Ashfall Preparedness: What to do before, during, and after?

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) released a guideline on what to do before, during, and after ashfall is expelled in your area, possibly due to hazardous volcanic activity.

Volcanic ash is very fine particles of rock erupted explosively into the air by a volcano. Due to its fine size, abrasive and corrosive nature, ash can threaten the health of people and livestock, pose hazards to flying airplanes, damage pieces of machinery and electronics, interrupt services such as electricity, water supply, and communication.

Here are some reminders what to do before, during, and after volcanic ash has been spewed in the air.

BEFORE

  • Listen to news updates from authorities when there is an impending eruption that may cause ashfall.
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit and put it in an accessible area.
  • Prepare dust masks or clean cloth for covering the nose and goggles for eye protection.
  • Prepare cleaning supplies like broom, vacuum cleaner, and shovel.
  • Consider that you can be stuck in your vehicle so put an emergency kit inside your vehicle too.
  • Have food and water provision for pets and other livestock.
  • Know the location of the evacuation area.

DURING

  • Stay calm and stay indoors.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with dust mask or damp clean cloth.
  • Close the doors and windows of your house and car.
  • Place damp towels or cloth on door opening and other open areas.
  • Listen to the news for updates.
  • Keep your pets inside the house.
  • If you’re driving a vehicle, pull on the side of the road and stop if there is heavy ashfall that causes poor visibility.
  • If outside, look for immediate shelter and wear goggles to protect the eyes. Avoid wearing contact lenses.
  • Cover water containers to avoid contamination.

AFTER

  • As soon as the ashfall stops, scrape the ash from the roof of your house to prevent damage or collapse.
  • Clean the ash with water to prevent corrosion.
  • Clean the ash on other parts of the house and on your car.
  • Collect the ashes and put them in an area that is far from a water source to prevent clogging.
  • Boil water before drinking.
  • Use detergent when washing clothes that is covered with ash.
  • Wash the grass if you have to feed livestock.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when cleaning the ash.

While we cannot stop volcanic eruptions, we can help reduce its adverse effects by staying informed and prepared.


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