placed on the lower shelves and organized as though to leave space between them.