To Others / To Self

West Valley Fault Preparations Part 3: Kits and Plans

Key Takeaway: This third of three posts about preparing for the predicted Valley Fault earthquake that will devastate the Greater Metro Manila area discusses in more detail having your own emergency supply kit and detailed disaster plans for the family and workplace/school. I recommend assembling your own supply kit instead of a pre-made one that may lack some essentials or contain unimportant things relative to your own circumstances. Disaster plans must be mastered and practiced by all members.


This is the third of a three-part series I am writing regarding preparations for the predicted West Valley Fault earthquake in Metro Manila. For Part 1 (Maps and Home Safety Check), click here; for Part 2 (Preparations Before, During, and After), click here.

Last Monday, I spoke about concrete preparedness for an earthquake beyond knowing the fault line maps and structural integrity checklists. Two of the items under pre-earthquake were as follows:

  • Assemble emergency supply kits.
  • Prepare a Family Disaster Plan with your family, officemates, and classmates.

I also said this would be discussed in Part 3, and Part 3 this is. I cannot emphasize how important it is Рwill be Рto have your own emergency supply kit and disaster plan, as though you may survive the initial earthquake, the contents of the kit and plan can spell the difference between surviving the entire ordeal or not. Think of them as two halves of one package: the emergency kit is the physical supply while the disaster plan is the mental/social supply.

While preparing both may be cumbersome while there is no earthquake yet, they will prove¬†very useful post-earthquake. Think of it as an investment for your future.¬†Hey, maybe it’s a good idea to go shopping for these today… (Now you know why I posted this on a Saturday. :p lol.)

Emergency Supply Kit

emergency-clipart-72-kit

The emergency supply kit contains all the essentials for survival following the major earthquake, when most if not all infrastructure will be dysfunctional or destroyed. The philosophies behind camping equipment or military survival will also apply to immediate post-earthquake living.

Also, with all of today’s technology, the contents of any “modernized” emergency supply kit would somehow evolve – but I must stress the importance of always remembering the basics. Especially in a country with relatively limited infrastructure like the one I come from, technology can only get you so far – it will eventually fail you and you’d need to go back to basics if you are to spend prolonged periods of time in post-disaster Metro Manila (or whichever earthquake-affected area you’re in).

Yet I do recognize the value of technology, and so my ideal emergency supply kit would provide a healthy balance between the basic essentials and technological innovations. I can divide my kit into 7 categories. Remember, I am catering to the Metro Manila market, and as such my kit will be directed towards those living in a tropical, humid country.

Food/Drink

We all know that of all of man’s needs, four are the most essential, and two of them in particular we can never live without: food and drink. Also included under¬†this category are things that go along with food and drink.

  • Water
    • 1/2 gal (2 L) per person per day for drinking – at least 3 days
      • However, since we live in a very hot and humid country, I recommend upping this by 50% or even double.
    • An additional 1/2 gal (2 L) per person per day for washing and cooking¬†if needed
  • Food – non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food items
    • e.g. coco nectar (though this will make you thirst more), crackers, graham bars
  • Portable filter
    • I recommend the LifeStraw personal water filter, which is a reusable drinking straw with a filter that removes bacteria and protozoa for up to 1,000 L of water. That’s a lot, and in survival use, can last years.
      • Furthermore, LifeStraw has a philanthropic model – every LifeStraw product bought gives a child clean drinking water for a year.
  • Chlorine bleach
    • Chlorine bleach purifies water in ways personal filters cannot. However, filter or bleach, it is still advisable to boil the water, as all three methods combined will filter all microorganisms out.
  • MANUAL can opener (if you have canned goods as your food items)

Medical

  • First-aid kit
    • First-aid manual¬†(or smartphone app; I recommend the American Red Cross’s app [Android¬†/ iOS])
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Antiseptic solution
    • Bandages (all shapes)
    • Blister pad
    • Cotton balls
    • Gauze pads
    • Gloves¬†(non-latex)
    • Insect repellent
    • Mask
    • Needle and thread
    • Safety pins
    • Sanitizer
    • Scissors
    • Sterile dressings
    • Sterile saline
    • Surgical tape
    • Thermometer
    • Tissue paper
    • Tweezers
    • Wipes¬†(non-alcohol)
  • Personal medication
  • Emergency blanket

Personal

“Personal” refers to important personal things other than food and drink.

  • Bank cards –¬†all of them.¬†You do not want to risk being remotely robbed.
  • Cash
  • Contact information of family members and emergency contacts¬†– see below
  • Documents – physical
    • Bank account details –¬†all, just in case.
    • Birth certificate
    • Diploma –¬†just in case.
    • Driver’s license
    • Insurance policies –¬†all.
    • Passport
    • Social security
    • Tax identification
    • Any other major government IDs in your country
  • Documents – digital, in a small USB flash drive
    • Scanned or digital copies of all physical documents
    • All your important files (for work, personal documentation, etc.)
  • Keys¬†– bring duplicates
    • House/s
    • Car/s

Tools

  • Compass
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency whistle
  • Flashlight
    • I recommend getting a squeeze type of mechanical flashlight, as it will work practically indefinitely. The problem with crank flashlights is that they also have “rechargeable” batteries inside that will eventually run dry.
    • Or a flashlight you can wear around your head.
  • Map of the area
  • Matches¬†–¬†in a waterproof container
    • Alternatively, you can bring a flint or a lighter.
  • Notepad
  • Pens
  • Rope
  • Swiss Army knife or any other functional multitool including knives
  • Utility tools for the house
    • Pliers
    • Screwdriver
    • Shovel
    • Wrench
  • Working gloves
  • Ziplock bags

Clothes

  • One complete set of extra clothes
    • Long-sleeved, dry-fit shirt
    • Durable pants, such as those for hiking
    • Sturdy shoes¬†for walking over rough ground, such as work boots
  • Rain gear
    • Raincoat or water-resistant jacket
    • Umbrella

Personal Care

  • Personal hygiene kit¬†(for men, a Dopp kit is perfect)
    • Insect repellent
    • Medicine for stomachaches
    • Nail clipper
    • Sanitizer
    • Shampoo and body wash
    • Sunscreen
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Towel (small)
  • Sunglasses
  • Towels

Gadgets

Yeah, yeah, gadgets may not be *as* essential. But some would prove surprisingly so.

  • Camerato take photos of damage as needed
  • External hard drives¬†– if there is space to spare
    • Full back-ups of all your files – consider it the “mother ship” and your USB flash drive is an emergency craft
  • Mobile phones¬†though we are expecting mobile service to be disabled
  • Power banks
  • Radiobattery- or crank-powered
  • Tablet computer to keep children entertained
  • Extra batteries as needed

I based this list from those of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency‘s (FEMA) and the American Red Cross. A PDF form of the former’s list is available on their site; I am re-uploading it here for convenience.

Emergency Supply List – FEMA

But for me – and I am ashamed to say I came upon this thought at the eleventh hour – my kit will never be complete without my Bible and my Rosary, and my Scapular on me.

Disaster Plan

In conjunction with an emergency supply kit, there should be in place a concrete, smooth, working, and well-practiced disaster plan. Most likely this will apply to your family, but you can also apply it to your school or workplace, or wherever you spend most of your time in.

Though crucial and possibly the deciding factor between life and death, the Disaster Plan is relatively simple to formulate. You just all need self-discipline to go through every step of it, of which I am simplifying the¬†FEMA-Red Cross’s into five steps.

1. Consult with the government and organizations

  • Ask regarding, and be open to, information dissemination from your LGU/s.
  • Ask for their professional advice on preparing for the earthquake.
  • Contact the local fire department to learn about home fire hazards and how to prevent and manage them.
  • Contact the local Red Cross for training in first aid, especially CPR.

2. Meet as a family

  • Explain how each member should prepare and respond in the event of the earthquake.
  • Formulate a concrete plan if evacuation is compelled.
  • Pick 2 meeting places that you can all go to easily if separated by disaster:
    • a location a safe distance from your home, but still within your neighborhood, in case of fire; and
    • a safe location outside said neighborhood if you can’t return home.
  • Choose a friend or family member living outside Metro Manila to whom all of you can call and “check in”.

3. Make in-house preparations

  • Post emergency telephone numbers – including the aforementioned out-of-town contact – by each phone.
  • Show the members of the house, and each practice, shutting off the main water, electricity, and gas switches.
  • Install smoke detectors per floor, especially near bedrooms.

4. Meet the neighbors

  • Plan as a community how you can work together after the earthquake.
    • Know each other’s skills and strengths.
    • Accommodate neighbors with special needs and young children.

5. PRACTICE.

  • Test all steps of the plan as well as equipment, replacing as needed (including batteries).

If you follow all the preparations since the first part of this article, then you’d be better equipped to prepare for and deal with earthquakes. Certainly, none of us can ever be 100% prepared for it, for only God knows when the earthquake will strike – and it could possibly strike at the worst moment when we don’t have any emergency supplies or are at the worst place along the Fault. But with preparations, we can be less uncertain in dealing with it.

With that, I pray for our country. Have a blessed weekend.

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