A magnitude 7 earthquake on Wednesday put to test those in Manila's high-rise buildings, including condo dwellers who were caught off guard dealing with the most unpredictable of natural calamities.
Earthquakes can strike anytime and often in countries like the Philippines, which is well within the Pacific Ring of Fire that is filled with volcanoes, highlighting the need for disaster preparedness.
For condo dwellers and employees in high-rise buildings, here's a refresher of tips on what to do during and after an earthquake from developers DMCI Homes and Federal Land:
During an earthquake..
- Drop to the floor, get under a sturdy table, protect your head and stay there until the earthquake is over.
- Seek shelter near an interior wall of your condo or under support beams when ducking under sturdy furniture is impossible.
- Do not move around and avoid using the elevators.
- When an earthquake strikes while you are asleep or on the bed, use your pillow to cover your head and neck. Leave only when there's a threat of a fixture or debris that might fall on you.
- Wait until the shaking or aftershocks stop before walking out of the room or condo building
Once the shaking is over...
- Do not use the elevator when leaving the building to avoid getting trapped in case electricity goes out.
- Look around to see if it is safe to exit the building.
- Once outside the building, find an open area free from possible debris.
- Check if you or anyone needs help and provide first aid.
- If trapped, make noises to alert rescuers.
- Wait for advice from condo personnel on when it's already safe enough to come back to your place.
- Once back in your unit, check for possible damages and make necessary repairs.
Here are tips on how to best prepare yourself for future earthquakes:
- Check if your condominium is near or located on top of fault lines.
- Inspect condo premises and check for cracks.
- Look for safety certifications and check with inspectors.
- Familiarize yourself with the safety spots and emergency exits.
- Prepare a list of emergency hotlines.
- Pack an emergency kit which includes basic needs like drinking water, easy-to-prepare foods which could last three days, flashlights, power banks, batteries, tools, clothes, toiletries, cash, important documents, and others.
- For those living with vulnerable people, devise a strategy on how to evacuate them in case of emergencies.
- Secure your heavy belongings such as furniture, televisions and refrigerators to the wall or floor.
- Remove objects from high places to prevent them from falling on you.
- Consider getting an insurance for yourself and your properties.
- Join earthquake and other drills.