The Big One: Disaster Preparedness Seminar


Our country sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic activities occur. Combined with the looming idea of “The Big One” (or the mega quake caused by the West Valley Fault), Ksearch invited a resource person to help the employees be aware of and prepare for “The Big One”.

On July 29, Dr. Ted Esguerra graced us with his presence to discuss about Disaster and Emergency Preparedness. Doc Ted is the Expedition & Wilderness Emergency Medical Services Physician of the Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition Team and the Voyage of the Balangay. He used to be part of the Philippine Coast Guard’s Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team (SMART). He is also the Subject Matter Expert for various shows including DZMM and ABS-CBN’s RED ALERT and is trained on Urban and Wilderness Rescue, Aviation Medicine, Expedition Medicine for Tropical and Alpine Mountain Operations, Tactical Medicine, Disaster Medicine, and high altitude medicine.

Doc Ted brushed ondisaster_preparedness_01 some man-made disasters but focused mostly on earthquakes, a natural disaster. An earthquake generated by the West Valley Fault could cause catastrophic deaths, injuries, and leave millions of people homeless. It is very important for us to prepare so we can reduce the possible risks (death, injury, etc.), and be self-sufficient while waiting for help to arrive, and make recovery faster and easier.

Before the disaster, we must prepare and plan. It is better to learn Basic Life Support & First Aid and survival skills/mountaineering basics. We must also have an emergency plan and a list of important emergency service numbers. One of the things that we must check is the sturdiness of our house/building. Those buildings that were constructed starting 1990 can withstand earthquakes better than those that were constructed earlier.

Aside from that, Doc Ted emphasized the importance of a “go bag” that contains food, water, clothes, medicine, first aid kit, and other necessities. The contents of the go bag are the things necessary for our lifeline until help arrives or until we reach our homes.

disaster_preparedness_02During the earthquake, we must assume the Drop-Cover-Hold position under a sturdy table and stay away from windows. It is important to not panic and stay alert for falling debris. After the earthquake, we have to reassess our surroundings, check if our current location is still safe or if we need to move. If we are inside a building, we must move to an open area. If we are going to move and there is falling debris, we can use our go bag as a turtle shell or quick cover if we can’t avoid or duck. Those inside their vehicles are advised to stop in an open area away from power lines or anything that can fall.

The West Valley Fault moves roughly every 400 years. The last major earthquake caused by this fault was in 1658, almost 400 years ago. We are due for another major earthquake and it is not a matter of “if”. It’s a matter of “when”. Let us prepare as early as we can.

Nevertheless, aside from all the important points mentioned and shared with us by Doc Ted. It boils down to the kind of mindset one individual have. This is not an overnight change. It should be a routine that one should practice, one should embrace. At the end of the day, survival of one individual lays on the amount of preparation he or she has made. Cliché as it may seem, but, it is you and only you that could dictate your life’s direction.

Reported by:
Patricia Cruz
Research Associate

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