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Disaster can strike anytime and anywhere, just like the powerful magnitude 6.5 quake that rocked parts of Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao last Friday, July 7. Keeping in mind all those mandatory participation in earthquake drills (yep – been there, done that), the best and most handy protection from harm is preparedness.

With that, allow us to list 5 things you should do when an earthquake strikes:

1. Duck, Cover, Hold

Follow the duck (drop), cover, hold method once an earthquake strikes. This is not the time to take a selfie, or a snap. You know the online sphere would not have life-threatening ground shakes like the Earth. Seek cover in a sturdy table or desk and stay put. If possible, immediately exit the building while protecting your head with your arms. Stay away from glass windows, shelves, cabinets, and other heavy objects. In short, “Kapit lang, besh!”

2. Remain Calm

Panicking during an earthquake does more harm than good. Trust me. It’s like a contagious and toxic virus that can affect everyone in your proximity. If everyone exits the building in a calm and orderly fashion, no one will topple themselves (and cause the same to another screaming person wanting to get out).

3. Grab your 72-hour survival kit

This is where your disaster preparedness will come in handy. During or after the quake, and if the circumstance allows it, grab your 72-hour survival kit. This should be somewhere near your office desk, in your school locker, or in a storage bin near your house door. The kit should contain the following:

  • Bottled water
  • Ready-to-eat food
  • Clothes
  • Toiletry
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency money
  • Cellphone
  • Whistle
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Important documents

4. Carry out emergency plan

This is you being extensively prepared and knowing exactly what to do when a disaster like an earthquake happens. Immediately go to the nearest evacuation area your workplace, school, or barangay designated for you. Stay away from trees, power lines, posts, and buildings. Always watch out for falling items and do not try to cross bridges or flyovers.

If you are on the road during the quake, stop the car and head to an open space. Stay away from slopes prone to landslide. If living near the ocean, however, wait for tsunami warnings and evacuate to higher ground. Expect that aftershocks can happen. (You’ve been warned.)

5. Check yourself and your surroundings

Once you have evacuated, check yourself and companions for any injury in need of medical attention. Look at any spill of toxic and flammable chemicals.  Damaged water and electricity lines should also be noted. Continue listening to announcements and warnings via your battery-operated radio. If you have to evacuate from your home, leave a note at your door or gate saying where you are headed.

Are you prepared in case an earthquake strikes? Be a champion of disaster risk reduction!

Illustrations by Madel Crudo

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