Earthquake survival guide: Before, during and after

·Contributor
·5 min read

Seismologists recorded a powerful magnitude 7.1 earthquake southeast of the town of Dolores on July 27. According to the US Geological Survey, the tremor struck at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

There were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries but the earthquake damaged a hospital and buildings in Abra. Strong tremors were also felt in Metro Manila.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has ordered the immediate dispatch of rescue and relief teams to Abra, according Malacañang Palace.

The Mountain Province Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office advised motorists that Halsema Highway, also known as Benguet–Mountain Province Road, is closed due to landslide. Officials encourage motorists to postpone all travels as aftershocks are expected. (PHOTOS: Mountain Province DRRM Office)
The Mountain Province Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office advised motorists that Halsema Highway, also known as Benguet–Mountain Province Road, is closed due to landslide. Officials encourage motorists to postpone all travels as aftershocks are expected. (PHOTOS: Mountain Province DRRM Office)

The Philippines is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which causes frequent earthquakes. Due to the collision of major tectonic plates in the region, several earthquakes of smaller magnitude occur on a regular basis. The Celebes Sea earthquake of 1918, with a magnitude of 8.3, was the greatest.

Here are some things you need to know to survive earthquakes .

Preparations for an earthquake

1. Practice duck-cover-hold during earthquake drills in your workplace or residence.

FILE PHOTO: Filipino elementary pupils use protective head gears as they hide under their desks during a simultaneous nationwide earthquake drill in Pasig, Metro Manila June 29, 2012. Tens of thousands of students all over the country took part in a quarterly earthquake drill on Friday to react properly during high intensity earthquakes, disaster prevention officials said. (Source: REUTERS/Erik De Castro)
FILE PHOTO: Filipino elementary pupils use protective head gears as they hide under their desks during a simultaneous nationwide earthquake drill in Pasig, Metro Manila June 29, 2012. Tens of thousands of students all over the country took part in a quarterly earthquake drill on Friday to react properly during high intensity earthquakes, disaster prevention officials said. (Source: REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

2. Comply with your local government’s mandatory evacuations if you are within the designated danger zone.

3. Prepare for evacuation if you live in the following:

  • Near or along fault lines in your area

  • High-rise buildings

  • Mobile homes, temporary shelter or houses made of light materials prone to infrastructural damage

4. Find out where local evacuation centers are located.

5. Prepare a go-bag filled with essentials.

Emergency bag for earthquake. (Photo: Getty Images)
Emergency bag for earthquake. (Photo: Getty Images)
  • Food and water

  • Spare cash and debit/credit cards

  • Clothes and blankets

  • Sturdy shoes

  • Eye protection (goggles)

  • N-95 face masks and face shields

  • First aid kit with necessary medicine

  • Phone, laptop and chargers

  • Flashlights and batteries

  • Important documents

6. Plan out a safe evacuation route.

7. If the internet is still available, monitor the typhoon by checking PHIVOLCS advisories. If not, stay tuned in to radio and TV for more information about the eruption.

8. Reinforce weak structures in your house. Board up windows if necessary. Clear out the gutters and check the roof for holes.

9. Expect power outages. Charge up and prepare flashlights, candles, power banks as well as generators.

10. Stock up on food that are easy to prepare such as canned goods, cup noodles and bread.

11. Take down emergency hotlines for possible rescue.

  • Philippine National Emergency Hotline 911

  • National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Trunk line: (02) 8911-5061 to 65 local 100; Operation Centers: (02) 8911-1406, (02) 8912-2665, (02) 8912-5668, (02) 8911-1873

  • Office of the Civil Defense Trunk line: (02) 8421-1918, (02) 8913-2786

  • Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Hotline: 136; Viber: 0939-922-7161

  • Philippine National Police (PNP) Hotline: 117 or text PNP to 2920; Emergency line: (02) 8722-0650; Text hotline: 0917-847-575

  • Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS)- (02) 426-1468 to 79

Safety and survival during an earthquake

FILE PHOTO: A woman carries her baby past a destroyed church belfry in Tubigon, Bohol, a day after an earthquake hit central Philippines October 16, 2013. (Source: REUTERS/Erik De Castro)
FILE PHOTO: A woman carries her baby past a destroyed church belfry in Tubigon, Bohol, a day after an earthquake hit central Philippines October 16, 2013. (Source: REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

1. If you're driving, pull over and come to a complete stop. Put the parking brake on.

2. If you're in bed, lie in a face down position, then cover your head and neck with a pillow.

3. If you're outdoors, stay away from buildings and other infrastructure that may collapse and fall down on you.

4. If you are indoors, stay there. Do not run outside and avoid doorways, and windows.

5. Keep curtains and blinds closed.

6. Keep track of the tectonic activity in your area.

7. Find a “safe room” and stay inside with your family.

8. Bring your pets inside with you.

9. Keep your emergency-go bags as well as your charged phones within reach.

10. When in danger, call emergency hotlines immediately.

The aftermath and moving forward

FILE PHOTO: An image of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus is seen in front of the collapsed centuries-old Our Lady of Light church in Loon, Bohol, a day after an earthquake hit central Philippines October 16, 2013. (Source: REUTERS/Erik De Castro)
FILE PHOTO: An image of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus is seen in front of the collapsed centuries-old Our Lady of Light church in Loon, Bohol, a day after an earthquake hit central Philippines October 16, 2013. (Source: REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

1. Stay updated and wait for possible aftershocks before going outside.

2. Assess your house for infrastructural damage.

3. Practice social distancing inside an evacuation center.

4. Get injuries treated.

  • Philippine Red Cross Hotline: 143, (02) 8527-8385 to 95

5. Contact your local DSWD office for relief goods.

  • Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

  • Text Hotline: 0918-912-2813

  • Trunk line: (02) 8931-8101 to 07

  • Disaster Response Unit: (02) 8856-3665, (02) 8852-8081

6. Inform your loved ones of your whereabouts and that you are safe.

7. Contact your local electric cooperative to inquire about resumption of power in case of a power outage.

  • MERALCO Hotline 16211

8. For any property loss or property damage, you may apply for a calamity loan under SSS or Pag-ibig within 90 days from the State of Calamity declaration in your area.

Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.

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