July 29

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Drop. Cover. Hold.

Drop. Cover. Hold.

A 7.2 magnitude Earthquake struck Manilla and killed 52,000 at 10:30 AM on July 30th. That got your attention, didn’t it? Thankfully this is just a simulation drill citywide in Manilla today. It is however a real possibility.

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The East and West Valley fault line runs thru Manilla and has shown increasing activity. Other nearby areas along the fault like Nepal have also had large quakes recently. Organized by the Metropolitan Manilla Development Authority, bells and sirens will signal the start of the forty five second quake.

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It is hoped this response plan will help to save lives if the big one hits. Because of the proximity of the sea to metro Manilla, an earthquake could also trigger a tsunami.

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What should you do in an Earthquake you ask? The simple answer is: Drop. Cover. Hold. You also need to be mindful of office hazards like debris, shelves, cabinets, glass overhead lights, electronic equipment and especially windows. If the building doesn’t fall, debris can still kill if it isn’t latched to a wall. Quake prone Japan secures cabinets to the walls. Here in Manilla these measures still haven’t been taken.

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What about after the quake stops? You also need to have an office evaluation plan. Know your escape routes once the earthquake stops. Be aware of where fire extinguishers are and have a first aid kit. It is wise to use a staircase, not alternate exits. In your kit, you should have a whistle and a flashlight. The power will likely be out, hence the flashlight, and a whistle can be blown if you get trapped. You also need to prepare for the after shocks. A building can be weakened by an earthquake and then destroyed by the aftershock.

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I have had the pleasure to go thru three simulations while here. Our company participated in the citywide drill today.

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A spontaneous drill also occurred at our GSK corporate office while I was visiting staff there. The drill though unknown to the employees, was very orderly and efficient. The evaluation plan seemed flawless.

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Another was at a local school. The children did not panic and handled it with ease. The school simulation also included a fire. I am amazed at their efficiency. These drills helped to reassure me many children would take the necessary life saving measures to be safe in an Earthquake in the Philippines.

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Earthquakes can have a severe impact on children. Many of their immediate concerns relate to their current living conditions. Where will they stay if their home is destroyed? Could they go back to school to learn and have social interaction? They are also afraid for their health and the safety of family members. Save The Children obtained this data from interviewing over two thousand children who recently survived the Nepal Earthquake.

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I have personally seen the devastation an earthquake causes. I have been traveling to Haiti to do mission work in a local school. If you remember, the Haiti earthquake killed 160,000 people in two minutes in 2010, and displaced over one and a half million. I have seen very little improvement from year to year. Many are still in temporary tent shelters five years later. Children were left without parents and now live on the streets or in orphanages.

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A man I am proud to call a friend, Kiki, told of his heroic escape from his school in Haiti. He jumped from a second story balcony into a tree. Many of his friends ran to other areas of the school to wait out the quake and were not so fortunate.

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Please join me in prayerful reflection for all the lives lost in Earthquakes. Hopefully by sharing and simulating an evaluation plan, many more lives can be saved in a future Earthquake.
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