Earthquake safety tips before, during and after in Philippines

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Earthquake safety tips in the Philippines
Stop, Drop and Hold is used during the drill. Earthquake drill is used to practice in preparation for an earthquake which is conducted in some areas. Image Credit: GOVPH

Philippines is considered as an earthquake-prone country since it is housed within the famous volcanic region known as the  Pacific Ring of Fire. Out of 173 countries, Philippines ranked third based on its coping adaptive capacities to disasters.

Due to unpredictable strike of earthquake like what happened in Surigao where it was hit by a magnitude of 6.7 and just recently, a powerful aftershock hit the city of Surigao.

It was also year 1968 when 12 destructive earthquakes hit the country. This also includes the catastrophic earthquake in Luzon, year 1990 which took at least 1,100 lives. Year 2013, Bohol was hit by a massive earthquake claiming more than 10 lives, leaving almost 3 million families affected.

According to Geophysical Risk Maps, since 1968 Philvocs has recorded twelve destructive earthquakes in the country and these are: Surigao del sur, La Union, Benguet, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Ifugao, Davao Oriental, Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) is urging the public to be prepared for earthquakes.

During earthquakes, the Philvocs also advises people to stay indoors if they are already within a structurally sound building or home.

Here are some safety tips you need to know before, during and after an earthquake.

BEFORE EARTHQUAKE

  • The first thing you need to make sure you have at home are: Fire extinguisher, first aid kit, a flashlight, extra batteries and a battery-powered radio to keep yourself updated.
  • Store emergency supplies like water, medicines or first aid kit.
  • Identify the places where you can hide in case the shaking starts, you may stay under a sturdy desk/ table or against an interior wall.
  • Practice to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” to protect yourself from earthquake.
  • Anchor all heavy furniture or any appliances to the walls or floor.
  • Earthquake will happen anytime and anywhere, so it is important that you know the earthquake plan at your school or workplace.
  • Plan how you’re going to communicate with your family members.

DURING EARTHQUAKE

  • Stay Calm. DON’T PANIC.
  • Never run outside or even get in a doorway because it will not give you protection from falling or flying objects.
  • Drop down onto your hands and knees, this will help you from knocking down by the earthquake. You should also drop to the ground as soon as you can.
  • Cover your head with your arms in order to protect yourself from falling debris.
  • Stay wherever you are till the shaking stops. But if you are in danger from falling objects and can still move freely and safely, you may crawl to keep yourself protected under a sturdy table or desk.
  • Move away from anything that could fall like furniture, light fixtures, glass, windows or even outside doors and walls.
  • If you’re inside the car, don’t run outside your car instead stay inside your car until the earthquake stops.
  • Never use elevators, you might get stuck.
  • If you’re staying outdoors, stay in the open away from power lines or anything that might fall. Stay away from buildings as well.

AFTER EARTHQUAKE

  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • When the shaking stops, check yourself and others for injuries. Provide first aid to anyone who is injured.
  • Look around your area and if there is a clear and safe path, leave the building and go to an open space away from the damaged areas.
  • Check your appliances , electrical lines, gas or water for damages. Never switch on the gas or electricity not until the power company checks it. And never light matches or turn on electrical gas leaks till you are certain that there are no gas leaks.
  • If you have battery operated radio or cellphone, you can use it to monitor local news and text alerts for emergency information and instructions.
  • Stay away from beaches because after the shaking of the ground, this might cause tsunamis.
  • Stay away from damaged areas as well.
  • And if you’re at school or in your working place, just follow the emergency instructions of the person in charge.
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