5 Ways to Be Earthquake-Ready

Disaster preparedness is, literally, a matter of life and death. Protect yourself and your loved ones with this guide. By Diona Valdez

Major or not, experiencing natural calamities reminds us how little control we have over the unexpected yet inevitable. But it doesn’t mean we can’t take charge of our safety and minimize life-changing damages from these disasters. Here’s our earthquake-preparedness guide:

1. Watch out for potential hazards.

Do a visual inspection at home. Objects that may fall or shift when the ground shakes, particularly pesticides, flammable products, and breakable items—bottles, kitchenware, and décor—should be placed in closed cabinets with latches.

Secure overhead light fixtures with closed hooks. Fasten shelves to walls and put heavy items on lower levels. Minimize fire risks by repairing leaky gas connections and faulty electrical wiring. Hang picture frames and mirrors away from places where people sit.

2. Identify safe spots.

Scout for locations that can protect you from falling matter. Indoor areas such as under a sturdy table or desk are solid options.

Stay away from places where glass could break around and heavy furniture could fall over. When outdoors, avoid getting near buildings, trees, electrical lines, and lampposts.

3. Practice how to duck, cover, and hold on.

Organize drills at home to familiarize your loved ones with safety measures instead of panicking. As soon as an earthquake hits, duck down to the floor and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Take cover under sturdy furniture. Hold on to its posts and be ready to move with it until the shaking stops.

If you’re in a high-rise building and there are no tables around, move against a wall and don’t ride the elevator. Always be aware of your surroundings—never close your eyes.

4. Prepare an emergency kit that you can grab easily.

Having supplies on hand will help you survive post-calamity. After an earthquake, access to basic necessities like water, food, and electricity might not be available for up to a week. Pack enough water and food to last for at least 72 hours. A flashlight, extra batteries, medicines, cash, a fully-charged power bank, and first-aid items should also be included. In the event of a catastrophe, make sure the kit is easily accessible so keep it where you spend most of your time every day.

5. Work out an emergency communication plan.

Consider the possibility that your family might get separated from each other during a disaster. Devise a plan for reuniting with them after an earthquake. Power might be out, so it’s best not to rely on mobile phones and other gadgets.

Assign an out-of-city relative or friend to be your emergency contact. Make sure the whole family knows this person’s full name, address, and contact number.

Also, take note of government-designated evacuation centers where you can find shelter in case major roads are impassable.

A good plan is your solid foundation toward earthquake preparedness. Choose a home designed to resist major calamities and lessen potential losses. Carefully assess if it has passed structural standards and has safeguards in place to guarantee peace of mind for you and your loved ones amid any natural disaster.