Earthquake Survival 101


by Rey Beltran |

With the recent release of the Valley Fault Atlas by the Philippine Institue of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), it’s appropriate that we have to remind our valued readers of what to do when an earthquake strikes.

But first thing’s first. Have you checked if your home or workplace is near or on top of the valley fault system?

The Valley Fault System (also known as the Marikina Valley Fault System) is a dominantly dextral strike-slip fault system that extends from Dingalan, Aurora, in the north and runs through the cities of Quezon, Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Parañaque, Taguig, and the provinces of Laguna and Cavite.

A strike-slip fault system means that the ground movement is horizontal. A dextral strike-slip movement is when the ground moves to the right, when viewed from the surface of the earth. The opposite movement (which is to the left) is called sinistral.

Check this link to know if you’re located on an earthquake zone:

When earthquake happens, here’s what you should do:

  • If you are indoors, stay there. Quickly move to a safe location in the room such as under a strong desk, a strong table, or along an interior wall. The goal is to protect yourself from falling objects and be located near the structural strong points of the room. Avoid taking cover near windows, large mirrors, hanging objects, heavy furniture, heavy appliances or fireplaces.
  • If you are cooking, turn off the stove and take cover.
  • If you are outdoors, move to an open area where falling objects are unlikely to strike you. Move away from buildings, powerlines and trees.
  • If you are driving, slow down smoothly and stop on the side of the road. Avoid stopping on or under bridges and overpasses, or under power lines, trees and large signs. Stay in your car.

After the earthquake:

  • Check for injuries, attend to injuries if needed, help ensure the safety of people around you.
  • Check for damage. If your building is badly damaged you should leave it until it has been inspected by a safety professional.
  • If you smell or hear a gas leak, get everyone outside and open windows and doors. If you can do it safely, turn off the gas at the meter. Report the leak to the gas company and fire department. Do not use any electrical appliances because a tiny spark could ignite the gas.
  • If the power is out, unplug major appliances to prevent possible damage when the power is turned back on. If you see sparks, frayed wires, or smell hot insulation turn off electricity at the main fuse box or breaker. If you will have to step in water to turn off the electricity you should call a professional to turn it off for you.

And we bid you all to be safe, be prepared, know what to do.

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