Preparing for an Earthquake and/or a Tsunami

Preparing for an Earthquake and/or a Tsunami

Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines)Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines) made morning landfall November 07, 2013 at Guiuan, a small city in Samar province in the eastern Philippines. The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said maximum sustained winds were 195 mph, with gusts to 235 mph.

As many of you readers now know, I am living in the Philippines where a tsunami is NOT rare, but the biggest worry here are typhoons and earthquakes, the latter being what sparked this article.

On October 15 this year, 2013, we experienced the biggest earthquake1 I have ever felt in my life. The following data is taken from the Philippine Volcano website:

Date – Time                 Latitude     Longitude     Depth   Magnitude   Location 

(Philippine Time)             (ºN)           (ºE)          (km)

15 Oct 2013 – 08:12 AM   09.86       124.07        012        7.2     006 km S 24° W                                                                                                                 of Sagbayan (Borja) (Bohol)

This was approximately one hundred and twenty (120) kilometers (about 75 miles) northeast (NE) from us and they say we felt it like a magnitude 6.0 earthquake. I would hate to feel anything stronger! The house shook and rattled, and the ground rolled just like in the movies. For hours afterwards our sensory organs for balance were out of kilter – you felt like a drunk might feel heading home from an all night party!

Now this brings me back to the subject – How do you prepare for an earthquake or tsunami? As you never know where you will be at the time of the event, all you can do is prepare for BEFORE and AFTER the event.

After the event – my wife now wears her underwear to bed! This reasoning comes from earlier times when mothers warned their children that one should never sleep naked  because “What would happen if there was a fire in the night and you appeared naked in front of the neighbours? How embarrassed I would be!”  🙂

One piece of advice that should be heeded is to keep a pair of sturdy slip-on shoes and a pair of socks in a plastic bag under your bed. You may have broken glass on the floor. Keep a flashlight2 with them.

Now, besides wearing your underwear or other clothing to bed, one should prepare a kit, suitcase, or pack of things you might need after the event.

On my last lighthouse, McInnes Island, the island’s highest point was one hundred (100) feet (about 33 meters) above seas level on the helicopter pad. The houses were a lot lower. One day we did get a Tsunami Warning and were told that we were not being evacuated to higher ground because we were in open ocean and high enough, but . . .

Not taking any chances, we got the station’s sixteen (16) foot (5 meter) Zodiac inflatable out of the boatshed, made sure gas tanks were full, tied into the boat some jugs of water and a first aid kit, and tied the boat off outside to the highline mast (bow) and another cement block anchor (stern), ready to be launched. That was all we could do. We also made sure that each person slept with their life jacket at hand. Nothing happened!

So, depending on your location, time of day, finances, storage facilities, etc. the following sites (below) list some helpful items – you can pick and choose. For me a sharp belt knife, a multi-tool plier, water purification, household and/or car keys, small first aid kit, flashlight, portable radio and/or cell phone and a number of mylar pocket survival blankets. It all depends on your location too – in the tropics one would need rain gear more than a survival blanket, so you have to decide. Those are my choices – let’s see what the experts recommend:

Emergency Supply List from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) – PDF or TXT

A Wiki site on How to Prepare for an Earthquake with a list of supplies and good advice

Being Prepared for an Earthquake and Emergency Supplies

There are many more site which you can Google, but these will give you an idea of what to do and take. Add anything else you can think of to provide you and your family with safety and comfort. One other piece of equipment that I recommend is a way to obtain drinking water, be it a Solar Still, Lifestraw Personal Water Filter or the Aqua Pur Traveller Water Purifier which I carry.

Most of this information is regarding earthquakes, but from earthquakes come tsunamis so being prepared for one is also being prepared for the other.


What Caused the Deadly Philippine Earthquake?

2 Fenix One of my favourite flashlights which I have had for the past three (3) years is the Fenix LD-20 Flashlight. It has two intensities for the beam, is light, easy to hold, and waterproof. It uses two AA batteries and if you use lithium batteries it lasts for months. Lithium batteries also make it lighter to carry.

Eveready HeadlampPS A headlamp is also useful when your hands are full. Fenix makes them as well although I do not own one. My Eveready one works well for now.


By Becky Oskin, Staff Writer  October 15, 2013 12:43pm ET
Shaking from the Bohol Hills earthquake damaged the Chocolate Hills, a proposed World Heritage site. Credit: Robert Michael Poole View full size image

A deadly magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck the central Philippines on a national holiday yesterday [October 14, 2013].

The temblor was the strongest to shake the area in 23 years, Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. An estimated 43,000 people experienced severe shaking, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The likely culprit is the East Bohol Fault, Solidum said. . . . more


 The East Bohol Fault, which crosses southern Bohol Island, helps relieve some of the tectonic pressure on the Philippines. The islands are crumpling between three crashing tectonic plates: the Philippine, Sunda and Eurasia plates.  

Though the East Bohol Fault isn’t along one of the colliding plate boundaries, it is a reverse fault. When the fault breaks, the earth on either side of the fracture moves closer together, one block sliding up on top of the other. This compression takes up some of the constant squeezing.


Tectonic setting of the Philippines. Credit: USGS    View full size image

A magnitude-6 earthquakeon the fault in 1990 caused $154 million in damage and injured 300 people. It also triggered a tsunami, either from fault movement or a submarine landslide.

Yesterday’s earthquake, which hit at 8:12 a.m. local time on Oct. 15, was centered about 12 miles (20 kilometers) deep. No tsunami alert resulted from the quake.

Strong shaking from a magnitude-7.1 earthquake on Oct. 15 killed more than 90 people and damaged structures in the central Philippines. Credit: USGS/IRIS View full size image

The shaking severely damaged parts of Bohol Island and Cebu Island to the north. Ports, schools and airports reported damage, and a hospital collapsed on Bohol in Loon, killing at least 18 people. Children were injured in stampedes at two sports complexes, when people panicked during the quake and rushed the exits, according to news reports. Five people were killed by a quake-triggered landslide.

Powerful aftershocks continue to hit widely across Bohol and Cebu. More than 2.6 million people live in Cebu province, and about 1.2 million people live on Bohol. Bohol Island is known for the Chocolate Hills, a proposed UNESCO World Heritage site. The sea of grass-covered knolls turns chocolate brown in the dry season. Photos posted on Twitter show that the soil covering the limestone hillocks crumbled and collapsed in some places during the earthquake.

Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskinFollow us @livescience,Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience. [/private]

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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