Let’s get one thing out of the way first. After Egay and Falcon, how are you and your family? I sure hope that you’re reading this post dry and safe.
Now, how was your experience during these typhoons? Were you comfortable? Did you have peace of mind knowing that you and your family are safe? Were you able to live life normally except for the fact that you’re being battered by rains and winds?
Your answer to these questions depend on your disaster preparedness. Yes, this is a huge issue considering the fact that the Philippines has a welcome mat for typhoons. According to Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), we’re hit by 19 typhoons each year on average. Milenyo and Ondoy will tell us that that’s a valid source of concern. However, we can’t really do something to stop them from happening. It’s Mother Nature’s call. However, we can do something in order to lessen their effects. As a Filipino dad, it’s your responsibility to ensure your family’s preparedness for disaster.
In countries like the Unites States, disaster preparedness is a huge concern. This is especially true after Hurricane Katrina. Families there are more prepared than ever. Unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said about the Philippines. Sadly, a lot of people still take disaster and emergency preparedness lightly. In fact, a lot of people take natural disasters lightly. This is evident with the fact that a lot of people refuse to evacuate when asked.
Importance of Disaster Preparedness
Why is preparedness for disaster very important? Well, ask any Boy Scout and he’ll tell you that it’s better to always be prepared. Let’s say that a huge typhoon hits your area and there’s flood everywhere. Unfortunately, you weren’t able to stock on food because you’re used to doing weekly groceries and it just so happened that it’s the end of the week so you have nothing. What are you going to eat? What are you going to drink? Because your family is starving, you decide to walk through waist-deep floods in order to go to the nearest store. Unfortunately, their stocks are gone because of panic-buying. Of course, you’ll be lucky if you reach the grocery safely.
Worse, your kid gets sick and you have no medicines because you have no survival kit. You can’t even give paracetamol to your kid because you don’t have any.
So you wait for things to die down so you can resume your life. Unfortunately, you have no clue as to what’s happening or when it’s going to end. This is because the electricity died and you can’t access any updates.
Disaster preparedness tips
I’m sorry if you’re upset with how I painted the picture. But if it’s the only way to get you to ensure your family’s preparedness for disaster, then I’ve done my job.
Now that you realize the importance of being prepared, here are some tips:
- Secure your home
Do a yearly check of the stability of your home. Can your roof withstand 150 kph winds? Is it safe from floods? Do you have a 2nd floor where your family can go to in case of a flood?
- Stock up on supplies
Simply put, make sure that your family has enough to eat and drink for at least 3 days. Remember that it will take days for help to arrive if needed so make sure that you can take care of yourself and your family while waiting for help. There are also other supplies that you have to stock up on in addition to food and water. I’ll provide a specific list later on in the post.
- Have a couple of bug out bags ready
A bug out bag or 72-hour kit is very important especially if you need to evacuate. It’s a bag that can help you survive for 72 hours outside your home. Now, it’s important that you have at least two – one at home and one in the trunk of your car. Also, make sure that it’s easily accessible just in case you need to grab it and run. I’ll provide a good list of contents of the bug out bag later on in the post.
- Educate family members
As the head of the family, make sure that everyone, and I mean everyone in your family knows what needs to be done in an emergency.
Here are the things that you should have on your survival kit:
- Food (canned goods work best)
- Water (stock up on those 5-gallon water containers)
- First aid kits
- Heavy duty flashlight
- Radio that can be operated with batteries
- Heavy duty trash bags that can be used as ponchos
- Fire starters
- Swiss Army knife
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Duct tape
- Strong cords
- Inflatable life raft
Now, it’s important to note that you can add to this list depending on the needs of your family. This is just a basic list so add things as you see fit.
Bug out bag
This bag can help ensure your survival and comfort when evacuating. Take a big, sturdy, and waterproof bag that you can comfortably carry and fill it up with these things:
- Food and water for at least 72 hours
- First aid kit
- Fire starters
- Compass and maps
- Disaster and emergency preparedness guide
- Battery-operated radio
- Medical records of the whole family
- Clothes (make sure to include clothes for weather protection)
- Firearms if you’re licensed to carry
- Swiss Army knife
- Duct tape
Again, this is just a basic list so add things to it as you see fit.
As a Filipino dad, do your job of protecting your family and do it now. Don’t put off another day because these natural disasters come when you least expect it. Take care!
Photo from IRRI Images