MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) will make available to the public beginning this year its diagnostic tool for helping people gauge if their houses are safe to live in.
“We’ll launch that tool within 2014’s first quarter,” said Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr.
The launch is part of Phivolcs’ continuing campaign for safe construction to help better protect life, limb and property.
Phivolcs is pursuing such campaign, noting earthquakes are natural occurrences in the Philippines since this country lies in tremor-prone Pacific Ring of Fire.
Solidum noted the tool features 12 safe construction-related questions that users must answer using the numbers one or zero to get a total score that’ll indicate whether or not their houses are safe.
A score of 11 to 12 points indicate a user’s house is safe, he said.
He said a score of eight to 10 points indicate the user must already have his or her house inspected.
”Scores below eight points indicate the house is dangerous to live in,” he noted.
This week, Phivolcs reported several tremors below magnitude four occurred in Tagbilaran City, capital of Bohol province.
Solidum said those tremors were still aftershocks of the magnitude 7.2 killer earthquake that rocked Bohol on Oct. 15 last year.
The earthquake’s occurrence further fuelled Phivolcs’ call for compliance with the country’s National Building Code and other construction-related regulations.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said 222 people were reported dead from that earthquake which also left nearly 800 victims injured and eight persons missing as of Oct. 31.
NDRRMC likewise reported the earthquake damaged severalinfrastructure and almost 67,000 houses in Bohol, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Iloilo, Siquijor and Guimaras provinces.
Authorities observed substandard construction in most of the damaged houses.
To help prepare for possible disasters, Phivolcs earlier urged people to know the earthquake hazards in their areas.
”Follow structural design and engineering practices whenconstructing a house or building,” Phivolcs also said.
It likewise called for assessing structural soundness of buildings and houses so these can be strengthened or retrofitted if necessary.
Secure heavy furniture and cabinets to walls, check stability of hanging objects and store breakable items, harmful chemicals and flammable materials in the lowest secured shelves, the agency added.
”The key to effective disaster prevention is planning,” Phivolcs stressed. (MNS)