It’s a scary world out there. There’s a possibility that a major earthquake, a.k.a ‘The Big One’ might shake a greater chunk of Metro Manila. Floods can also wipe out our shores. And let’s not forget the possibility of a meteor just wiping the hell out of our existence. While all these thoughts might make you ask some existential questions (Why am I still doing this dreadful 9-to-5 job if an earthquake can just kill me tomorrow?), there’s still a good chance that you will survive these disasters. Just think about all the good that life has to offer and pull yourself from having an existential crisis. This is not the time to be thinking of some philosophical stuff. This is the time to make a list, to plan ahead, and to prepare yourself for what’s about to come.
Just in case, we’ve listed some things that you should know (and do!) before any of these disasters even happen. Like the old saying goes: Better be safe than sorry.
Prepare an emergency kit.
Nothing like a fool-proof plan to help you get ready for a deadly disaster. Use a water and fire-proof container for this, and make sure that everything you have inside can be used even without tools and electricity, and will last for at least a week. Here’s a list of essentials:
- Flashlight and batteries
- Drinking water
- First aid kit with medicines
- Portable radio with batteries
- Sanitary supplies
- Ready-to-eat food (granola bars, crackers, easy-open canned goods)
- Rope, duct tape
Know how earthquake and flood-prone your area is.
The most flood-prone areas in Metro Manila are Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela City, but it’s also worth noting that the España Boulevard in Manila often floods during the rainy season, and the Marikina River is also prone to spilling over nearby areas. For earthquake-prone areas, you can check out this seismic map.
Memorize the numbers of local rescue units.
If you can still memorize your ex’s phone number, you definitely still have space in your brain for emergency contacts. These numbers come in handy in case you get stuck in the middle of nowhere during a disaster.
In case of an earthquake: duck, cover, and hold.
Yes, yes. The good old ‘Duck, Cover, and Hold’ mantra is really effective. In case of an earthquake, find a sturdy table where you can take cover, and make sure to protect your head from falling debris. Don’t move until the shaking is over. Once the ground settles, walk as fast as you can to the nearest exit, while still covering your head from falling debris. Running is not recommended because you might lose balance.
In case of a flood: evacuate as fast as you can.
If you live in a flood-prone area, chances are, your house would get flooded when a storm hits. So before you even see the water rising at your front door, evacuate to a higher place, but don’t forget to bring your essentials (and your emergency kit!) with you. Most flood-prone cities already have evacuation plans ready for times like these, so it’s better to get in touch with your LGU to learn about it.
Know the emergency hotlines
911 is for any emergency. 117 is for PNP. Dial 911-5061 to 65 for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Take these numbers to heart — they might just save your life.
Just like that clip that they show before the movie previews, it’s a whole lot safer (not to mention efficient) if nobody panics during a disaster. It’s hard to achieve, really, because who wouldn’t freak out when a big ass earthquake suddenly happens in the middle of the day? But keeping calm and remembering that you have prepared for this to happen definitely increase your chances of keeping safe and staying alive when everything goes south.