Feature: DOST-PHIVOLCS recommends use of 'How Safe is My House?' mobile app for earthquake safety

With the conduct of the second quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill on Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 9 a.m., the Department of Science and Technology–Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS) again recommended the use of its "How Safe is My House?" a self-assessment mobile app for earthquake safety.

The self-assessment app--promoting the general safety of concrete houses during strong earthquakes--has been made available for Android users via the Google Play Store.

The DOST-PHIVOLCS earlier released the app to help the public guage a house’s vulnerability to earthquakes and check the safety of concrete hollow block (CHB) houses built in the Philippines.

"Self-check the integrity of your house to width-stand strong earthquakes. This app is intended for 1 to 2-storey Concrete Hollow Block houses, shops, garages and small offices," a description on Play Store says.

"This app also has a built-in earthquake detector which you can activate while you are sleeping. It emits a strong siren as soon as if feels movement," the description also reads.

The app provides a simple and easy-to-use tool for owners and occupants of residential houses and other 1-2-storey CHB buildings. 

By answering 12 questions, Android users can evaluate the safety of their CHB houses, and understand its likely vulnerability to a strong earthquake. The result determines if the structure is safe and presumably built according to standard construction procedures. If not, it may recommend further professional consultations and necessary structural strengthening. 

How Safe is My House? is downloadable for FREE on Google Play Store or through www.tiny.cc/HSIMH.

This mobile app is adapted from the 2014 print information material, which was a major output of the collaborative project of DOST-PHIVOLCS with the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Science and Technology (JST), and the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP). A web-based version and Filipino translation will also be made available soon to stakeholders via multiple channels.

Through this mobile application, DOST-PHIVOLCS aims to reach out to as many Filipinos as possible, making the diagnosis of CHB houses quick and easy. It is envisioned that through this innovation, people would be more conscious of the need to construct seismically-sound structures.

In the future, with existing collaborations with other agencies, the mobile application may be expanded to include other diagnostic tools for natural hazards.

The development of the How Safe is My House app is another DOST-PHIVOLCS initiative that aims to increase the awareness of proper construction practices and standard design, and highlight the importance of structural integrity in building safer and resilient Filipino communities. (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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