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Earthquake Survival Guide

The developing story about the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that occurred in Turkey and Syria is alarming the whole world as the death-toll has now reached over 5,000 according to The Associated Press. Fears loom as it may increase as time passes by. Rescuers are frantic and moving as fast as they can to save people trapped in leveled debris of buildings. Those who survived are asking for blankets and other supplies. It is winter in the said two countries.

The City of Naga conducted a disaster-preparedness-project not too long ago, and Bicol Mail was able to interview one of the officials handling the drill. The City is preparing for “The Big One.” While the City is, proactively, (in foresight) addressing a similar situation, the question is, are you prepared for such an eventuality?

Here is a short but substantial guide from the California Earthquake Authority:

Firstly, we should like to prepare an Earthquake Emergency Kit. This will bridge the time when we are trapped until such time that the rescuers arrive. Generally, the supplies per person should last at least three days. And, this is not a go-kit, but rather, a stay-in-place kit. The kit may be a box or a bag and should be easily accessible.

Secondly, what valuable items should be placed in the kit? Three day’s water supply for each member of the family that would be at least a gallon per person, per day. Three days’ supply of nonperishable food, plus a can opener (if not an easy-open-can). First aid kits. Flashlights in every room with extra batteries. Power packs for phones. Do not forget your prescription medications. A whistle will come in handy. Copies of your personal documents. Cash, small bills are recommended. And, do not forget to refresh water and food supplies every six months.

Thirdly, what kind of foods should be on hand incase of an earthquake? Again, easy-to-open or serve packaging, if not, a manual can opener should be included in the emergency kit. The foods should not increase your thirst. These foods may be; canned meats such as corned beef or sausages, canned fish like sardines or squids. Juice in tetra packs. Milk for children. Cookies or biscuits. Hard candy will also suppress hunger pangs.

Additionally, for the first aid kit you should include adhesive bandages, in all sizes. Flashlight. Blankets. Antiseptic cream and aspirin or acetaminophen are essential items as well. Alcohol, antiseptic towelettes. Each member of the family’s medical history should be accounted for and individual prescription medications should be in the first aid kit.

Moreover, what are the communication supplies that you would need in an earthquake? Flashlights with extra batteries and a battery-powered AM-FM radio is essential, again with extra batteries. Cellphones are a lifeline to the rescuers so be sure to include enough power packs.

Essentially, these supplies need not be expensive. An investment for your family’s emergency kit is a huge factor for you and your family’s survival.

Furthermore, how can we prepare for an earthquake? You may want to have a comprehensive and intensive family meeting about earthquake-preparation. Discuss with them what to do, where to meet if separated, and how you will communicate when it happens. Include work, childcare, and school emergency plans. Doorways are not safe, instead get under a desk or a table. Hold on until the tremors halt. Designate a safe area in each room of the home. Text messages often go through when phone calls would not work, do not give up if you cannot place a call. Keep sturdy shoes to protect the feet from broken glass. Thick gloves may also help in dismantling debris to find a way out.

Basically, remember to DROP! COVER! and HOLD ON! Drop to the floor or the ground. Cover your head with one hand as you get under a table or a desk. And, hold on to the table’s leg until shaking stops.

Finally, you may also fortify your house and consider its geologic and structural risks. Getting an insurance will also mitigate losses to damages of property.

In the year 1990, Luzon was hit by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake, an estimated 1,621 people perished (Source: Wikipedia). Mrs. Sonia Roco widow of the late Senator Raul Roco survived after the Hyatt Terraces Baguio Hotel was destroyed. From a period of eleven to a fourteen-day-ordeal, with the others entombed, they survived drinking rainwater etc. before they were extricated from the rubble. In the final analysis, being prepared for an earthquake will ensure a much higher rate of survival.


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