Be Ready: A Safety Guide in Case of a Volcanic Eruption
Mar 9, 2021   •   Ina Louise Manto
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Mar 9, 2021   •   Ina Louise Manto
One of the most unforgettable events of 2020 was Taal Volcano’s sudden eruption that covered parts of Batangas and neighboring provinces with ash. Now, the volcano has been showing activity again. Residents have been evacuated and the status of the volcano has been raised to Alert Level 2. Should another eruption happen, it’s better to be prepared this time. Check out this guide on how to prepare for a volcanic eruption.
During a volcanic eruption, debris and lava can flow up to 100 mph. Volcanic ash can also travel hundreds of miles — something we witnessed in last year’s eruption. A volcanic eruption can damage machinery, contaminate water supplies, reduce visibility through gases and smog, make breathing difficult, and irritate the body.
How near are you to the location of the volcano? Is it possible for ashfall to reach you? If so, it’s important to stay tuned to the news for important updates. Also, take note of evacuation routes and centers as well as possible hazards depending on your location.
One of the most important things to prepare for a possible eruption is an emergency kit. According to PHIVOLCS, an emergency kit must contain the following: first aid kit and medications, food, bottled water, flashlight and batteries, battery-operated radio, lighters and matches, whistle, dust mask, goggles, knife, blankets and spare clothes, rope that’s at least seven meters long, plastic wrap to keep the ash from electronics, toiletries, pen and paper, emergency contact numbers, and cash.
It’s also important to keep an emergency supply kit inside your vehicle/s just in case you get stuck while on the road.
During 2020’s Taal Volcano eruption, everything located near the volcano and even neighboring cities was covered in ash. Cleaning up after the disaster wasn’t easy; that’s why it’s a good idea to be ready with cleaning supplies. Ash can accumulate weight, especially when it gets wet, and can cause roofs to collapse. Prepare different cleaning tools like a vacuum cleaner, broom, a shovel, and lots of garbage bags and filters just in case you’re dealing with thick layers of ash. When cleaning ash with your hands, it’s best to wear gloves and avoid excessive rubbing.
It’s understandable to lose track of things especially during an emergency but we’ve seen how many pets and livestock were left unattended in last year’s volcanic eruption. Don’t forget about them! Just like how you would prepare for yourself and members of your household, ready food and water for them. In case of evacuation, ask your local center if pets would be allowed to come with you or if they’ve prepared a shelter for them.
When there’s ashfall, it’s important to stay indoors at all times, closing all doors and windows. You can place damp towels in openings to prevent ash from entering your home. Volcanic ashfall can cause breathing difficulty and even lung damage when inhaled — cover your mouth and nose with a damp and clean cloth.
Volcanic ashes and gasses may enter your home immediately after an eruption. It’s important to avoid using electric fans or air conditioning units. Water disruption or contamination can also occur, so it’s best to keep a supply of clean water in large containers or the big drums we usually see in Pinoy houses.
In case you have to go outside, wear a dust mask and other protective gear like goggles, long-sleeved shirts, and pants.
While cleaning ash fall, it’s important to wear a dust mask or a damp cloth that’s covering your nose and mouth. After removing ash from your roof, clean it with water to prevent corrosion. For plants, shake the ash before watering them. Instead of cleaning glass windows and doors and at home and on your vehicle using your hands, it’s better to use a hose and water.
Stay safe, folks!
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