The only predictable thing about Mother Nature is her unpredictability, especially now that we are experiencing effects of climate change. Natural disasters, much like accidents, are unforeseen. They can occur while you are at home, at work or outside the house.
DW.com mentions that the Philippines is very prone to natural disasters such as typhoons, volcano eruptions and earthquakes because it is located along the Ring of Fire, an area in the Pacific Ocean where most of Earth’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes take place. Just recently, Batangas was hit by several earthquakes, also described as “earthquake swarm.” The town of Mabini was hit by a magnitude 5.6 earthquake followed by a magnitude 6.0 tremor.
News regarding the “Big One” has been circulating all over our newsfeeds for quite some time now creating panic and fear among our fellow Filipinos. Several articles say that a strong earthquake may hit Metro Manila and the nearby provinces as a result of the West Valley Fault system’s movement. But the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) was quick to refute this news saying that there is no technology in the world that can accurately predict exactly when and where an earthquake will take place.
Nonetheless, the agency is urging everyone to remain alert and calm in case any disaster, such as earthquakes, takes place. An adequate preparation is highly recommended. You should know the emergency exit locations and remember to stay indoors until the shaking stops and that it’s already safe to exit. If you are outdoors, stay away from tall buildings, street signs, trees and especially power lines that might trap you.
One very important thing to remember is to have an Earthquake Survival Kit. Given that earthquakes are very unpredictable and that aftershocks must be expected, it is recommended to prepare a kit that can last up to at least 72 hours per person. This kit must also be placed in an area near an exit of the house and must be easy to carry.
If you’re planning to set up your kit at home, below are the recommended contents:
Water & Food Supply. It is imperative that each person keeps at least a three-day supply of water. However, children, nursing mothers and the elderly may need more water. Water supplies must be stored in clean plastic containers. Red Cross suggests that a person consumes a gallon of water per day.
Store as well at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food that doesn’t require much cooking, preparation or refrigeration. Pack also the necessary utensils that you will need especially can opener. Ready-to-eat canned meats, crackers, fruit bars, canned juices are highly-recommended. During disasters, supermarkets are usually packed with people cramming to buy foods so it’s better if you already have a stock at home. Make sure that you check your pack at least twice a year to avoid storing expired canned foods as well as stocked water as these might be harmful.
First Aid Kit. During earthquakes, it is possible that a family member might be trapped under fallen debris and injuries were sustained that needs immediate medical attention. Even minor injuries should be treated immediately and sterilized.
- Pair of gloves
- Sterile dressings
- Soap and antibiotic towelettes
- Antibiotic ointments
- Family prescribed medication
- Adhesive bandages
- Non-prescription drugs
Clothes. Each family member must pack extra clothing as well as blankets in case of cold weather. Pack these in plastic in order to avoid being soaked in water. These blankets can be helpful when sleeping in an unfamiliar area.
Cash & Important Documents. ATM’s might be inaccessible and non-functional during disasters so it’s better to have an emergency fund in your survival kit. Banks and other financial might be closed as well. Having cash on hand is essential especially when you need to stay in a hotel for a few nights if your house got damaged. Photocopies of your important documents must also be stored in the kit and placed in plastic to avoid being destroyed by water. Documents may include: deed of your property, passports, birth certificates, etc.
Flashlight and batteries. During and after an earthquake, there is a big possibility of a blackout. And it is important that you have a flashlight so it will be easy for you to locate your family members, or to find your way through fallen debris. You many choose to pack both a solar powered flashlight and a battery powered one. A box of matches might also come in handy.
Toiletries. You may also opt to pack some toiletries in your kit. It is important to keep yourself clean at all times.
List of phone numbers. It’s always good to keep a list of emergency phone numbers that you can call in times of distress. Earthquakes sometimes lead to earthquake fires so it’s important to list down numbers of the nearest fire station numbers. Hospital numbers nearby will also come in handy. Sometimes there are stampedes due to people panicking so we lose track of our children or some elderly so a list of your cell phone numbers will come in handy as well, in case one of you gets lost.
Whistle. If an earthquake strikes during working hours, there are many people who might be trapped while trapped in a fallen building. Whistling is a good way to send a signal to rescuers that you are alive and in need of rescuing.
You may also opt to pack the some additional items below:
- Battery powered radio. Since it’s important to conserve your cell phone batteries as much as possible, one can always pack a small radio so you’ll have access to the latest weather report around your area.
- Compass. In case you’re displaced in an unfamiliar area, it’s always good to have a compass with you to determine your location.
- Pet Supplies. In case you have pets with you, you should pack food supplies for them as well. A special kit for your pets is also recommended with your name and address in case your pet gets lost.
- Tools. Carrying tools can also be in your advantage although it might make your kit a bit heavy.
Aside from preparing a kit at home, you can also prepare one and put it in your car or inside your office drawer. You’ll never know when an earthquake will hit you so it’s always an advantage to prepare for it.
Have an emergency plan at home and brief your family members so everyone knows what to do in case it happens. Do the same at work and learn about your building’s emergency exit plans. Remember that your life matters more than your properties so leave some huge belongings that might hinder you from escaping.
Aside from preparing a kit, another way to ensure you and your family’s future is to get insured. Malayan Insurance offers a Personal Accident Insurance for as low as Php 650.00. Not only can you insure yourself but also your properties. With Malayan’s Home Protect Plus and Business Protect, you can insure the structure of your home and its contents, as well as your business stocks and your employees.
For more details regarding our products, visit www.malayan.com.