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Condo Dwellers, Here's How to Stay Safe From Earthquakes

Disaster preparedness for high-rise living.
by Pia Regalado
May 12, 2021
Photo/s: shutterstock
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Everytime an earthquake strikes, condo dwellers in Metro Manila and other urban centers get shaken more, quite literally, compared to those who don't live in a high rise. The shaking is more felt in residential towers.

In the event of "The Big One," or a powerful earthquake, 38% of 10-30 story buildings and 14% of 30-60 story buildings in the area could be damaged, Phivolcs said. No structure is completely safe from earthquakes which are the most unpredictable of natural calamities.

Earthquakes can strike anytime, more so in countries like the Philippines, by virtue of its placement on the Pacific Ring of Fire that is filled with volcanoes. However, condo dwellers can prepare for earthquakes. 

Here are some tips from developers DMCI Homes and Federal Land so that when your high rise apartment starts shaking, you will know what to instead of getting caught up in panic.

What to do before an earthquake

- Check if your condominium is near or located on top of fault lines.
- Inspect condo premises and check for cracks.
- Look for safety certifications and check with inspectors.
- Familiarize yourself with the safety spots and emergency exits.
- Prepare a list of emergency hotlines.
- Pack an emergency kit which includes basic needs like drinking water, easy-to-prepare foods which could last three days, flashlights, power banks, batteries, tools, clothes, toiletries, cash, important documents, and others.
- For those living with vulnerable people, devise a strategy on how to evacuate them in case of emergencies.
- Secure your heavy belongings such as furnitures, televisions and refrigerators to the wall or floor.
- Remove objects from high places to prevent them from falling on you.
- Consider getting an insurance for yourself and your properties.
- Join earthquake and other drills.

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What to do during an earthquake?

- Drop to the floor, get under a sturdy table, protect your head and stay there until the earthquake is over.
- Seek shelter near an interior wall of your condo or under support beams when ducking under sturdy furnitures is impossible.
- Do not move around and avoid using the elevators.
- When an earthquake strikes while you are asleep or on the bed, use your pillow to cover your head and neck. Leave only when there's a threat of a fixture or debris that might fall on you.
- Wait until the shaking or aftershocks stop before walking out of the room or condo building.

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What to do after an earthquake

- Do not use the elevator when leaving the building to avoid getting trapped in case electricity goes out.
- Look around to see if it is safe to exit the building.
- Once outside the building, find an open area free from possible debris.
- Check if you or anyone needs help and provide first aid.
- If trapped, make noises to alert rescuers.

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