After several recent occurrences of earthquakes around the country, Filipinos all over are frightened for their families, their homes and their safety. Preparing for an earthquake is a necessary measure that needs to be taken seriously. As the bulk of our waking life is spent in work, an earthquake happening while we're at work is a highly likely scenario. Here are a few tips to make sure that you are prepared for an earthquake while in the workplace.
Store your files online
There is a high possibility that an earthquake could cause physical damage within your work area and could compromise important equipment, materials, and documents. Uploading copies of important files through cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive can prevent numerous problems for you and your company in the aftermath of an earthquake.
If, however, some files cannot be stored digitally, it is recommended that you keep a spare copy of those files in a different location.
Identify and secure potential office hazards
Objects that can fall, overturn, slide, spill, or rupture during an earthquake are potential hazards. The following office fixtures, furnishings, and equipment should be secured to reduce the risk of injuries and damage by falling and moving items:
- Ceiling partitions
- Ceiling or wall-mounted objects: light fixtures, hanging plants, signs, picture frames, monitor displays, air conditioners, fans etc
- Items in open shelves and cabinets
- Free standing items, tall furniture and equipment: shelves, file cabinets, tall lamps, fans, computer monitors and other IT equipment etc.
- Windows, desks by the window
- Gas and water tanks
Know your building's safety guidelines
Considering that every building's architecture and geographical positioning is different, it is most likely that your office building has specific safety guidelines which detail what you should do in case of a natural calamity. You can greatly increase your chances of survival by familiarizing yourself with the exit points, escape routes and safety zones of your office.
Use the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!”
In the event that an earthquake does occur, the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!” technique is a widely used safety measure.
- Drop to your hands and knees to prevent losing balance.
- Cover your head and neck with your arm while you look for a sturdy shelter to crawl under.
- Hold on to cover until the shaking stops.
Staying under cover instead of running towards an exit is a much safer option since there are less chances of debris and other foreign objects falling on you.
Monitor earthquake news and statistics with apps
There are several applications that you can download to help you conveniently monitor the latest news about earthquakes as well as warn you if your area is at risk.
For Android users, the MyShake app utilizes your phone's accelerometer to detect seismic activity. This manner of data collection allows the app to build a network of information and notify its users of earthquake occurrences around them.
iOS users on the other hand have access to the Earthquake app which utilizes data from 18 data sources including the USGS (United States Geological Survey), Japan Meteorological Agency, and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. It also provides historical data of previous earthquakes as well as real time push notifications.
This app, available on Google Play, provides the latest news and USGS statistics as well as a satellite map view which displays recent seismic activity on a local and global scale.
On top of knowing how to prepare for earthquake, it is important to cultivate a mindset of calmness. Staying calm and not giving in to panic during an earthquake increases your chance of avoiding injury. Breathe deeply and don't let anxiety overwhelm you in the midst of chaos and hysteria. When you have the presence of mind to do the right thing, you're able to act confidently for your own safety and be in a position to help other people as well.
With the possibility of a major earthquake at hand, preparation should be a serious and pressing matter for everyone. Taking simple security measures as well as staying on top of the latest news and information may just save your career and your life.
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