Saturday, June 13, 2015

Repost: On Earthquakes and Disaster Preparedness

Recently, news reports on the possible earthquake that could be triggered by the Philippine west valley fault line was the headline.  The Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (PhilVols) even provided us a downloadable Valley Fault System Atlas for the Greater Manila Area to give us vital information that will help us plan for an earthquake.  We would never know when it is going to happen but it helps to be prepared.  With that in mind, I dug up an old blog post from March 27, 2010 to share with you again...

I was in the middle of a meeting last Thursday when I suddenly felt dizzy. “Oh my, not another bout of headache…” I thought to myself but then some seconds later, each of us seem to be feeling the same asking each other if they felt it too. It was an earthquake which we later found out to be intensity 6.1 with epicenter at the sea west of Manila which is some kilometers away from our office.

This is another earthquake to hit the country on the same month with no less than 6.0 magnitude, the other one happened at the time when President Gloria Arroyo was delivering her speech in Tuguegarao City last March 2 with a magnitude 6.1. We are just lucky and thankful that the earthquake’s intensity never gets greater and the shaking did not take longer than what our structures could hold.

Just weeks ago, I attended a seminar, although it was not about earthquake, the instructor shared with us a vital piece of information about the ripple effect of the Haiti, Turkey and Chile earthquake which all happened this 2010. He even asked us if we already “tied” our houses tightly (“tinali nyo na ba ang bahay nyo?” that is a jargon in Filipino when you want to emphasize to disaster-proof a house in preparation for a calamity). He went on to say that he was not joking when he asked us that because he said that there were already patterns being studied regarding how the earthquake from one country affects another stating that earthquakes cause the earth’s plates to move thus creating different fault systems. He was also referring to the re-issued warning by the United Nations about a probable earthquake with a magnitude of about 7 to 8 that could strike the nation's capital region.

In news report regarding the February 27 earthquake in Chile with a magnitude of 8.8 and lasted 90 seconds, it stated that according to seismologist the incident may have shortened the length of the day by 1.26 microseconds and moved the Earth's figure axis by 8 cm. I wonder if there is a correlation between the change in the earth’s figure axis and the slight change in the sun’s position because I noticed that the angle of the sun’s ray inside my room seem to have changed slightly or is the sun’s angle really changing depending on the time of the year? Take a moment to study the attached picture which I took on two different dates but the same location and almost the same time.

I am really clueless because we were only taught that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, PERIOD. Maybe in some other highly technical and scientific courses dealing with the study of heavenly bodies they were taught about that. Anyway, at least it is still rising in the east no matter what angle it is and I still see the light of day each morning I wake up. I remember I had an odd dream about this last February that the sun was no longer rising in the east but somewhere in the north and it looked like it was turning red, it’s golden glow was slowly fading. I was awakened by that dream and when I opened my eyes, I looked out the window and boy, was I thankful that I saw the golden light above? DEFINITELY!

Also in February, I attended another seminar about disaster readiness and we also had a fire drill in our office which is in preparation for the fire-prevention month but since the country is predisposed to different catastrophe such as typhoon, flash flood, volcanic eruption (just imagine living within the ring of fire), earthquake and tsunami these were also included in the discussion. These are just some of those things I learned from that seminar which I would like to share with you
  1. In whatever circumstance, it is best to stay calm and have a presence of mind as panicking may only trigger more accidents.
  2. It is not advisable to use the elevator especially during fire or earthquake as one may get trapped inside so the best is to use the nearest stairway exit.
  3. As much as possible steer clear from glass windows or glass doors as common sense dictates that it is extremely dangerous since you might get injured when such glass break down.
  4. At the onset of an earthquake, it is best to keep all entry and exit ways open thus one must take the initiative to ensure that doors or windows be opened the best way possible but during fire, a closed door should not be opened haphazardly. It is wise to touch test the door handle or the door itself before opening it to ensure that it is safe to access because a room on fire behind a closed door will most likely trigger a deadly backdraft once you open its door.
  5. We were also taught that since our office is nearby the harbor, earthquake may trigger a tsunami thus people’s evacuation movement should be up towards the highest floor in the building, the same is true during flashflood whereas during fire it should be a downward movement whenever possible so that fire rescuers will not a have a difficult time reaching you.
  6. Though you may find it useless for now, but a whistle and a flashlight is a very necessary tool when calamities strike thus it helps when you have one stored in your drawer and remember to take it with you at the onset of disaster. That will surely be needed when you are trapped in the middle of nowhere as these may be used to lead rescuers to where you are. Just remember Rose in the movie Titanic where she was rescued in the middle of the ocean alongside a pool of dead bodies with the help of a handy dandy whistle.
So there, wish you get something useful to share with others too. I hope company owners will take the initiative to engage in disaster readiness to make them prepared and to prevent possible loss of lives and further property damage. May we all be safe.


  1. Earthquakes and disaster,its bring sorrowful for the people...

  2. That is useful information my friend, thanks for posted it

  3. You are very much welcome. It will always be my pleasure to publish posts that could be of benefit to others.

  4. Nakaka-paranoid. But it really helps when I read articles like this.
    Let us all pray na lang that "the big one" won't happen..