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Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake Preparedness is Now A Must

Unlike typhoons, Earthquakes can not be forecasted. And in the recent spate of earthquakes worldwide, I think it is timely to evaluate our earthquake preparedness.

We are all aware of the recent earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand and today, in the Miyagi Prefecture in Japan. The Philippines is situated in what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire that makes it prone to earthquakes.


Earthquake Preparedness

I checked with our government's department that deals with earthquakes, the Phivolcs or Philippine Institute of Volcanology & Seismology. Its website offers an Earthquake Preparedness Guide in PDF format here. I am posting its contents here, in case the Phivolcs website is unavailable.

BEFORE an Earthquake:

A. The key to effective disaster prevention is planning:
  • Know the earthquake hazards in your area.
  • Follow structural design and engineering practices when constructing a house or building.
  • Evaluate the structural soundness of the buildings and houses; strengthen or retrofit if necessary.
B. Prepare your homes, workplaces and schools:
  • Strap or bolt heavy furnitures/cabinets to the walls.
  • Check the stability of hanging objects like ceiling fans and chandeliers.
  • Breakable items, harmful chemicals and flammable materials should be stored properly in the lowermost secured shelves.
C. Familiarize yourself with the exit routes.

D. Know where fire extinguishers, first aid kits, alarms, and communication faicilities are located. Learn how to use them beforehand.
    Prepare a handy emergency supply kit with first aid kit, canned food and can opener, water, clothing, blanket, battery-operated radio, flashlights and extra batteries.

E. Conduct and participate regular earthquake drills.


DURING an Earthquake:

A. Stay Calm.

B. When you are INSIDE a structurally sound building or home... STAY THERE!
  • If possible quickly open the door for exit.
  • Duck under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it, or protect your head with your arms.
  • Stay away from glass windows, shelves, cabinets and other heavy objects.
  • Beware of falling objects. Be Alert and keep your eyes open.

C. If you're OUTSIDE.. move to an open area!
  • Stay away from trees, powerlines, posts and concrete structures.
  • Move away from steep slopes which may be affected by landslides.
  • If you're near the shore and felt an earthquake, especially if it's too strong, move quikly to higher grounds. Tsunamis might follow.

D. If you're in a moving vehicle, STOP and get out! Do not attempt to cross bridges, overpasses, or flyovers which may have been damaged.


AFTER an Earthquake:

A. Be prepared for aftershocks. Once the shaking stops, take the fastest and safest way out of the building.
  • Don't use elevators
  • Don't enter damaged buidlings
  • Don't use telephones unless necessary.
  • Don't Panic.



  • Check yourself and others for injuries.
  • Check water and electrical lines for damages.
  • Check for spills of chemical, toxic and flammable materials.
  • Control fires which may spread.

B. If you need to evacuate your residence, leave a message stating where you are going and bring your emergency supply kit.

C. Keep updated on disater prevention instructions from battery-operated radios.


The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also provide Earthquake preparedness tips. Check the following links: How about you? What steps do you take regarding Earthquake preparedness?

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