Metro Manila · Safety Tips for Earthquakes
Earthquakes are quite common in the Philippines. They are mostly harmless but there is a a certain risk for stronger earthquakes, so you should be prepared. Here is the Megacitizens Safety Guide for Earthquakes, including links to the Valley Fault System Atlas.
Most earthquakes are small and people in the Megacity hardly feel them or do not recognize them as an earthquake. Often they are only noticeable on upper floors of high-rise buildings.
However, Metro Manila is built on the Valley Fault System. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), "the VFS is an active fault system in the Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA) with two fault traces: the 10 km long East Valley Fault in Rizal and the 100 km long West Valley Fault runs through different cities and towns of Bulacan, Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna. The West Valley Fault can generate a large earthquake which poses threat to people’s lives, buildings and infrastructures, and livelihood."
Here are our tips to secure your safety when the shaking gets serious.
- Be informed. Download the recently published Valley Fault System Atlas by PHIVOLCS to see if you live or work in one of the higher-risk areas (Here is an alternative link, provided by GMA News Online). The PHIVOLCS website and Facebook page provide news on the latest earthquakes and related topics, while their website provides a preparedness guide, hazard maps, and more. Google just launched Google Public Alerts last year. You can easily locate earthquakes, typhoons and other natural hazards on the map, check the magnitude and other information, and get more specific safety tips.
- Keep a flashlight and a first aid kit in an easily accessible place at your home. You may also prepare a survival kit with theses items plus a whistle, bottled water, a portable radio, batteries, canned food and a can opener.
- Drop to the ground during the earthquake, hide under your table, desk, or other piece of furniture, or dodge beside a bulky peace of furniture and cling to it.
- Stay away from anything that could fall and/or break: windows, lamps, shelves, mirrors,...
- If you are in bed, stay there (unless you are near a window or another risky object), curl up and protect your head with a pillow.
- Turn off electricity and gas if the earthquake was strong and your house is damaged.
- Be aware where the emergency exits in your building are located. Do not use the elevators, even if they are still working. Only leave the house after the shaking has stopped.
- Identify a safe place where you can quickly go after an earthquake. If you are already outdoors, move away from buildings, trees and power lines. Go to an open area where falling objects won't strike you.
- If you are at the beach or elsewhere near the coast, proceed to a higher ground, as big waves may hit the land. (Full-fledged tsunamis are rather rare in the Philippines, the last one hit Mindanao in 1976.)
- If you are driving, slow down smoothly, stop on the side of the road and stay in your car. Avoid stopping under bridges, overpasses, trees, power lines and large signs. Keep a flashlight and a first aid kit in your car.
- Be aware that traffic will be heavy afterwards and that the trains may not be operating if the earthquake was strong.
- Make sure your cellphone is always charged and you have the main emergency hotlines in your phone book. The general emergency hotline for Manila is (632) 911.