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The Big One. It’s bound to hit us sooner or later, it says so on social media. Worse, it’s going to hit Metro Manila and the damage to property and loss of life will be unimaginable. Luckily for us, social media is not the most reliable source of information. In fact, predicting earthquakes remains a far-fetched dream of geologists, so much so that predicting earthquakes is only possible in Hollywood so far.

Having said that, this gives us even more reason to prepare for the Big One. Being unable to predict it doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen so while everyone is on edge with the spate of earthquakes we’ve been experiencing lately, take this opportunity to prepare.

When preparing for a disaster, it’s best to run through it in your head and then list down the things you might need. For instance, when an earthquake occurs, especially the magnitude that befits the title of “The Big One,” one can expect injuries, downed structures, loss of electricity, no communications, etc.  Run through this and make a plan of what to do and what you’ll need. That’s the most important thing on your preparation list—a plan. Here is the rest of what you’ll most likely need.

  1. EXTENSIVE FIRST AID KIT

Stay away from ready made kits that you can buy from the stores, they are either useless—filled with a ton of band aids and nothing more or, on the other end, too complicated—filled with tools like airway adjuncts or needle pressure kits. Instead, build your own based on your own medical skill levels. Think of the injuries you’re likely to encounter, such as bruises, cuts, and scrapes and, in severe cases, broken bones, and build your kit around that. Also, educate yourself on how to treat those injuries, either through the Internet or, even better, enroll in a Red Cross course.

Don’t forget to include normal medicines like paracetamol and stuff for normal ailments like a bum stomach, fever, or colds. Get pediatric versions of these meds if you have kids. If you have specific maintenance meds for members of the family, these should be included.

  1. FOOD AND WATER SUPPLIES

Buying extra groceries does not mean you’re set for the Big One. First of all, do you have enough for 36 hours. That’s the stash most disaster coordinating organizations recommend. If you have the money and the storage space, more is better, of course.  Next, is most of your food in your ref, because if it is, it’s useless.  Power will be knocked out and everything in your ref will spoil soon, depending on how often you open it. Finally, do you have the means to cook it? Do you even have a can opener with your supplies? These are the details you have to think of to ensure you have it all covered. A small camping stove or two (depending on the size of your family) will suffice. And unless you’re going to use your hands, make sure you have cutlery and plates available. Include dish washing liquid, sponges, and towels to use to clean up after meals.

Food is a morale booster and, in a time of disaster, that is a big thing. Try to stock food you eat on a regular basis. Keeping things as normal as possible helps.

As for water, apart from keeping a stock of water, ensure you have a water filter to draw water from more questionable sources.

  1. SHELTER

Assume your house has been fully demolished and roads will be unpassable. You’ll have to set up a shelter for your family in the ruins of your own home. The easiest way is to buy a tent but don’t forget the rest. You’ll need an earthpad or an inflatable mattress to provide you a layer from the ground, sleeping bags to provide some sort of cover, although blankets will do. Foldable chairs ensure you don’t squat or stand for long periods of time and a tarp will be invaluable for setting up a common area or kitchen under cover. Think of a layout and make sure you provide shelter for all members of the household, pets included.

  1. EXTRA CLOTHING

Assign a bag for each member of the household, packed with enough clothing for at least three days, everything from underwear to rain gear and hats. Include hygene products such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. Pack as if you were going on a three-day holiday but use sensible clothing.

  1. COMMUNICATIONS AND POWER SUPPLY

There’s a good chance that cellphone service will be clogged with everyone frantically calling for help but remember, the good old text doesn’t rely on data and takes less space than normal voice calls. They’re more likely to go through. Although cellphone service could be out for a while, you want to keep phones charged for when they get back online. Make sure you have fully charged power banks on hand. Keep a box of spare chargers and a power strip on hand so that if you do have access to one electrical outlet, you can use it to charge many gadgets at once. Don’t forget spare batteries for everything.

Also, a portable AM radio is crucial to keep you abreast with what’s happening and how bad or good the situation is.

  1. A FULLY EQUIPPED TOOL BOX

This one is almost always overlooked. An earthquake will tear stuff apart, therefore you’ll need tools to put things together again, even if just temporarily. Remember, our ever reliable handyman probably has his hands full, too, and so you’ll need to rely on yourself in this case.

A multitool is handy for small things but there’s nothing like a full-fledged hammer for hammering things, or an adjustable wrench for tightening or loosening bolts. Try sawing big branches with your Swiss Army Knife saw versus a full carpenters saw and you’ll understand what I mean. Include repair items such as duct tape, paracord, glue, and safety pins.

  1. COPY OF ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS (PHYSICAL/ELECTRONIC)

This one might surprise people but if the Big One is really big, public records, bank records, and the like might be compromised, which means you might need to provide proof. Even if there were no disaster, keeping copies of these documents should be a good practice to keep.

This is by far not an extensive list. It covers the basics and should be added on based on your circumstances.

As I mentioned earlier, the best thing to have on your earthquake preparedness list is a plan. Make sure you add as many details as you can to it, the more you plan in advance, the less you’ll end up in trouble when the big one happens. One final thing, make sure your supplies are accessible and not stuck away in the basement somewhere, because when the big one hits…

WHAT TO PUT INSIDE YOUR EMERGENCY BAG

 

  1. Ready-to-eat meal
  2. First-aid kit
  3. Machete
  4. Paracord
  5. Tarp to make a makeshift tent
  6. Mobile phone
  7. Power bank and cord
  8. Knife
  9. Whistle
  10. Flashlights and spare batteries
  11. Repair kit, emergency blanket, water purification tablet, lighter, compass
  12. Malong and scarf
  13. Raincoat
  14. Cap and bag

THIS WAY TO SURVIVAL A prepper, survivalist, and tactical aficionado, the author is the sales and marketing manager of Forged Philippines