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Safe Haven

"General tips on safety from natural disasters"
By: Arch. Rich Lasam, uapSafe Haven

When a stable is burning, where do the horses run? Believe it or not, they rush into the place of danger—into the stable itself!—because they have been conditioned to believe that their home is the ultimate haven of safety. Indeed, the home is a haven, and should be made safe to live in—there is no point in taking care of one’s health and happiness while disregarding safety! 

So, if you’re looking for a house—or looking for ways to fortify the house you have now—here are some general safety tips.

The best policy is prevention rather than reaction. Research and prepare! Find out if there are nearby sources of possible disaster events around your home. In case of emergencies or natural disaster, you need to know what to do. Plan your escape route (memorize the route out of your house) and always have alternative means of escape in your home.

Make sure you have two exits that go out to different areas (for example one exit goes to the front of the yard, the other exit goes to the backyard) so that there is an alternative exit just in case one of them is blocked during an emergency.

Choose a place that can be considered a “place of safety,” which you can get to either by walking or by transportation. This can be open air areas, hospitals, and (traditionally) places of religious worship as they are locations that are constructed and designed to be sturdier than other buildings or locations.

Research on geohazards (fault lines, for instance) is available for viewing in any of the following agencies: NAMRIA, PHILVOLCS, the local LGU, and NDRMMMC. Such information is also available online at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau website. Here is a link on how to use their online geohazard map (http://gdis.denr.gov.ph/mgbviewer/): http://www.mgb.gov.ph/Files/ItemLinks/MGBGeohazardWebPortal.pdf

When it comes to the body, they say an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. The same goes for the home. Because your safety is of utmost importance, a measure of fortification is better than rebuilding a disaster-wracked home.

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