Being prepared for natural disasters helps alleviate fear, avoid panic and minimize injuries, loss of life and property damage.
That’s why the staff of Unbound’s Quezon program in the Philippines recently took part in a calamity preparedness seminar.
The seminar focused on earthquakes and was led by Joan Cruz-Salcedo, a supervising science research specialist with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
PHIVOLCS is the government agency responsible for forecasting volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, and forming disaster preparedness and mitigation plans.
By being prepared, Cruz-Salcedo said, organizations can help mitigate the effects of natural disasters, provide services in their aftermath, and have the capability and resources to sustain essential functions “without being overwhelmed by the demand placed on them.”
Unbound’s coordinator in Quezon, Marivic Ihap, said that’s especially important for an organization like Unbound.
“It is good for us to know what we will do and what we can do in case a calamity [like] an earthquake hits us,” she said. … “As a social welfare organization that works with the marginalized, it is our responsibility to also educate our sponsored families. …”
The Philippines is prone to earthquakes as it lies between two major tectonic plates, informational materials provided by PHIVOLCS said.
The country has been hit by 10 earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater in the last 35 years, and “the likelihood of these destructive earthquakes occurring again in the future is indeed very strong,” PHIVOLCS said.
Reports that a major earthquake, popularly known as “The Big One,” could strike the Metro Manila area have caused worry, but being prepared can lessen fears, Ihap said.
Information provided by PHIVOLCS outlined steps to take before, during and after an earthquake strikes. For example, the agency advises preparing workplaces and residences by securing heavy furniture and cabinets to walls to prevent sliding or toppling.
It also advises being familiar with strong parts of buildings such as doorjambs or sturdy tables where it might be possible to take refuge during an earthquake.
Most injuries in earthquakes are caused by falling objects, PHIVOLCS said. The agency recommends storing heavy materials on lower shelves and checking the stability of hanging objects such as light fixtures that might break loose or fall in an earthquake.
It also recommends learning to use fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, alarms and emergency exits, along with preparing and maintaining an earthquake survival kit with a battery-powered radio, flashlight, first-aid kit, potable water, ready-to-eat food, whistle and dust mask.
In addition, the agency provides advice on what to do when outside, in a vehicle or near the seashore during an earthquake, along with steps and precautions to take once the quake is over.
Having this information will help the Unbound staff prepare families in case of an earthquake, prevent panic and save lives.
Help Unbound assist families in natural disasters by donating to Disaster Response.