By Jullie Y. Daza
Three years ago at the height of Francis Tolentino’s pitch for earthquake preparedness, our household joined in the national exercise to practice dropping, covering, and holding, and dutifully obeyed advice to pack an emergency kit to help us survive a magnitude-7 or 8 shaker.
As it turns out, kit is not the right noun to use, not even close. What’s more, one does not pack food, water, batteries, and other perishable stuff in a bag and just forget it, leaving it to languish by the main door or stuck in a corner of the garage. After the recent earthquakes in Batangas and Lanao, earthquake consciousness is in fashion again. When Cook picked up a load of food and other basic items at the supermarket a few days ago, the cashier asked her the trendiest question post-Holy Week: “Are these for your earthquake emergency?”
Dr. Renato Solidum of Phivolcs and Tim Orbos of MMDA should be glad that earthquake preparedness is “in” once again. Even the building administrator of a 19-story condo was not about to let the opportunity pass to issue a reminder aptly titled WIDS (what if disaster strikes) and what such a WIDS bag should contain. The list, courtesy of NDRRMC, is very long: first-aid meds for fever, diarrhea, injuries; flashlight, candles, matches, rope; batteries, whistle, portable radio; drinking water in jugs, bottles; special needs of children and elderlies; old newspapers; pen and paper; important documents like birth and marriage certificates, land titles; ready-to-eat food that should last two days; blanket, clothes, raincoat, slippers, boots; toilet paper, sanitary supplies; card case for ID with blood type, contact number; and cash.
Honestly, can anyone rush out of their house lugging such a load as the earth moves and shakes and the sky is falling? If practice makes perfect, we should start practicing and change our “kit” to a balikbayan box with wheels!
Another reminder from Usec Solidum: “Update your supplies every six months. Some of them have an expiry date.”
My prayer is may I never have to drag that kit or bag or box out of my house.