The typhoons, tropical storms, and low-pressure areas in recent months show how we regularly face the threat of floods. With this in mind, knowledge of basic disaster preparedness, particularly for flooding, will go a long way in keeping you safe.
Below you’ll find a guide for building your basic disaster preparedness kit and tips for staying safe. In general, most of what you need is the same as what you’ll need in any other disaster, like an earthquake. Of course, flooding has its own share of unique things to prepare for. Find out more below:
Prepare An Emergency Kit
Ideally, you should have a general kit you can use for any disaster. These should contain basic survival tools and emergency supplies, and be kept in homes, cars, and offices.
These are some of the basics:
- Food and water: Buy non-perishable food that are still packed with nutrients and calories. Cereal bars, nuts, and dried and/or canned meat, vegetables, and fruit will keep you energized. Don’t forget to prepare water as well. You can also opt to have candies for a sugar boost when you need it. Pack enough to last each person using the kit 3 days.
- First aid kit: Each first aid kit should have alcohol or non-alcohol antiseptic wipes, band-aids, cotton balls and swabs, iodine, bandages, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, saline, and dressings. If you or your any member of the household have special medication, pack those too.
- Communication supplies: Your phone will most likely not work in the event of heavy rains and strong winds. Have an AM/FM radio on hand to hear the news and a two-way radio in case you need to contact someone.
- Other basics: Two essentials you should have in your kit and on your person are a whistle and a flashlight. Your kit should have copies of important documents like deeds and identification in a sealed plastic bag. Also have extra clothes, hygiene kits, and plenty of batteries.
Keep all of these in a lightweight, waterproof container. You can check with your local government unit or Department of the Interior and Local Government field office if they have kits available. For other go-bag essentials, you can check out Operation L!STO’s Gabay at Mapa (Guide and Map).
In addition to these, get clothes that can help you traverse floods. While moving around in floodwaters is generally unadvisable, if you’re forced to for your own safety, it pays to have rain jackets and boots.
When it comes to disaster, there’s no better time to prepare for floods than when the sun is still shining.
Start with your kit. Make sure it’s complete and its contents are still usable. Check the expiration dates on food, medicine, even batteries. Don’t forget to test your equipment.
Next, plan for the worst. Clear your drainpipes of debris and check your roofs and ceilings for holes regularly. You should also check if your area is prone to floods. Use Project NOAH to help you identify potential threats. If you’re on higher ground, make sure you have supplies in case floodwaters isolate you. However, if you live on lower ground, look for possible evacuation centers or family or friends who can accommodate you.
If you can, discuss with your family in friends what to do in case there’s a flood. For example, if a flood were to strike your area, what should your children do if they’re still at school? Where should they go when classes end? Answering questions like these will make you and your loved ones prepared and level-headed should disasters hit.
In addition to this, check with your local government, especially with your barangay, to know their plans and try to participate in disaster preparedness drills or training.
Know When To Move
Many LGUs issue evacuation warnings before flooding hits. Evacuating your home during a flood should be treated as a last resort. Do it only when survival is on the line and any rescue won’t reach you in time.
First, make sure you the floodwaters are safe enough to traverse. If you’re caught in a strong current, you will be at the at mercy of the waters. Make sure you at least put on boots to avoid waterborne diseases like the dreaded leptospirosis. While wading through water, beware of manholes. Stay above the water as much as you can.
If you must drive, remember the following:
- Put your car in low gear.
- Turn off the aircon.
- Don’t stop moving while in water.
You can also invest in things like a snorkel for your car. When it comes to driving through floods though, a general rule applies: When in doubt, don’t. You have been informed.
For those who have gone the extra step of preparing lifeboats, make sure to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones first. While it’s good to help others, make sure you don’t take in too many people such that you overload your boat.
After you get to safety, inform authorities of people you may have passed by but were unable to help.
Should you need rescue, call the national emergency hotline 911 or any of the following agencies and organizations:
The government’s disaster response cluster can help conduct rescue operations for those stranded in their homes. Alternatively, instead of calling them, you can also use social media to help give information during disasters. During disasters, government and media monitor hashtags like #RescuePH and #FloodPH to get a picture of conditions during disasters.
The saying “The Filipino spirit is waterproof” is a testament to our resiliency during disasters. However, resiliency isn’t just about reacting. From Ondoy to Yolanda, our nation has suffered many tragedies. From these, however, we have learned to prepare.
Disaster resilient infrastructure might take years to prepare but you can still do something to prepare. Do what you can. It counts for you and your loved ones. Ingat!