Words by Frances Leones
Out of all the unexpected things that can happen in life, none is more unexpected or as frightening as a natural disaster. The Philippines is a regular target. Our country experiences typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions on an almost regular basis, causing loss of life and mild to severe damage to structures and property.
This is due to our country’s geographical position, lying close to the equator that causes us to have a warmer and more humid climate that’s perfect for creating tropical storms. According to PAGASA, an average total of 20 typhoons pass through the Philippine Area of Responsibility each year. On top of that, the Philippines sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire – a 40,000-kilometer circle of interconnected fault plates lined with volcanos. This puts our country at a higher risk of experiencing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Careful preparation is key to surviving these types of calamities so, before the next typhoon or earthquake hits, here are the things you need to do.
7. Stay Updated
Tune in to the news and listen carefully. PAGASA and PHILVOLCS monitor our country for incoming storms and signs of possible earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Make sure to tune in to your radios or TVs if ever there’s an announcement from these organizations. The faster you receive news of an incoming disaster, the more time you’ll have to prepare.
6. Practice Safety Drills
Remember those annual evacuation drills you had to do in school? You can practice outside of school hours with your family so you guys are prepared. Practice the “Duck, Cover, and Hold” earthquake drill at home to keep your senses sharp. The last thing you want to do when an actual earthquake occurs is run around in a panic because you have no idea what to do.
5. Get All Important Documents Copied and Compiled
It’s important to have official papers pertaining to your identity in times of crisis. Photocopy your birth certificates, government IDs such as passports, and medical records. Compile all of these documents in a folder and keep them where you can easily grab them and go in case you need to evacuate.
4. Know Escape Routes and Nearest Shelter Locations
Take the time to go through your house to find possible escape routes you can take in case the house is damaged by fire, earthquake, or typhoon. Make sure these routes are safe enough for you and your family to pass through. Also, be aware of the location of the nearest evacuation center. You never know when you might need to leave your house to seek shelter.
3. Prepare An Emergency Bag
Get a backpack and fill it with enough bottles of water and ready-to-eat food to last you at least a few days or a week, a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, a change of clothes, important papers, some money, and a portable radio. If you ever need to evacuate, make sure to bring the bag with you as it will be your survival kit during the hard times. Keep it somewhere near for maximum speed and efficiency while evacuating.
2. Stock Up on Food and Water
During natural disasters, food and water shortages are inevitable. So while there’s no danger, start stockpiling on bottled water for drinking, cooking, and sanitation. Purchase foods such as canned goods that have a longer shelf life and need no cooking. It’s also a good idea to get energy bars, cookies, and candies to give you that much-needed burst of energy to keep going.
1. Charge Your Phone (and Pack Your Charger)
In the events of an earthquake, fire, or typhoon, your phone is going to be your lifeline. You will need it to contact your loved ones if ever you’re in different areas when disaster strikes and to stay updated with the latest news regarding safe zones where you can evacuate to. If your phone runs out of battery, getting help is going to be a thousand times harder. So it’s important to always leave the house with a fully-charged phone, a powerbank, and your charger. Just make sure that the charger you pack won’t tangle as it can be a hassle to untangle charging cables when you’re in a life-or-death situation and that it will last you, whatever the weather.
We recommend Bridgetech, their charging cables having passed the EU and EN standards of Electro Magnetic Compatibility to ensure long-lasting usage. The cables are made with durable nylon-mesh that make them tangle-free. They also come in a cool aluminum alloy foil insulation shell that makes for easy cable storage in your backpack or emergency Grab & Go Bag. Remember: communication is important during times of disaster. Never let your phone run out of battery in a time of crisis.