Sunday, January 11, 2015

Safety| How To Prepare for an Earthquake

If you are a light sleeper like I am, then you would have woken up to the shakes of the earthquake that rattled Zambales with an epicenter of 13 kilometers and a intensity 6 rating which was initially 5.7 (source). This earthquake was felt throughout Manila and Southern Luzon.





At the time my family was fast asleep since I came from a shift and I slept at 5PM, around 3AM today I felt my body rocking and thought I was dreaming. My sleeping area is a small improvised loft and we are located on the 3rd floor of the house, so you can imagine that I felt more of the shakes. When I realized it was an earthquake, I got up and rushed to go to my husband and kids who were sound asleep, thinking that we might need to evacuate, in my thoughts, I started to pray the Lord's Prayer. Good thing it stopped. 

I got worried with the damage it could have caused others and if there would be any after shocks, so I checked online and on Facebook for news and was shocked that it was also felt by a friend in Cabuyao City, Laguna. 

I realized that this is really a time to always be prepared for the worst. Our country has gone through so much and the only way to overcome a natural disaster is to make sure you are ready. 

Here are some tips based on the website Ready in order to prepare:
 

1. Check your house. Determine how much damage can your house sustain or can it withstand an earthquake an up to what magnitude. This will allow to you secure your house. It may be costly but it will save your life and the lives of your loved ones. Check your electrical wiring as well to avoid fires. Check also for cracks in your ceilings and walls which may crumble during an earthquake.

2. Have an emergency survival kit. 3 gallons of water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, chargers (solar-powered ones will be more ideal), moist towelettes, first aid kit, whistle (to easily call for help), can opener for food, a basic phone that can be used as an emergency phone and should be fully charged. Place of all of these in a sturdy water proof box. 

3. Secure your furniture. There are several items in your house that can pose danger. Mirrors for instance, may fall and shatter. Secure your mirrors well on the wall and all other hanging items.

4. Make sure that you and your family have a plan. Always have a agreement where all of you should proceed if disaster strikes. Phone lines might be down and there will difficulty getting connected with each other. 

During an earthquake:

1. If you are indoors, drop to your hands and knees, cover your neck with your arms this will protect you from falling debris and also your vital organs. If you can, try and crawl under a sturdy desk and stay away from windows and anything else that could fall. 

2. Stay inside. Try and stay inside as much as you can if you are at home. Most of the casualties come from those that go out and try to find somewhere else to go. However, if you are in the office, do not use the elevator to evacuate. 

3. If you are outside, stay away from buildings, wires and trees and if you are driving, stop as quickly as you can, stay inside your car and avoid buildings as much as possible. Do not attempt to cross bridges.  

After an earthquake: 

1. Look around first and check if it is safe to move around. Cover your mouth with clothing or a handkerchief in case of dust. 

2. If you are trapped, use your whistle or tap on a pipe. Use shouting as a last resort since you may inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

3. Do not light a match. Especially, if you are using an LPG tank for cooking, this could start a fire or even worse an explosion. 

4. Expect aftershocks. Do not panic, these are usually less intense however they still may cause damage so make sure to still keep in mind the tips during an earthquake. 

Here is a table to check what damage can be caused depending on the intensity of an earthquake:

Source: http://www.dnr.mo.gov
Hope this post may help you. Please comment below if you have anymore tips that may help others.

You may also log on to http://www.ready.gov/ for more detailed information about disaster preparedness. 



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