PSA: Here's How to Protect Yourself From Ashfall
PHIVOLCS has raised the alert status of Taal Volcano to Alert Level 4.
(SPOT.ph) The Philippines is on high alert after Taal Volcano had a phreatic explosion, a.k.a. a steam-driven explosion, around 1 p.m. on January 12. As of 7:30 p.m., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has raised the alarm to Alert Level 4. "This means that hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days," according to the advisory.
The resulting spew of ash from the volcano has reached parts of Metro Manila, with the Department of Health issuing an advisory on the health effects of ashfall. Among the listed health effects include nose, throat, and eye irritation, coughing, minor skin problems, discomfort while breathing, bronchitis-like symptoms, and even injuries or death due to roof collapse or vehicular accident resulting from slippery roads and poor visibility.
According to the advisory, it's best to minimize exposure to ash so staying indoors is recommended. Don't forget to keep all doors and windows closed! Check the list below for what else to do:
- Keep home from infiltration by using damp curtains, blankets, or clothing
- Use dust masks
- Wear goggles or eyeglasses to protect eyes from irritation
- Keep pets in closed shelter
- Clear your roof of ash
- Observe traffic notifications and road safety measure
Volcanic ash, despite the name, is far from the soft flakes we usually associate it with. In an article by National Geographic, it is described as a "mixture of rock, mineral, and glass particles expelled from a volcano during a volcanic eruption."
While no one can say for sure what the next few hours, or days, may bring, it's best to always choose to be safe. The colossal explosion of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 has not been forgotten, so here's hoping we won't have to relive those days anytime soon.