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Safety Measures During an Earthquake

Updated on May 10, 2014
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Hyatt Hotel, Baguio after 1990 earthquake. My husband still a cadet at the time with the Philippine Military Academy was part of the rescue efforts.Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake in Manila, Philippines on 25 July 2011
Hyatt Hotel, Baguio after 1990 earthquake. My husband still a cadet at the time with the Philippine Military Academy was part of the rescue efforts.
Hyatt Hotel, Baguio after 1990 earthquake. My husband still a cadet at the time with the Philippine Military Academy was part of the rescue efforts. | Source
Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake in Manila, Philippines on 25 July 2011
Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake in Manila, Philippines on 25 July 2011 | Source
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Manila had another earthquake with magnitude of 5.9. Earthquakes for the past few years have become quite regular and these have caused a great deal of damage to a lot of families and communities. Haiti, Chile and most recently, Japan all come to mind. The loss of your home and having most of your possessions destroyed are the most immediate effects you have to deal with on a personal level. Then, there is the effect of the community or town you live in as everyone struggles to rebuild their respective lives and revive the local economy following the disaster.

Once an earthquake strikes, there is no telling what sort of damage it could wreak. However, there is nothing more precious to safeguard and secure than your very own life and those of your loved ones. Homes can be rebuilt, possessions recovered or bought, but a life lost is gone forever. We will never know when or where an earthquake strikes, but for those among us who live in areas where it is frequent and expected, it would be best to be aware and prepared for the eventuality.

The following are a few safety measures that can be incorporated in our life and/or be aware of so as to improve the chances for survival and preserving lives, and maybe even help lessen damage to our home and property:

  • Keep your cheque book, debit card and credit cards in a safe place; so that when there has been extensive damage to your home and the community, you have funds to help you deal with the situation as it would be advisable to vacate the danger zone as soon as possible.
  • Do not keep any precious jewellery at home but keep them safely in your bank’s safety deposit boxes. Most banks in other countries offer these services for free when you have an account with them .

For the Philippines, banks which offer safety deposit boxes in various sizes are Citibank, Metrobank and Banco De Oro. Not all branches have so check the one nearest you or wherever you have an account with them. These might later also come in handy to help finance the repair of your home or for replacing essential items or belongings that may have been lost or damaged in the quake.

  • The second important point is ensuring that you sleep in a place at home where even if an earthquake strikes, there is a safe place for you.

- Identify safe spots at home (i.e. no heavy paintings, chandeliers that might fall while you’re sleeping or taking shelter during the quake).

- Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a bed, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a space next to it when a wall or part of the ceiling collapses onto it.

- Those interior walls where you attach a door inside the house but not the one near the windows are strong and can handle some shock. It is better to be situated near interior walls and not the outside walls

- Get next to an object, under a sturdy table, next to a sofa, next to a bed, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a space next to it when a wall or part of the ceiling collapses onto it.

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- Those interior walls where you attach a door inside the house but not the one near the windows are strong and can handle some shock. It is better to be situated near interior walls and not the outside walls

Building usually are constructed to withstand an earthquake, these walls are durable as they are part of the foundation of a building.
Building usually are constructed to withstand an earthquake, these walls are durable as they are part of the foundation of a building. | Source
  • Have an emergency pack or kit readily available and nearby in your room, and preferably, have a spare one near an exit point in case you have an opportunity to leave your house and should have at least a supply good for at least 2 to 3 days. This kit should be known to everyone in the house. Recommended contents are:

-Documents for identification, IDs.

-Cash, credit cards

-Spare charger and or batteries for mobile phones

-Spare key for car, main door of your house

-If you have a two-way radio good for 1km distance

-Emergency lights preferably flashlights for ease to carry with extra batteries

-Water, crackers or whatever convenient for the whole family.

-Clothing to protect you from cold and other elements. Very convenient are those travel sizes jackets, towel and blankets.

-Small first aid kit (refer to --- photo, basic list of first aid kit)

These are very important especially if you get trapped in your room or house, or it could take some time for emergency services to get to you. Also, in case you are evacuated to a temporary shelter, you have needed essentials at hand.

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  • Be alert to get up once you feel a quake and check/assess your surroundings before doing anything such as trying to run out, especially if you live in a high rise building. In a high rise, you would not want to be caught in the interior of the building and areas such as stairwells and the elevator while trying to get out when an earthquake is in progress.The farther you are from the outer walls of the building, the more likely it will be that your escape route will be blocked. It will also take rescue teams much longer to get to your location.
  • Remember that buildings can stand a certain amount of shock caused by an earthquake. You might have a better chance riding out the quake than trying to get to a safe place while it is in progress. Once the quake has stopped, assess quickly if it is possible to move to a safer area. Keep in mind that there can be aftershocks, so if you decide to move out, do so quickly and know beforehand where you are going before any aftershocks can occur.
  • When designating or choosing a safe area to go to during an earthquake, make sure it is an open space that is also safe from falling debris and power lines that can be toppled during a quake.
  • After a quake, even if it is just a mild one, inspect right away your home for any damage or leaks. If you are in a building, report immediately to your building Administration and ensure immediate repair.

Should we invest in earthquake insurance?

See results

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    • venki_indiain profile image

      Venkat 5 years ago from Chennai

      Hi... You have given awareness and alarm. Good post. Keep it up!

    • profile image

      fashion 5 years ago

      Really useful article.

      Thanks for giving information.

    • Stone Gifts profile image

      Stone Gifts 5 years ago from London

      I used to live in an earthquake area in the Far East (not far from Japan). I know how dangerous and frightening an earthquake can be. And of course, people living in such areas should be ready and know how to act in similar situation. Thanks for useful hub.

    • profile image

      Fred Peel Yates 5 years ago

      Thanks, really useful

    • moiragallaga profile image
      Author

      Moira Garcia Gallaga 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thanks for your comments everyone. We live on the 23rd floor, and the earthquake the other night here in Manila had me worried. The incident and the thought of the previous earthquakes in recent years have inspired me to write this hub. I'm glad you have it useful.

    • sarclair profile image

      sarclair 5 years ago

      This has been voted up and useful. I am sure it is going to help someone. Keep writing.

    • moiragallaga profile image
      Author

      Moira Garcia Gallaga 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thanks for the encouragement sarclair. Awareness and presence of mind are important as it helps minimize injuries and death. My country is prone to natural disasters, typhoons, heavy rains and the resulting flooding, and earthquakes are things to be expected each year. Being prepared for these disasters and knowing how to deal with it becomes essential.

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