The Big One in the City: Are You Prepared?

A few days ago, I attended a two-hour lecture about earthquakes, which was facilitated by the management of building I live in. A representative of Department of Science and Technology Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST – Phivolcs), a geologist, gave the lecture.

I have to admit that I only half-listened because I was reading some materials for my Spanish class, but I gathered the following information (not including the usual definition of terms):

– The Philippine fault is the longest fault in the Philippines. It stretches from Luzon all the way down to Mindanao.

– In the past 1400 years, the West Valley Fault (?) has moved four times in an interval of 400 years (doing the math will just make you say what? So do not do the math). The last movement was in 1658, hence the preparations for the Big One.

On a personal note, I found out that:

– The building where I live is 4.5 kilometers away from the nearest fault. You can find out how close to or far you are from a fault by using faultfinder.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph.

– According to structural engineers, our building can withstand earthquakes of intensity 7.2, the strongest one to hit so far. I pray that they are 100% correct, and our developer did not cut corners during construction.

– The evacuation area for the residents is an open area near a grocery store a block away from our building.

– Our building belongs to the northern team (includes Quezon City and San Juan City, among others) of the evacuation plan for Metro Manila. Our safe evacuation areas as a city are Veteran’s Memorial Medical Center, University of the Philippines – Diliman (UPD) Open Ground, and UPD Sunken Garden, which can hold 87,000, 45,000 and 15,000 people, respectively.

– This northern team can go to the following places for medical needs: Philippine Veteran’s Hospital, Quezon Memorial Circle, and UPD.

During the lecture, the geologist gave the attendees two pamphlets, Phivolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale and Phivolcs Earthquake Preparedness Guide. This entry includes scanned images of Phivolcs Eathquake Intensity Scale.

For a related entry, please read Earthquake Preparedness Guide.

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale. A measure of how an earthquake was felt in certain locality or area. It is based on relative effect to people, structures, and objects in the surroundings. It is represented by Roman numerals, with intensity I being the weakest and intensity X the strongest. It is used since 1996, replacing the Rossi-Forel Scale.

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity I: Scarcely Perceptible

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity II: Slightly Felt

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity III: Weak

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity IV: Moderately Strong

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity V: Strong

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity VI: Very Strong

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity VII: Destructive

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity VIII: Very Destructive

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity IX: Devastating

Philvolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale – Intensity X: Completely Devastating

Report an Earthquake. Text or call 0905 – 3134077 or call (02) 426 – 1468 local 124 or 125 and (02) 929 – 9254. For text, send Name / Date and time of earthquake / Location at the time of earthquake / Intensity rating. All personal information will be kept private and secured.

For more information, please visit DOST-Phivolcs website, www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph

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