Thursday, September 29, 2011

Emergency Preparedness - Lessons from past typhoons

I'm in emergency preparedness mode.  By this I mean trying to get all my household chores done before another storm or typhoon hits our area again and cause another power outage and possible flooding - in and outside our home.  This after Typhoon Pedring came with winds that blew our glass windows that I thought they would either break or fall on us.  This after not having any electrical power for more than 12 hours and going without TV cable for over 24 hours.  I do sound like a whimp after seeing what others have gone through.  Others, especially in low-lying areas, has it far worse.  Their homes were flooded and many had to evacuate to higher grounds.  The death toll from Pedring is currently at 21 with 33 missing, many of them children, some of them hit by flying or falling objects.

Another storm is in the Philippine area again - this time storm Quiel.  It hasn't affected us... yet.  So we prepare and clean up after the mess than Pedring left.  For us this means wiping the portions of our house where the leaks left puddles.  It all depends on which direction the wind was blowing and this time it was blowing directly in front of the house.  Therefore the leaks came in the living room section behind the entertainment center, computer and on top of our altar.  Today, a sunny, hot and storm-free day, I put the Santos (our figurines of Jesus, Mary and some Saints) back on the altar, cleaned up the wet spots, wiped down some mildew (it's more of dust that stuck to the wall because of the moist), took out the damp rugs to soak in soap and washed the clothes (3 loads) to take advantage of the sun.  And still there are the leaks that will leave their mark and will take more than a little dust cloth to clean.  But we do what we can.

We make sure that our cell phone is charged, there is battery in the transistor radio and the flashlights.  We have candles aplenty, thanks to the ones that Mom sent in one of the balikbayan boxes, I think she said they were just 25cents.  Food, well, we still have canned foods in the cabinet and there is always Aling Aning, Jojo's local meat/fish/fruit suki a couple of streets from here or the palengke.  With electricity going down, it's not a good idea to keep stock of fresh meats or fish.

I used to have an emergency bag handy with a set of clothes, towel, small flashlight, etc, but I got to use some of their clothes or else use the bag for some occasion.  I should get these ready again.

I try to keep the bucket upstairs where we take our bath full.  I still remember Ondoy after the power came back, we were out of water for several days.  It is worse to not have water than to not have electricity.  We have 3 big containers outside the house in case of such emergencies.

What else?  There are many people out there who have lost their belongings and need food, medicine, water and clothes.  I have several plastic bags of unwanted clothes, small pillows that the kids have outgrown and some blankets.  Several organizations are collecting donations for those who were affected by typhoon Pedring.  This is a good time as any to give away our surplus, or better yet, to give even if it hurts.

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