Natural Disasters & Preparedness
In the past few years alone, we’ve had so many natural disasters that it’s hard to keep count. Whether we care about it or not, we are feeling the effects of climate change more and more each day. Heat waves are happening, seas are expanding, and water levels are rising, all at a faster rate. Not to mention we are experiencing more earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
You just never know what can happen these days. With this, it’s good to have some readiness in the face of environmental devastation. No one is ever a hundred percent prepared for disasters, but we can always prepare or at least have an idea of what to do in times of crisis.
What to Do Before - General Disaster Preparedness Reminders
Here are some actions you can take once you receive public announcements (for brownouts or storms) in advance:
Charge your phones, power banks, and other devices
Have your flashlights within reach
Conserve the battery of your devices during brownouts
Store water in large drums if you’re using electric water pumps
Get your spare batteries and candles ready
Check LPG tanks and turn off when not in use
Stay updated with the latest news
Identify all safety exits on your property
Have your emergency bag ready in case of the need to evacuate
Check your pets
What to Do During Natural Disasters
Earthquakes are unexpected and can pose serious risks depending on the location and intensity. Those who live close to the mountains or the coast, in particular, can be caught in heavy floods, landslides, and tsunamis, while city dwellers can face danger if buildings or bridges collapse.
What to do during an earthquake?
Drop, Cover, and Hold: you probably already know this, but it’s worth noting again. Drop to the floor, take cover, and hold your position until the shaking stops. Avoid unnecessary movements during an earthquake and move away from glass or other areas where sharp objects can fall on you.
** If you live in a coastal area, evacuate with your emergency kit, and move somewhere higher if there's a tsunami warning **
Did you know?
Just this December, more than 50 earthquake incidents were recorded in the Philippines, and you can check the data on the website of PHIVOLCS. The July 27 (2022) quake alone resulted in damages amounting to ₱1.88 billion, or US$34 million.
In Oceania, the most intense was the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit Papua New Guinea this year (September 2022). North America also had one in the same month with the same intensity. In Asia, the strongest one recorded this year was the one in Japan, with a magnitude of 7.3 (March 2022).
Typhoons & Heavy Floods
Flooding and typhoons have become common nowadays. During such times, it is crucial to maintain a high level of alertness because these events come with power and water outages, which can come with other issues like getting sick from dirty water or having accidents.
What to do during typhoons?
Safeguard important documents and valuables. Place them in a waterproof envelope if possible.
Stay away from glass panel walls and check for items susceptible to getting carried away by strong winds.
Secure gaps in doors and windows if there are any.
Keep your flashlight within reach.
What to do during heavy floods?
Avoid going in the water if you can, especially if you have an open wound; floodwater is dirty and has different contaminants like feces, blood, or animal urine.
If you need to move furniture or pick some things up, you can use knee-high boots or gloves if you have them at home. You can also use a stick to poke the floor for any obstructions as you walk.
Monitor the news for updates or further announcements.
Water-borne diseases to watch out for during typhoons and floods include the following: leptospirosis, hepatitis, and typhoid fever, among others.
Preparing your Essential Kits
In case of a major calamity, an emergency bag will always come in handy. You can use a duffel bag, a backpack, or any bag that can fit everything you need; this will save you a lot of time if (God forbid) you are required to evacuate immediately.
Emergency Bag (“Go Bag”)
Shirts, shorts, underwear, towels, slippers, power banks, flashlight, chargers, extra batteries, extra plastic bags, first aid kit and toiletry bag (see below), markers, paper, tissue, a whistle, rope, and some cash.
Shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, and your personal care items.
Isopropyl alcohol, gauze pads, gauze bandages, cotton balls, thermometer, hydrogen peroxide, medical tape, reusable ice bag, Betadine, small scissors, personal medicines, waterproof band-aids, gloves, face mask, tweezers, ointments, plastic bags (for waste), and medical wipes.
We cannot do much about nature’s fury, but thankfully, there are some steps that we can take to reduce its damaging impact.
Have a safe and wonderful week ahead!