The Philippines is known to be part of the earthquake belt, as part of the Pacific Ring of Fire which spreads across the northwestern tip of North America towards the western Pacific Ocean.
But what’s not known is the occurrence of earthquakes and the magnitude of their strength. That is why Japan, one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, but also part of that region where earthquakes are a frequent occurrence, devised plans to make building structures withstand this force of nature, such as including seismic isolation and vibration control features.
In the Philippines, where technology is catching up, and plenty of buildings are both fire- and quake-hazard, the danger of earthquakes does not only result in toppled buildings but also fires, gas leaks, and other forms of destruction. To prevent or minimize damage at homes during an event of an earthquake, here are things to check out:
1. Check electrical connections: Consult with an expert electrician to check electrical wirings, exposed connections, and other potential sources of fires triggered by an earthquake.
2. Check gas supply: cooking stoves powered by LPG as well as building gas supply lines should be checked appropriately to ensure prevention or mitigate damage caused by gas leaks once earthquakes occur.
3. Tighten security to stabilize electrical appliances and furniture: In an event of an earthquake, home appliances such as refrigerators and cabinets might vibrate and topple down. To prevent this, provide enough security by tightening its grip or bolting them to the floor or wall.
4. Check automatic shut-off valves of utility lines. Check with your gas supplier if there is a shut-off valve installed to automatically disable the gas supply once strong vibration is detected.
5. Check hanging appliances and decoration: Reinforce fastened wall decorations such as wall paintings, mirrors, and floating shelves whose grip or hooks may have loosened.
6. Place heavy objects closer to the floor.
7. Store bottled foods, glass, china, and other ceramic ware on lower shelves of the fridge or cabinets that are closed and locked.
8. Identify the location where family members can seek refuge in case they’re inside the house during an earthquake. This can be the space under a sturdy dining table.
9. Identify escape routes and clear them from any obstruction.
10. Hold earthquake drills with family to go through the standard procedure when an earthquake strikes at home.
11. Keep handy the emergency hotlines to call during emergencies, not only during earthquakes but also fires, floods, or landslides.