For three years now, the government has been hosting earthquake drills all over the country to spread awareness and encourage defensive responses in the event of an earthquake. The drill is headed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) and this year, it will be held at the Strike Gymnasium in Bacoor City, Cavite. Although the activities are focused in Metro Manila and nearby areas, the entire country is encouraged to participate whether they are in their offices, homes, and even while on the road.
For most of us, our response during the earthquake drill (and during an earthquake!) should be to “duck, cover, and hold”. But how about if you are driving a vehicle when an earthquake strikes? How do you protect yourself from the damaging effects of this anticipated disaster while inside a moving car?
We are sharing the following article below to help drivers and commuters be aware of the safest, most defensive response when caught on the road by an earthquake. Share this to all your friends and families whose jobs require them to be behind the wheel most of the time.
Step 1: Be aware of the intensity of the earthquake.
Drivers will not feel tremors as fast as people in buildings would. A good indicator that an earthquake is happening is when you feel your vehicle wobble like it has a flat tire. Pay attention to hanging streetlights and road signs too; any unusual swinging and shaking could mean a strong quake is happening.
Step 2: Pull to the side of the road.
Do not just stop in the middle of the street to avoid getting in other drivers’ way. Do your best to pull to the side of the road, avoiding tall structures, poles, and lamp posts. This means that even in the middle of the emergency, you have to remain calm and composed to make sure you and your car are secured and safe.
Step 3: Switch off your engine and put your handbrake on.
This gives you a bit of time to collect your belongings in case you’d need to flee from your car (which is most likely if the quake is at intensity 5 or higher). Be prepared to exit and leave your vehicle.
Step 4: Proceed to the nearest open area you can find.
When it is safe to leave your car, head to an open area. Avoid seeking refuge under flyovers, footbridges, and near lamp posts or hanging streetlights as these structures could give way anytime.
Step 5: Check for internet access to get the latest news on situations on the road, your destination, and nearby areas.
After a strong quake, people are most likely to conjure up the worst scenarios through hearsays and well, superstitious beliefs. These are the last things you need to hear as it will waste your time and may cause you to panic. If you have your mobile phone with you, check for internet access and get the latest news from reliable sources. Call your family at home, locate your children, and ensure everyone’s safety while you still have batteries on your phone. Plan a meeting place that is accessible to your family and start moving.
We hope the NDRRMC and the MMDA would also conduct earthquake drills that are designed for motorists, private, and public vehicle drivers. This will help save a lot of commuters’ lives when an earthquake strikes while they are in major thoroughfares such as EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, NLEX, SLEX, and the like.
Most people take earthquake drills for granted; this is sad news. We all know that earthquakes are unpredictable disasters, unlike typhoons and volcanic eruptions, and the only way you can get a fighting chance to survive is to be aware of what must be done while the ground is shaking and causing damages and panic all around you. If your company is participating in the drill, take it as a chance to be familiar with your building’s entry and exit points, safe hiding places, and escape routes. If you are at home during the drill, encourage all family members to join in as well.
If you are joining the earthquake drill on Thursday (and we hope you will!), you can share your stories with us right here at the Master Citizen blog page!