Thursday, March 5, 2015

Earthquake Safety at Home

Smack-dab in the Pacific Rim of Fire, the Philippines is within the most seismically active region in the world. Up to 90% of the world's earthquakes take place within this circum-Pacific belt, which spans western North and South America, Japan, Indonesia, and New Zealand, among others.

It's been a while since the Philippines has suffered any major earthquakes -- and let's all hope it remains that way -- but for the sake of safety, let's look at a couple of tips to keep us earthquake-ready at home.

Inspect for any cracks.
Cracks are signs of structural weakness. Inspect your walls and the pillars of your home. Deep cracks toward the base may point to problems in your home's foundation. Seek professional opinion for extra measure. Look to a licensed contractor to inspect or remedy any concerns.

Keep electrical wiring and gas pipes in good condition.
Electrical wiring and gas connections must be in tip-top working condition. Faulty fittings are fire hazards: they can break loose during an earthquake and cause fire. Get a plumber to install flexible fittings on your gas pipes. You can have this done on your water pipes as well, as an extra measure against leaking and flooding.

Secure furniture.
Make a tally of shelves, bookcases, wall units, statues, and other tall, heavy, and unsecured furniture within your home. Fasten or attach them to the wall using brackets or nylon cord to ensure that they won't topple over and cause damage or injury.

Don't place heavy or breakable items on high shelves.
Earthquake-prone or not, this is nigh on asking for disaster. Don't put large, heavy objects or breakable items on high shelves. Keep them stored within safe cupboards or closets, or keep them near the floor instead.

Keep flammable items in closets.
Flammable items as well as poisons like pesticides should be stored in a safe place, like a locked cabinet, a cupboard, or -- best yet -- in your garage or outdoor shed.

Keep heavy furnishings away from you.
Large, heavy paintings, framed photos, chandeliers, and other overhead fixtures should be kept away from the bed and other sitting or lounging areas within the home.

Prepare an emergency kit.
Store a kit in your home containing the following: emergency canned food and drinking water, flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, a first aid kit, a heavy-duty plastic sheet or tarp, a toolbox, clothes, some cash, and pet food for any pets.

Take note of good cover.
A large, strong, sturdy desk or table makes for a good cover during an earthquake, more so than a doorway. Keep breakables away from this desk.

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