Filipinos are no stranger to earthquakes and its unforgiving wrath of destruction. We had become familiar on “things to do” based on frequently conducted drills, preparedness campaigns and even on various posts on social media. Still, more people are misinformed and under practiced.
Here are some key points that will improve your safety during a quake.
1. Keep your eyes open.
Whenever you go for cover or evacuate a structure, never limit your field of vision. Look from side-to-side and from top-to-bottom to assess the situation. Opened eyes allow you to be oriented on what is happening around you. This enables you to decide and react immediately to impending danger.
2. Don’t run outside.
Running outside increases the chance of getting injured or killed by falling debris such as shards of glass, loose fixtures or a collapsing wall. Even the oncoming traffic can be a hazard if you are near a busy street.
3. Don’t go social.
Some people during earthquake drills or even during the actual event are taking selfies or going live online. Guilty? Spend the time during the quake on prioritizing your safety and planning your next move.
Indoors or near a sturdy table or seat? Drop, take cover below it, and don’t forget to hold that table! The shaking will eventually move it and you need that table to cover you from debris.
Indoors or outdoors with no cover? No problem. Tripod position means kneeling and using both hands to provide stability and easy movement. Make sure you are away from windows.
Carefully move away from a building and electrical post towards an open area. You may stay low and in a tripod position. Assess the area for possible hazards such as falling debris and oncoming traffic. You can also use your backpack/bag to cover your head.
Driving? Gradually reduce your speed and safely stop at the shoulder of the road. Make sure to stop at a safe area. Turnoff the engine and keep the hazard lights on. Avoid blocking the middle of the road to allow emergency vehicles to pass through. Don’t attempt to cross bridges, tunnels, overpass. If quake occurs in that location, safely cross the structure then stop safely away from it.
8. Stuck in Traffic?
Depending on the location, assess for any unstable structures that may collapse. If such hazards exist, it is suggested to turnoff the engine, engage the hand brake and move carefully onfoot towards a safer area.
9. Inside a moving bus or train?
Drivers must observe to safely stop the vehicle. Whenever you are in a train or bus, make sure to protect your head when you are seated or firmly hold on a handrail or safety strap while standing firmly to avoid falling.
10. Remain calm.
Being calm allows you to focus and make appropriate split-second decisions. It helps you overcome fear and panic, potentially saving you or your loved ones from any risky indiscreet action or freezing/immobility in that critical moment.