14 August 2012

My Emergency Preparedness To-Do List

I live in Quezon City (since 1995) and  I studied college in a university at Taft Avenue, Manila.  So I guess I am pretty much familiar with flood.  I remember my first time.  I had no choice but to walk towards our house in knee-deep flood.  As I felt the dirty water on my feet, I called my mom (using Motorolla MicroTAC, hahaha!) and cried.

Year after year, our house experience flood.  I stay on the second floor and when my aunt was still staying on the ground floor, her furniture and cabinets were elevated, in anticipation of the flood.  When it rains and it starts to flood, like robots, we transfer our cars to an area that is not flooded and my aunt transfers to the second floor.  When the flood subsides, we clean and move on.  We did the same when typhoons like Milenyo and Ondoy hit Metro Manila.

However, having Julia in our home now made us realize that we cannot deal with natural calamities the same way we used to.  During the recent monsoon flooding, we realized that we need to do the following (not just in case of typhoon and flood, but also other natural calamities and emergency situations):

Supplies = 3 + 1
Our supplies at home is good for 3 weeks.  We need to add an extra week worth of supplies as buffer so that we have enough in case of emergencies.  We were supposed to buy sterilized water and milk for Julia last Monday night.  But it was raining hard and we were stranded at home due to the flood.  Also, Ate Annie told me that we only have 1 5-Gallon bottle of drinking water left.  Good thing the sun finally showed up so we were able to buy the supplies we need.  If it continued to rain, we will not only lack supplies for Julia but also food and supplies for our household.

Emergency Supplies/Equipment should be ready at all times
Having a rechargeable light with fan is essential; especially when you have a newborn or a toddler.  We have one.  But we can't use it because we did not charge the batteries (smart, right!?).  We were fortunate that we had electricity the whole time.  Obviously, it is important to charge emergency supplies/equipment.  Often times, emergency situations do not happen with an advance notice or warning.  Forecasts are helpful but mother nature can suddenly take a different course.

Basic Supplies for Emergency
We rely on technology and electricity.  Mobile phones, television, internet, aircon, electric fans etc. We rely on them for communication and news updates regarding the weather and current events. However, there are instances during natural calamities that the electricity supply is affected.  This is the reason why we must have basic supplies in our house like:
  • Hand Fan
  • Batteries (AA, AAA)
  • Radio (Battery Operated)
  • Flashlight
  • Candles with lighter or matches
  • Kulambo (Mosquito Net)

Establish Home Emergency Procedures
  1. Set-up and write emergency procedures for our house.  
    • Enumerate steps or guidelines in case of natural calamities and other emergencies.
    • Include Warning Systems issued by government agencies (e.g. PAGASA)  
    • Include Important contact details:
      • Emergency Hotlines
      • Address and contact numbers of relatives who can help in case of emergencies
      • Contact numbers of family members (mobile phone and office number) 
    • Explain when and how to operate emergency equipment (e.g. Fire extinguisher)
    • Enumerate evacuation guidelines - when and where to go in case of evacuation 
  2. Explain and discuss emergency procedures to our family and helpers.  Post emergency contact numbers and other important contact details in visible areas in the house for easy reference.  
Presence of Mind is a must!
Presence of Mind - self control in a crisis; ability to say or do the right thing in an emergency
The supplies and emergency procedures will be useless if members of our household do not have presence of mind.  It is an essential component of emergency preparedness.  Familiarization of the emergency procedures may increase our confidence in handling crisis or emergency situations so it is best to regularly revisit, review and update them.  

Whether we stay at home or work in the office, it gives us peace of mind to know that the people in our home know what to do in case of emergencies.  More importantly, we are assured that they can protect my daughter because they are prepared and can be trusted to do the right thing.

Do you have any tips to add on my to-do list?  What do you do to ensure that your family members are prepared to handle emergency situations?

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