What to Do after an Earthquake?


Although experiencing an earthquake can be terrifying, if you are prepared, you will know what to do when one occurs. A daily average of 20 earthquakes is reported by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), and 100 to 150 earthquakes are felt annually.

Because of its location on the western edge of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines frequently experiences seismic and volcanic activity. The Western Philippines fault, Eastern Philippines fault, South of Mindanao Fault, Central Philippine fault, and the Marikina/Valley fault are the five primary faults that are known to exist in the Philippines. Because earthquakes cannot be forecast like typhoons, these active faults put various regions of the nation at risk for them at any moment. Everyone should be equipped with the necessary knowledge of what to do to be prepared after an earthquake.

            Once the earthquake has past, the threat remains. Things can move, fires can start, tsunamis can erupt, and more as a result of aftershocks, landslides, and other ground movements. Pipes can break and household items can move during even a small earthquake. Many of us question if earthquakes have damaged our homes, but what should we be looking for in this situation? Will the harm become apparent later? Given this, here are some things you may want to check in your house after an earthquake.

Read Also: Landslide Risk Reduction Schemes in the Philippines

What to do after an earthquake

  1. Examine your own body and other people’s bodies for wounds. Anyone who needs it should be given first aid.
  2. Anticipate aftershocks. Aftershocks are a good time to practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On, just as you did during the earthquake.
  3. In the event of a tsunami, avoid the beaches.
    • Do not go inside damaged structures or places.
    • Eliminate any spills of potentially hazardous materials.
  4. Stay in communication
    • Due to the possibility of widespread power outages, downed power lines, and overloaded cell phone towers, access to communication might be considerably hampered during and immediately after an earthquake. To do this, make sure to keep an updated list of phone numbers and emergency contacts. Include several different phone chargers in your emergency supply box. In case there are problems with the local connection and you are not with your family when the earthquake strikes, choose an out-of-state emergency contact that you and your family may contact.
    • Use text messaging if there isn’t an urgency following an earthquake. Don’t call your family members. Keep the landlines and cellphones accessible for the paramedics.
  5. Get Your Emergency Kit for Earthquakes.
    • Keeping your larger safety gear handy is another smart move. This will give you the opportunity to provide the necessary first aid, have access to water, and get extra flashlights. In case an earthquake occurs in the middle of the night, we advise individuals to keep a pair of closed-toed shoes and a flashlight close to their mattresses.
    • What essential items should be included in an emergency earthquake kit?
      • Three days’ water supply for each member of your family (at least 1 gallon per person, per day)
      • Three days’ supply of nonperishable food, plus a can opener
      • First aid kits for your home and autos
      • Three days’ supply of food and water for your pets
      • Flashlights in every room with extra batteries
      • Power packs for phones
      • Prescription medications
      • Whistle
      • Swiss Army knife
      • Copies of your personal documents
      • Extra pair of glasses
      • Cash, small bills are best

Read Also: Disaster Preparedness 101: Possible Effects of Earthquakes 

What to check in your house after an earthquake

The repercussions of an earthquake might occasionally take longer to manifest, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Residents are asked to check their house/properties for any recent damages that may have appeared after an earthquake. Officials stated that weeks after an earthquake, walls can split and fissures can appear. According to FEMA authorities, earthquake damage can also be undetectable. If left unattended, cracks between the walls could allow water to seep in and result in rotting wood or a mold issue, among other major issues. Unsupported sections of a structure that has moved from its foundation are weaker and more likely to break away. Here are some of the things you must check in your house after an earthquake:

  • Do a fast survey of your home after an earthquake, even if it appears to be safe, to look for any damage to the walls, roof base, electrical system, or water lines.
  • If you smell gas, open all of the windows and doors, get out right away, and call the police.
  • A spilled liquid should be cleaned up right away, especially if it is combustible.
  • Watch out for debris and shattered glass. To prevent cutting your feet, wear boots or thick shoes.
  • Reenter the residence only after authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • If you’re inside the house, evaluate if the vibrations from passing trucks and buses have become noticeably worse.
  • Watch for cracks in the outside walls. Check to determine if any existing wall cracks are expanding.
  • Check to see if mortars are separating from the blocks.
  • Verify the security of all the water connections, dry pipes, toilets, and faucets.
  • Look inside the house to determine if the floor is divided from the walls or the stairs.
  • Look for wall fissures and built-in furniture, including lights, cabinets, and bookcases.
  • Inspect the area where plumbing lines exit the foundation wall for gaps.
  • Examine whether windows are more difficult to open and whether doors close improperly.
  • See whether there are any leaks in the roof. Look for ceiling water damage.

What makes structures earthquake-proof?

You may know this by utilizing the “How safe is my house? a 12-point quiz that Phivolcs created for homeowners to utilize in determining their home’s earthquake preparation. It does not state that there won’t be any harm to your home or structure. And the Code’s requirement that a structure not collapse allows for this is so that occupants can flee after a tremor. The Phivolcs chairman highlighted that while engineers and municipal officials look into these problems, it is also crucial for home and building owners to collaborate.

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Written by R. Sanchez