Earthquake Preparedness guide

It always pays to be prepared for any natural disaster be it an earthquake or typhoon.

Red Cross recommends three ways to prepare

1. Keep supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.

2. Make a plan.

2. Be informed.

Download the Download the “Be Red Cross Ready General Preparedness Checklist” at the end of the entry.

In the light of the destruction in Japan in 2011 and the 2.7 tremor in the West Valley fault (Check map and view the original Phivolcs map, click here.) in the last week of September, what should one do during times of an earthquake?

Before this happens, it is good to make plans and be informed. Philvocs prepared a How to conduct an earthquake drill (download here) and an Earthquake preparedness guide (download here)

Dr. Ted Esguerra , medical officer of the Philippine Expedition Team to Mt. Everest and Balangay Voyage offers the following tips:

1. The first rule, get out of the building, run to an open space, out of harm’s way from falling debris.

2. But if one cannot make it out quickly, it’s best to go for the wall of the room where you’re at. “Everything will fall in the middle, that’s why you have to go for the wall. I’ve seen structures where walls still stood after the quake” Esguerra said.

He disputed the old teaching that a person evacuating a building needs to brace his arms over his head while running.

“Our body was designed with our hands to sway back and forth while running and when you put your hands over your head, you lose your balance” he explained, while providing gestures and movements with his explanation.

Aside from that, one can never be sure if his or her hands are strong enough to protect him from any debris that might fall, he said.

3. “What you should do is kneel beside a wall, observe and cover your nose with your shirt,” Esguerra said, adding that particulates from the ceiling can fall and can be inhaled. Once inhaled, antibiotics will bear no effect on particulates because they are not microorganisms that react to medicines.

4. Esguerra also advised the public to stock up on provisions that can last for 3 to 7 days. “Rescue and help may come a little while longer during earthquakes because access to roads and services are affected” he said.

What are these Emergency provisions?

Provisions will include food and water, medicines, blanket, flashlight, cash, travel documents, and a knife or a gun that can be used for self-defense.

“You have to be prepared that when other people find out that you have provisions, their primal instinct will prevail to try to kill you to get food and water,” said Esguerra.

He presented documented cases of looting and killing in Port Au-Prince, Haiti, and even in the USA when it was struck by Hurricane Katrina.

Another fact that should be considered is the rendezvous point after the quake hits. During day time, most families in Metro Manila are not in the household, with parents usually at work and children at school.

Esguerra recommends that families should talk about their meeting place if an earthquake occurs, because communication and access to transportation will be most likely impossible.

You might also want to check out the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology maps of faults and trenches in the valleys of Metro Manila and the rest of the Philippines.

Philvocs- How to Conduct an Earthquake Drill

Philvocs- Earthquake Preparedness Guide

Red Cross Preparedness Checklist