Is Your Home Prepared for Earthquakes?

The Philippines is located along a typhoon belt and the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happen. Although the earthquakes don’t happen as much as they do in Japan, they still do. And we are always afraid of minor earthquakes triggering “The Big One.” While we have no control over disasters, we do, however, have control over preparing for it.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched the 12-point questionnaire homeowners can use to assess the earthquake readiness of their houses. It’s called the “How Safe is My House? Self-check for Earthquake Safety of Concrete Hollow Block Houses in the Philippines.” Take it here:

  1. Who built or designed my house?
    1. Built or designed by a licensed civil engineer/architect. (+1 pt)
    2. Not built by a licensed civil engineer/architect. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)
  2. How old is my house?
    1. Built in or after 1992. (+1 pt)
    2. Built before 1992. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)
  3. Has my house been damaged by past earthquakes or other disasters?
    1. NO or YES but repaired. (+1 pt)
    2. Yes but not yet repaired. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or known. (+0 pt)
  4.  What is the shape of my house?
    1. Regular (symmetrical, rectangular, box-type, simple). (+1 pt)
    2. Irregular/Complicated. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)
  5. Has my house been extended or expanded?
    1. NO or YES but supervised by a civil engineer/architect. (+1 pt)
    2. Yes, but not supervised by a civil engineer/architect. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)
  6. Are the external walls of my house 6-inch thick concrete hollow block?
    1. Yes, it is 6 inches thick. (+1 pt)
    2. No, it is thinner than 6 inches. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)
  7. Are steel bars of standard size and spacing used in walls?
    1. Yes (10mm diameter, tied and spaced correctly). (+1 pt)
    2. No, fewer and smaller than 10mm. (+0 pt)
    3. None or unknown. (+0 pt)
  8. Are there unsupported walls more than 3 meters wide?
    1. None, all unsupported walls are less than 3m wide. (+1 pt)
    2. Yes, at least one unsupported wall is 3m wide. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)
  9. What is the gable wall of my house made of?
    1. Light materials, properly anchored CHBs, no gable wall. (+1 pt)
    2. Not properly anchored CHBs, bricks, stone. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)
  10. What is the foundation of my house?
    1. Reinforced concrete. (+1 pt)
    2. Stones or unreinforced concrete. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)
  11. What is the soil condition under my house?
    1. Hard (rock or stiff soil). (+1 pt)
    2. Soft (muddy or reclaimed). (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)
  12. What is the overall condition of my house?
    1. Good condition. (+1 pt)
    2. Poor condition. (+0 pt)
    3. It is not clear or unknown. (+0 pt)

If you have scored 7 points or lower, it means your house might not be safe for earthquakes, so we suggest you consult experts soon. If you scored 8 to 10 points, your house might require some strengthening. If you scored 11 to 12 points, it seems like your house is safe, but consult experts either way to be sure.

You can hire home improvement consultants and experts from gawin.ph here.