"How Safe Is My House?" app available for download via Google Play (screenshot)

MANILA – An app to check if your house is earthquake-resilient is now downloadable for free via Google Play, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) announced on Thursday.

The "How Safe Is My House?" app serves as self-check platform for earthquake safety of concrete hollow block (CHB) houses, suitable both for residential houses and one to two-storey CHB buildings.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. said they did not spend anything for the development of the app, since it was developed by in-house staff.

They only spent almost PHP1,000 for the one-time subscription in Google Playstore, he said.

"It was developed by Phivolcs staff, but part of the app's content was previously developed by experts from a collaborative project with various agencies," Solidum said.

According to Phivolcs, these agencies include 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).

Solidum said the app will help users to determine if the house could withstand an intensity VIII earthquake.

"The use of this self-check app will enable house occupants to be aware of their safety, and also educate them of the simple steps to consider to ensure the integrity of houses during strong earthquakes," he noted.

He said the widespread use of this app in a locality will also enable disaster managers and authorities to have an idea of the possible impact of an earthquake in their area.

App users will have to answer 12 questions:

1. Who built or designed my house?
2. How old is my house?
3. Has my house been damaged by past earthquakes or disasters?
4. What is the shape of my house?
5. Has my house been extended or expanded?
6. Are the external walls of my house 6inch (150mm) thick CHB?
7. Are steel bars of standard size and spacing used in walls?
8. Are there unsupported walls more than 3 meters wide?
9. What is the gable of my house made of?
10. What is the foundation of my house?
11. What is the soil condition under my house?
12. What is the overall condition of the house?

Meanwhile, Solidum said Phivolcs targets to launch a web version of this app within the year.

Currently, the app uses English language, but Solidum said Phivolcs will try to also offer it in Filipino language before the web version launch.

"The web version will be in English language, but we plan to have Tagalog translation, as well as other dialects," he said. (PNA