Last Sunday, a sudden calamity hit the Philippines. After close to 45 years of being dormant, the Taal volcano has erupted with no pre-eruption signs like tremors. Right now, residents around Taal and Batangas are evacuated to safer places.
The problem is volcanic ashfall is now combined with the air plaguing as far as Bulacan. Ashfall might contain very fine volcanic rock fragments that might enter the lungs. Think of it like inhaling ultra-small shards of glass damaging your lungs.
And we need to protect ourselves from the hazardous effects of it.
In general, ashfall can cause eye irritation, skin problems, nasal irritation, sore throat, and dry cough. For those with respiratory diseases such as Bronchitis and Asthma, it may further aggravate your conditions.
With that, here are what-to-do checklists for volcanic ashfall you should be prepared for:
Refrain from Going Out of the House
The best defense is not going outside of your house. When inside, there is less chance that you will be exposed to the ashfall.
Keep the Doors and Windows Closed
But staying in the house doesn’t mean ashfall can’t go inside. It’s best to keep all the doors and windows closed in your house. As an extra measure, you can place damp towels at the door and tape the openings.
Ashfall may cause water contamination. You need to be ready with drinkable water for at least 72 hours. Also, clean water is essential for those three days.
To add, it would be best to have some emergency food supplies, canned goods, and medicine just in case you can’t go outside anymore.
Use Face Masks
It’s best to use face masks to avoid inhaling harmful substances. The nest would be N95 masks. But just in case you can’t, you can use a surgical mask with two folds of tissue inside it.
Use Glasses/Goggles and Clothing that Limits Skin Exposure
But there are cases that we need to go outside. For your protection (in addition to face masks), use glasses or goggles and clothing that limits skin exposure. In this way, you are able to protect yourself from ashfall contact with your body.
Keep Your Pets Inside
Your pets are not safe from ashfall. Make sure to let them stay inside because they might ingest the harmful particles when they groom themselves.
You need to be careful when driving during an ashfall. Your visibility is lesser, so slow down, especially when you’re at the expressway.
For emergencies, please save these safety hotlines:
- National Emergency Hotline – 911
- Philippine National Police – 117
- NDRRMC – (02) 911-1406, (02) 912-2665, (02) 912-5668, (02) 911-1873
- PHIVOLCS – (02) 426-1468 to 79, local 124/125
- Philippine Red Cross – 143, (02) 527-0000, (02) 527-8385 to 95
- DSWD Disaster Response Unit – (632) 931-81-01 to 07, local 426
- Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) – (02) 8426-0246
With that, we should all stay safe either outdoors or indoors during these trying times.