As monsoon rains and typhoons continue to bring havoc to our country, many of our kababayans in the far flung regions of the Philippines are left homeless – worst, grieving on a lost family member. Evidently, we can’t control nature’s devastating power. But being prepared and ready for the worst can save lives. So to make the necessary preparations, we spent hours online and gathered 44 things we should do when preparing for the worst.
Tips for Storm Readiness
• Determine if your home has been built in an area prone to landslides and flooding by getting in touch with your local planning department or your area’s geologist.
• Ask the community leaders about emergency preparedness: find out if there are any evacuation paths, warning signals, and emergency shelters for your area.
• Get your family together to practice how to evacuate in the event of a flood. You should also contact an out-of-town relative or friend and ask them to be your “emergency contact” should someone get separated from your group during an emergency. Every member of your family should know who this person is and how to reach them.
• Give everyone in the family emergency numbers to save in their phones.
• If anyone in your family is elderly or has special needs, you should let local authorities know.
• Walk around your house and see if there is anything that can pose a risk to you in case of a flood. If there is standing water and there are any fallen power lines, you have to be ready to turn off the electrical power. It’s also important that you turn off the water supply and gas line prior to evacuating. If there are any parts of the house that seem unstable, make sure you secure them properly.
• Purchase a fire extinguisher and teach people in the house where you keep it and how it’s used.
• Find and buy sump pumps that have back-up power.
• Ask about your location’s estimated flood elevation , and then hire a professional electrician to adjust all your electric components (wiring, switches, circuit breakers and sockets) at least a foot above that level.
• Keep flood water from entering your home through toilets, drains, and sewers by installing backflow valves or plugs.
• If there are any fuel tanks in your home, be sure to anchor them firmly. If left loose, it can be swept away by water and hit other homes.
If under flood warning
• Turn on the TV or radio and listen for updates. Also, put together the emergency supplies you’ve managed to stock beforehand.
• If it looks like you’ll be evacuated, turn off the gas valve and the main power switch, as well as all utilities.
• Prepare all of your immunization records or try to recall your last tetanus shot. This will come in handy if you ever get punctured in the flood and the wound gets contaminated.
• Sanitize sinks and bathtubs with bleach and collect clean water in them. You can also use plastic bottles to stock water for emergencies.
• If you have any possessions like furniture, grills, or garbage cans outside, either tie them down or bring them inside.
Supplies to stock for emergencies
It’s necessary to stock your home with important supplies that will last you the entire period of the emergency. You should at least have the following at the ready anytime:
• Around five gallons of clean water for each member of the family to last you up to five days
• Enough non-perishable goods to last for up to five days (if there are canned goods, remember to keep a can opener together with them)
• A first-aid kit that contains a manual, as well as prescription and special medication.
• Battery-powered flashlights and radios, and spare batteries
• Blankets or sleeping bags
• Chemicals that can be used to purify water, like chlorine or iodine tablets, or even ordinary chlorine bleach
• Infant supplies like baby food and or formula, and disposable diapers
• Disposable sanitary cloths like toilet paper and baby wipes to clean yourselves with in case water for bathing won’t be available
• Toothpaste, soap, sanitary napkins, and other items for personal hygiene
• An emergency bag containing food supplies, flares, jumper cables, maps, repair tools, a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags or blankets, etc. to keep in your car
• Things you can use to walk through the flood, like strong shoes, rubber boots, and gloves.
• Mosquito repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin, long-sleeved tops and pants to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes that will most likely be around because of all the stagnant water around.
Getting ready for evacuation
You should be prepared for whether or not you will be evacuated. Once they issue a flood watch, you have to:
• Check that your car is fueled up and the emergency bag in there is ready and complete.
• Arrange with family or friends for transportation if you have no vehicle
• Take a waterproof container and fill it with important documents like insurance cards, ID cards and medical records to take with you to the evacuation shelter.
• Collect water in your clean containers.
• If you own any pets, find a pet shelter where you can leave them. In many cases, emergency shelters won’t take them in for because of sanitation guidelines.
• Check to see if your emergency supplies are complete, and make sure everyone remembers your emergency plan.
• Watch the TV or listen to the radio for live weather updates.
• Stay alert for warning signals or disaster sirens.
• Set the temperature of your freezers or refrigerators at the lowest possible level to keep them cool.
When you learn that you need to be evacuated
Never refuse when you are told to evacuate. If your house & lot is in a low-lying are or on the path of rising waters, local authorities will ask you to leave. Once they issue a flood warning and ask you to evacuate your home:
• Take only the important items and leave everything else behind
• Take the time to switch off water, electricity, and gas.
• Keep yourself from getting electrocuted when the power goes back on by disconnecting all your appliances.
• Follow the route that the authorities tell you and be prepared to face heavy traffic.
• Keep from trying to walk or drive across creeks or flooded paths.
If you are told that evacuation is not necessary
In order to stay safe during the storm:
• Follow the weather updates on the radio or television.
• Get ready to move to a shelter or to a neighboring home if your property has been damaged, or in case emergency people instruct you to do so.
For more articles and tips, you may visit our blog.
Photo by: Dawn.com