An earthquake is one of the deadliest natural disasters known to man. It destroys sky-high, towering buildings and houses – old and new. Furthermore, our country is situated in the ring of fire. This makes the possibility of earthquakes more frightening and the availment of a home insurance in the Philippines a must.
Recently, the country has been plagued with strong earthquakes that have 4.0 to 6.5 magnitude. Epicenters seem to get closer to cities; this will spell more enormous casualties and damages. More importantly, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) had warned us about the “Big One”. The frightening earthquake is said to deliver tremors at a 7.5 magnitude. At that strength, it can destroy bridges and create large cracks in major roads. Many seismologists advise the public to make preparations because it can happen anytime.
From this standpoint, the urgency to retrofit your house is no longer debatable. Your home is an extension of yourself. With this in mind, here’s a checklist of questions and tips to help your home be earthquake-resistant.
Assessing Your Situation
Before conducting any structural improvements, it is helpful to assess your house on its current status. This will help you gauge the steps you need to make your home a safer place. Here are questions for you to reflect on:
1. Who built or designed my house?
2. How old is my house?
3. Has my house been damaged by past earthquakes and other disasters?
4. What is the shape of my house?
5. Has my house been extended or expanded?
6. What is the soil condition under my house?
7. What is the foundation of my house?
8. What is the overall condition of my house?
It is essential to know the designer of your house. Houses are most likely to withstand disasters if licensed contractors and architects built it. Owners must also be well-informed of the history of their house. By answering these, you will be able to scope the improvements you want to implement to your house.
Improving What You Have
Once done assessing your house, it’s expected that a whole bunch of ideas is already spiraling inside your head. Here are home improvements tips you may consider doing:
· Consult with licensed contractors and architects to retrofit your house in alignment with the National Building Code.
· Reshape your home because regular-shaped houses tend to hold its ground when earthquakes happen.
· Add the right amount of the building materials like concrete walls, steel bars, and galvanized iron sheets to help strengthen your home.
· Check if gables are light or anchored correctly in the house (houses with flat roofs and gable-less tend to remain undamaged in the face of an earthquake).
· Reinforce concrete to have higher chances of holding out against earthquakes.
· Attach anchor bolts and steel plates between your home and foundation.
· Brace strategic locations in your house including your foundations.
With these improvements, a house will be less likely to incur heavy damage from an earthquake. This serves as a preventive measure of the unexpected disaster.
Insuring Your Home
This is the most important decision you can make as a homeowner. Having a homeowner’s insurance in the Philippines secures your house from earthquakes and protects you from financial ruin. Since earthquakes are dangerously unpredictable, it may be hard to determine what comes after. When caught unprepared, you can lose your house and even suffer injuries in the process. If worse comes to worst and your house turns to rubble, you will have to shell out all that’s left for evacuation, renovation, and hospitalization.
The “Big One” is coming. No one knows when but it will definitely arrive at a time we least expect. This is the reason why homeowners should be keen enough to secure their houses. The effort on done doing so will merit safety and security for you and your family.