Taal Volcano has officially erupted, and the ashfall may only get worse from here on out.

So here’s how you can protect yourself from the ash fall!

ashfall in metro manila

In times of calamity, we believe preparedness is the key to survival. So here’s how you can prepare and protect yourself from the toxic ashfall! But here’s hoping things don’t escalate to dire conditions than they are now.

The government has officially advised the complete and total evacuation of the surrounding towns and cities within 14km of Taal volcano. Although the ashfall is on a completely different level in the areas nearest to the volcano, the ashfall has also made its way to Metro Manila. And most, if not all, schools in the Metro have suspended classes. And the local government has urged private companies to suspend work as well. And that’s because the ashfall is toxic and prolonged exposure may lead to serious respiratory problems. So we have compiled some tips to protect yourself from the dangers of ashfall.

*Photo courtesy of the Philippine Star

General Safety

protect yourself from ashfall

And thankfully the Department of Health (DoH), have rolled out these notices for the general public to use as a guideline. So of course, at number 1, its best to stay indoors to avoid the ashfall. And here’s a tip, block out crevices like the underside of doors with a damp rag to keep the ash out of your homes.

And of course, have an emergency bag ready. Especially since volcanic eruptions often come with earthquakes, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. So always have an emergency bag ready filled with water, food, a change of clothes, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and the like.

Food Safety

protect yourself from ashfall

Ashfall can easily contaminate food and water, especially if left out in the open. If you have water tanks at home, make sure that the lid is sealed well. And as a precautionary measure, stock up on water as well. And make sure that you wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly, especially if they came from the market.

Eye Safety

protect yourself from ashfall

And it’s also important to note that during times like these, our eyes are most susceptible to fine particles like ash and dust. So to protect them, you should opt for goggles and glasses if you need to go out.

Face Masks

So while this man’s intentions are admirable, surgical masks are not enough to filter out the smoke, ash, and other harmful elements from the ashfall. So, to protect yourself better from the ashfall, it is recommended to use N95 masks and P100 masks instead.

n95 mask

N95 masks, or N95 respirators, is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. The ‘N95’ means that the respirator blocks out at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 microns) particles.

p100 mask

Meanwhile, P100 respirators are effective at blocking 99.97 percent of oil-based particles when properly worn. They can protect wearers from exposure to dust, fumes, and hazardous mists. And provide complete protection against non-oil-based particles, like lead, arsenic, and cadmium.

Now, both N95 and P100 masks are properly labeled, but always ask a store clerk to make sure you’re buying the right item.

Here’s where you can buy N95 and P100 masks!

protect yourself from ashfall

Mercury Drug (Click here for a list of branches)

Watsons (Click here for a list of branches)

K2 Pharmacy (Click here for a list of branches)

Wilcon Depot (Click here for a list of branches)

True Value (Click here for a list of branches)

Handyman (Click here for a list of branches)

Ace Hardware (Click here for a list of branches)

Daiso Japan (Click here for a list of branches)

Medical Center Trading Corporation (Click here for a list of branches)

Philippine Medical Supplies (located at G. Araneta Avenue, Bagong Barrio West, Caloocan City)

Medical Supplies Depot (located at Unit 10-1, One Global Place, 5th Avenue corner 25th Street, Bonifacio Global City)

Overall, we hope everyone stays safe in this time of calamity. And we hope you can extend your hearts to those who are most affected by the Taal volcano eruption.

So we hope you take heed and practice these tips to protect yourself from the ashfall. And if there are any additional tips you would like to share, we’d love to hear what you think! So share with us your thoughts in the comments down below! Or hit us up on our Facebook or Twitter @UDoUPh.

*Header photo credit to Atty. Dante T. Pamintuan