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Volcanic Eruption Survival Tips: What to Do Before, During, and After

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Meta Description: Surviving a volcanic eruption isn’t an easy feat when you’re not well-informed and well-prepared. Here’s a survival guide.

On January 12, 2020, the Philippines’ Taal volcano spewed ash and steam plumes, prompting the evacuation of thousands of families.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert level from 1 to 4, warning of a more enormous “explosive eruption” that could happen within hours or days. 

While the bigger explosion didn’t occur, the ashfall from the eruption damaged properties, disrupted water and power supply, and blocked roads.

It has also halted services, suspended classes, displaced thousands of families, and resulted in significant economic losses.

More than a year since the Taal volcano erupted, fear once again looms as the volcano shows renewed activity. 

As of July 10, 2021, Alert Level 3 remains in effect. This means that the main crater’s expulsion of magma could trigger an explosive eruption again.

According to Phivolcs, apart from Taal, there are 23 other active volcanoes in the Philippines, including the following:

  • Babuyan Claro in Babuyan Islands
  • Banahaw in the boundaries of Laguna and Quezon
  • Biliran (Anas) in Leyte
  • Bud Dajo in Sulu
  • Bulusan in Sorsogon
  • Cabalian in Southern Leyte
  • Cagua in Cagayan
  • Camiguin de Babuyanes in Babuyan Islands
  • Didicas in Babuyan Island
  • Hibok-Hibok in Camiguin
  • Iraya in Batanes
  • Iriga in Camarines Sur
  • Isarog in Camarines Sur
  • Kanlaon in Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental
  • Leonard Kniaseff in Davao del Norte
  • Makaturing in Lanao del Sur
  • Matutum in Cotabato
  • Mayon in Albay
  • Musuan (Calayo) in Bukidnon
  • Parker in South Cotabato
  • Pinatubo in the boundaries of Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales
  • Ragang in Cotabato
  • Smith in Babuyan Islands

With the trauma caused by the previous volcanic eruption and given that there are 24 active volcanoes in the Philippines, it has become more important to be well-informed and better-prepared.

So, what should you do before, during, and after a volcanic emergency? Here’s a survival guide.

Survival Tips Before a Volcanic Eruption

Photo from Pexels
  1. Discuss volcanoes with family members to ensure everyone knows the dos and don’ts in a volcanic emergency. It will also help alleviate fears, especially among young kids.
  2. Review your local government unit’s evacuation routes. Research about their locations and make sure all household members are aware of them.
  3. Create an evacuation and preparedness plan that includes your pets.
  4. Prepare an emergency kit and fill it with the following:
  • Food and water
  • Blankets
  • Clothes
  • Cash and debit cards
  • First aid kit
  • Eye protection or goggles
  • Face masks and shields
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Phone and chargers
  • Important documents
  1. List down household items you need to bring inside the house in the event of ashfall.
  2. Monitor volcanic activity by watching the news and checking government advisories.
  3. Charge up your devices in case of power outages.
  4. Fill up as many containers as possible with water.
  5. Make a list of emergency hotlines in case you need help and rescue.
  6. Talk to your insurance agent and verify what is included in your policy coverage.

Survival Tips During a Volcanic Eruption

Photo from Pexels
  1. Stay inside your house. Make sure that your pets are also inside with you.
  2. Keep your blinds and curtains closed, and stay away from doors and windows.
  3. Turn of air conditioning units and electric fans.
  4. Find a “safe place” within your house and gather all household members there.
  5. While it’s safe to stay inside during a volcanic eruption, it may not be the case if you are in a danger zone. Heed to authorities’ advice if you are situated near an erupting volcano.
  6. Keep your first aid kits, emergency go-bags, and mobile phones within reach.
  7. Remain vigilant at all times. While your phone services are available, call a relative or friend who does not live near the volcano and inform them about your situation.
  8. Monitor volcano activity levels and community evacuation measures. Stay alert for any development and follow your local authorities.
  9. Contact emergency hotlines immediately if you and your family are in danger. 
  10. Stay inside until your LGU announces it’s safe to come out.

Survival Tips After a Volcanic Eruption

Photo from Pexels
  1. Check your house for any infrastructural damages.
  2. Always wear your N-95 mask. Also, wear goggles to keep your eyes protected.
  3. Cover your skin with protective clothing to prevent irritation from ash contact.
  4. As soon as the ashfall has stopped, clean your roof. Scrape the ash off using a shovel. Exercise extreme caution while doing so.
  5. Unless it’s necessary, avoid traveling. Driving in ash is harmful both to your vehicle and your health. 
  6. Seek immediate treatment for any injuries.
  7. If displaced, practice physical distancing in evacuation centers.
  8. Get in touch with your loved ones and inform them about your whereabouts.
  9. In case of a power outage, ask your local electric cooperative about the resumption of electricity in your area.
  10. Apply for a calamity loan if you have lost or damaged properties.

Takeaway

Whether you’re a tourist visiting a volcano or a resident living near one, the most important advice is to keep calm. It may seem like an impossible task, but it’s vital to your and your loved ones’ survival.

Photo from Pexels

It will help you think clearly and act accordingly. Keeping a level head and applying these tips in case of a disaster will also increase your chances of surviving a volcanic eruption.

Photo from Pexels

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from Pexels

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