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Experts believe that any time now, a major earthquake can strike the country. While we don’t know when that will happen, what time, or even where, there is one thing we do know—preparation can make the difference between death and survival.
Experts say the Philippines is already ripe for a major earthquake. True or not, we should all take start taking disaster preparation seriously. Because often, what stands between death and survival is an ounce of preparation and a keen presence of mind. Here are 10 tips that will actually save your life and your family’s.
1. Teach Your Family About Earthquake Safety
Learn what actions to do when an earthquake happens—fast action is key. Teach them to know the safe places in a room where they can immediately take shelter like under a strong desk or in stout doorways. Organize earthquake drills, especially with the children. Make sure that everyone in the family knows first aid. After the earthquake, immediately check for injuries and damage. If a person is bleeding, use a clean cloth and apply direct pressure on the wound. Do not move seriously injured persons. Instead, call an ambulance.
2. Pack a bug-out bag
Have a bug-out bag ready. If you can make one for each family member, why not? It should include a first aid kit, some medical supplies, bottled water, and canned goods. Also, have a battery-operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries, disposable lighters, and blankets on standby. Keep them in accessible places and make sure everyone knows where they are and that they should get them.
3. Be Aware of Danger Spots
If you have a mirror on the wall over your bed, now is the time to move it. Secure heavy furniture that could fall on you like bookcases. Keep heavy objects in bottom shelves. The weight will hold it down.
4. Don’t forget the golden rule: Drop, Cover, and Hold
If you are indoors and the shaking begins, DROP under a sturdy desk or a doorway, press your face against your arm to COVER your eyes and head, and HOLD on to the desk that you are taking cover from. Stay away from windows, which can shatter and shower you with shards.
5. Stay on the bed
If there isn’t anything that can fall on you, stay on the bed, hold on to something solid, and protect your head with a pillow. Studies show that people who were injured during earthquakes would have avoided injuries if they had only stayed in bed.
6. Go to open areas
When you are outside, your only goal is to not have anything fall on you. So head to an open area where no objects can fall on you. Move away from buildings, trees, and power lines.
7. Stay inside the car
The car can actually be a good shield. If you’re driving when the earthquake happens, quickly but carefully move away from traffic, get to an open area, and stop. Do not stop under light posts or trees. Stay inside your car until the ground stops shaking.
8. Plan an escape route
In case there is power outage and everything goes pitch-black inside the house, plan an escape route that will direct your family to a safe place. Use glow in the dark stickers that will show family members the way to safety.
9. Watch out for fires
Fires often happen post-disaster. After an earthquake, quickly make a scan of your house and unplug major appliances or, if you can, turn off the breaker. Have a fire extinguisher on standby. Check for water spillage and broken wires. Don’t use gas yet until after you have the hose checked.
10. Plan for an alternative mode of communication
When disaster strikes, communication and power lines will be out for a few days. Prepare for this and come up with alternative mode of communication for your family. Invest in a battery-operated or cranked radio and walkie-talkies.