Preparing for the “Big One”

The Philippines is very prone to natural disasters (typhoons, tsunami, earthquake, erosion, volcanic eruptions, flooding) simply because of its location on earth. The warm waters of the Pacific Ocean bring about twenty typhoons each year; ten of which will actually fall on land. On top of this, the Philippines rests on the Pacific’s earthquake and volcano Ring of Fire. With a total of 274 disasters recorded from 1995 to 2015, the Philippines is ranked fourth among countries with highest number of disasters. This information comes from The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters report covering weather-related disasters from 1995 to 2015.

With the increasing risk of devastations due to natural disasters like earthquake, SSAM prepares the students to face and deal with the challenges these natural calamities may bring. Through the Barangayette officers, the office of the Student Formation Coordinator and the Office of the Student Activity Coordinator, the Disaster Preparedness Talk was held last August 10, 2017 for the grades 3 to 6 levels, GS Service Personnel, OIC for Security and faculty. One of the PTA Board members was also able to attend the talk.

Mr. Jeffrey Perez, a Supervising Science Research Specialist in the Geologic Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Division, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – Department of Science and Technology gave a very enlightening talk about earthquakes and how to lessen its impact. He said that everyone must be ready especially that a big one is expected. The last major earthquake generated by the West Valley fault (affecting some parts of Marikina) was in 1658 or 357 years ago.

Mr. Perez said that houses and buildings must not be built on top of fault lines. They should be free from potentially-hazardous objects, furniture and equipment. If these could not be avoided, objects must be secured.

He commended SSAM for holding earthquake drills and that each student has a hard hat and emergency grab bag. He reminded them to be serious about the drills. He also urged them to ask their parents to conduct drills and prepare contingency plans in case of emergency at home.

An open-forum followed and Mr. Perez gladly answered the students’ queries. For those whose questions were not answered due to time constraints, a reply was sent to their Genyo account.

One can never be truly prepared. With the knowledge gained and continuous earnest practice, it can be expected that damage due to an earthquake may be minimized. Always remember that “it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”