As a country that almost entirely lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is an earthquake-prone country. Many Filipinos have experienced earthquakes at some point in their lives. Although most earthquakes do not lead to significant damage or human harm, one should still be prepared for when a major earthquake strikes.
Here are some tips on what to do before, during, and after an earthquake:
BEFORE AN EARTHQUAKE
• Develop an emergency plan.
• Familiarize yourself with your place of work or residence.
• Take note of hotlines and emergency numbers to call for help.
• Prepare an emergency supply kit consisting of food, water, clothing, first aid supplies, mobile phone, whistle, flashlight, & extra batteries.
• Secure heavy furniture and objects, which may break loose & fall during earthquakes.
DURING AN EARTHQUAKE
• Do not panic; remain calm.
• If inside a building:
− Do not jump out of the building.
− Go to the nearest exit and leave the building as soon as possible.
− If the building is structurally sturdy, stay inside and brace yourself in a doorway, or stay beside or underneath sturdy furniture to protect yourself from falling objects.
• If outdoors:
− Move to an open area away from nearby buildings, bridges, posts, power lines, and other structures that may fall or collapse.
− If driving, pull over to the side of the road and stay as low as possible inside the vehicle.
AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE
• Check yourself for any injuries.
• Check for injured or trapped people near the affected area.
• Seek medical help if you or others are injured.
• Check for fire, toxic chemical spills, and other hazards in your surroundings.
• Check water and electric lines for defects or damage.
• Listen to the radio or watch local TV for additional information and safety instructions.
• Inspect gas, water, and electric lines for any damage and leak. If in doubt, shut off main switches.
• Evacuate immediately if you smell gas or hear a gas leak and you are not able to shut the leak off.
• Stay away from damaged buildings.
It is also worth noting that minor earthquakes, while not necessary requiring the above responses, can trigger anxiety or panic attacks. Communicate with your friends and loved ones who experienced an earthquake and be ready to provide emotional support.