The Philippines belong to the Pacific Ring of Fire. Being in the Ring of Fire, means that the country is prone to a lot of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Considered as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, the Philippines is shaken with an average of 20 quakes daily.
Earthquake usually causes destruction of structures such as buildings, houses, bridges and triggers tsunami. A series of water waves, also called tsunami wave train, was triggered recently by an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 that displaced more than 150,000 people in Southeast Asia.
During disasters, survival and zero casualties must be maintained at all cost. Oftentimes, we do not know when a particular scenario will come. Preparedness then is the best solution to avoid being caught red handed.
As a precautionary measure, I have listed down some useful safety guidelines I learned when I attended earthquake briefing and drills in the Lyceum of the Philippines University in Batangas, conducted by the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) volunteers.
Tips Before An Earthquake
- Disaster Plan. A safe place must be established where everyone can meet during emergency situations. Ensure that first aid kit is available and everyone is aware there is such. This includes first aid supplies, medicines, tools, ropes, canned goods and opener, water, matchbox, flashlights with spare batteries. A plan must be established at home, work or school.
- Orientation. Dissemination of information is very important prior to any disaster. Psychological conditioning must be conducted to avoid panic and confusion. Drills are also very important for familiarization on how to react during a scenario. Teach the “duck, cover and hold” technique to protect their heads from falling debris. Remind everyone to cautiously move to safe areas such as under the table and avoid danger zones such as glass windows and hanging objects. When the situation is manageable, everybody must immediately proceed to the established safe area which is usually an open area away from buildings, or any structure that might have been damaged and has been deemed unsafe after the earthquake
- Prepare Your Property. Regularly check the structure of your house or work place. Heavy furniture must be bolted firmly on the ground. Hanging objects must be check for stability. Familiarize everyone with the location of main electrical switches and gas valves. All of these must be shut off during emergency situations to avoid fire.
Tips During An Earthquake
- Inside the building or at home. If possible, open doors for easy exit access.
- Outside any structure. Quickly move to an open area. Stay away from power lines, posts, trees, and other concrete structures. Stay away from steep slopes that may be a source of landslide. If beside the sea, seek for a higher ground to avoid tsunami.
- Driving or inside a car. Stop and go out of the car. Avoid crossing bridges or flyovers.
Tips After An Earthquake
- Check any injury. Wear clothes to protect you from any danger such as pants, long sleeves, sturdy shoes, and working gloves.
- Check surroundings. Extinguish small fires. Immediately clean any flammable liquids such as gasoline, bleaching soaps. If you are inside the building, avoid using elevators and electrical gadgets.
- Inspect structures. Check the house or building for any structural defects caused by the earthquake. If any structural defect is noticed, immediately leave the structure and call for experts. Open closets and cabinets slowly.
Top Tips For Any Emergency
- Stay Calm.
- Presence of mind can help a lot.
Stay safe everyone.