The Baha Survival Guide: Tips, Gadgets, and More for Flood-Weary Pinoys
If the weather condition in Metro Manila during the last week were of any indication, it’s looking like we’re going to have to deal with Ondoy-like flooding situations more frequently in the near future. The climate is definitely changing, and while politicians far and wide continue to debate whether or not all the pollution that we humans jettison into the atmosphere is actually causing this anomaly, we little folks have to deal with the consequences.
This is why we at Poundit were inspired to come up with this survival guide to help Pinoys keep their heads above the water. We’ll afford you a list of useful tips that could help you immensely if you ever have the misfortune of having to deal with a flooding scenario.
Don’t Build on a Floodplain or in a Flood-Prone Area
If you’re in the market for a new home, it’s best to choose a location that is not in a flood-prone area. Seriously, it’s just not worth the headache or the risk to your life later on. If this can’t be avoided, consider buying a home insurance that offers flood coverage.
Learn and Practice Evacuation Routes Beforehand
Remember that flooding can occur because of continuous heavy rains or because of storm surges that originate from the ocean when there is a typhoon or hurricane. Floodwaters can rise pretty quickly, which means you have to know exactly where you need to go if and when flooding occurs in your area. Make sure to determine the evacuation site selected by your local government, and practice going to that location regularly.
Prepare Essential Tools and Supplies That You Can Use When Disaster Strikes
Gather supplies that you can use in the event that you have to flee immediately or when essential utilities and services are cut off. Make sure to stock the following: drinking water in plastic bottles; non-perishable food products for people, babies, and pets; a first aid kit; non-prescription and prescription medicines; tools and supplies; clothes; beddings; and emergency lights.
Also keep an extra mobile phone that is fully charged, as well as several powerbanks that you can use to charge your devices with in case the power in your area is cut off. Smartphones are important tools that you can use to keep in touch with your loved ones or to call for emergency help when necessary. Also consider bringing waterproof speakers and radio for entertainment and for getting important weather and aid updates, respectively.
Protect Your Home against Floods
When flooding is imminent, turn off utilities in your home like electricity and water to prevent damage to your electric wiring and pipes, as well as to prevent the risk of electric shock. Move outdoor furniture indoors, and carry all essential furnishings and appliances to a higher floor, including your television, desktop computer, sound system, game console, and others.
Use Technology to Keep Track of Weather Updates and Flood Warnings
It’s good to stay abreast of the latest weather updates via radio and TV, but you are likely to have a more comprehensive understanding of the current weather situation if you use your smartphone or tablet to keep track of what’s happening. Make sure to download the official Android app of PAGASA, the Philippines’ meteorological and hydrological services agency, as well as the iPhone and Android apps of Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazard), our country’s principal disaster risk reduction and management program.
Heed Government Warnings and Calls for Evacuation
Don’t be a hardhead and be one of those people who ignore warnings from their local governments, PAGASA, or the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). These agencies usually announce public storm warning signals and color-coded rainfall advisories depending on the severity of the weather and flooding situation. Leave your home when you are told to evacuate, and move immediately to higher ground. No personal belonging is worth risking your life for!
Never Immerse Yourself or Drive into Floodwaters
Not only are floodwaters potential sources of contamination and illnesses, they also pose an electric shock risk if there are downed or damaged power lines around. The flood itself is dangerous since a mere six inches of fast-moving water can quickly knock a person over; another six inches, and it will be strong enough to carry your car away. Floodwaters also often carry debris that can cause bodily injuries.
Know What to Do If You’re Caught in a Flood or Fast-Moving Water
If you’re caught in a flood while you’re in your vehicle, abandon your car and move to higher ground. If the water rises above too quickly, move to the top of your vehicle and signal for help. If you’re trapped in a house or a low building, move to a higher floor. However, move to the roof immediately if the water is rising too fast and there’s a possibility that you could get trapped inside an upper floor of a house or building
Keep Yourself Safe After the Floodwaters Subside
Only return to your home when you get a go signal from the authorities. When cleaning up your home, be wary of the remaining floodwater, which could be contaminated by sewage and chemicals or is hiding dangerous animals, debris, or live electrical equipment.
Floods are a huge risk to public health and safety, and as such, people need to prepare for them adequately. The tips above should help you cover your bases so that you’ll be more equipped to handle a disaster of this kind the next time it happens.