With the arrival in the Philippines of Typhoon Nona (international name Melor), it’s absolutely vital that each and every one of us know what to do prior, during, and after the typhoon. Please take the time to read this short feature on typhoon safety, and make sure to share it among your friends and social media circles – you might just end up saving a life.
Before the Typhoon
* Prepare a well-stocked emergency kit (food, water, batteries, medical supplies, prescription medications, etc.), a family communication plan (in order to be able to connect with and locate each member of the family after the typhoon has passed), and get to grips with the area in which you will be waiting out the typhoon; this will help any evacuation plans, as well as provide you with vital information on where flooding is most likely to occur.
* Make sure that your place(s) of business and residence(s) are well-secured, including locking doors and windows, trimming tree branches that may pose a risk to your property in high-wind situations, the clearing of gutters and external drains, as well as securing your windows with either permanent storm shutters or makeshift (but well-applied) plywood boards (merely taping your windows provides minimal protection from the elements, if any at all!).
* Every loose object can be considered a potential missile in high-wind situations, and the larger the object the more danger it poses. Whenever possible, all items on balconies should be kept inside, outdoor furniture and any other items that are usually kept outside should also be kept inside, and even roof straps should be used (where relevant) to prevent more serious external and internal property damage.
* If you live in a highrise condominium building above the 10th floor, measures should be taken to ensure you have adequate shelter on or below the 10th floor.
* If you own a boat or any other watersports vessels/units that are stored in a marina, discuss adequate measures with the marina operator to minimize potential property damage.
As the Typhoon is Ongoing in your Area
* For as long as electricity allows, be vigilant of reports from local and international media outlets with regards to updates on the movement of the typhoon, and the damage that has already been sustained.
* Upon instruction from the authorities, turn off your LPG and electricity supplies, and avoid using your telephones unless for more serious emergencies, so as to maximize battery life. If you have a bath tub, you should fill it prior to expected times of water unavailability, so as to ensure you can flush the toilet (and reduce the risk of spreading disease).
* It’s a good idea, once you’ve been made aware of the typhoons impending arrival in your specific area, to turn your refrigerator thermostat to its maximum setting so that – should the power go out or you are instructed to disconnect your electricity manually – your food and beverage items in the refrigerator will last longer.
* Evacuation should be consider under the following conditions: the authorities have advised such action; if the structure you are in is consider weak or temporary; if you live above the 10th floor; if you live in coastal areas, near rivers, or on island waterways or floodplains. (Should evacuation not be an option: stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors; keep all interior doors closed and make sure that all external doors and possible entry points are suitably secure; keep curtains and blinds closed; avoid elevators and underground areas; stay in either a small interior room, hallway, or closet on the ground floor of the structure; in more serious cases of an external breach, lie under a table, desk, or another adequately sturdy object.)
Once You’re Certain the Typhoon has Passed
* Upon confirmation that the typhoon has in fact passed – and you are not merely in the eye of the storm – continue listening to media broadcasts for the latest information. Subsequent flooding and rainfall should be expected, even at this time.
* Put into action your family communication plan should anyone be unaccounted for, but return home only after it has been officially declared safe to do so.
* It is not recommended that you drive until any flood waters have subsided, but it’s equally important to stay off the streets, as fallen objects, weakened structures (including walls, roads, bridges, sidewalks, etc.) and loose/downed power lines still pose a significant threat. (It’s advised that you report any downed power lines to your local electricity provider as soon as possible.)
* Once it has been declared safe to return home, the following measures are highly advised: carefully inspect the exterior of your home for loose/downed power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage prior to reentering your home; in the presence of floodwaters, the smell of gas (LPG), or evidence of fire, contact the emergency services immediately; for insurance purposes, check for structural damage and take photographs of the damage for presentation to your insurance provider; make sure to use battery-powered flashlights, which must be switched on prior to entering the structure (as gas leaks can be ignited by a spark produced by electrical items, which is also why candles must never be considered at such times); check the food stored in the refrigerator and discard anything that has spoiled – if you’re not sure about it’s freshness, throw it out anyway; wear protective clothing whenever possible to avoid injury while making repairs, and never use a generator inside any structure – even when well-ventilated, as toxic levels of carbon monoxide can build up and remain long after the generator is no longer being used; never use a telephone, unless for emergencies; and avoid drinking or cooking with tap water until the authorities have advised that it is safe and not contaminated.
* Keep a close eye on your pets, and be vigilant with regards to wild animals (such as rodents and, more importantly, poisonous snakes). With this in mind, search through debris using a stick or shovel, not your hands.
With strict adherence to such simple measures as those listed above, the chances of you and your family making it through a potential catastrophe unscathed are improved drastically. Don’t forget to share this information among your friends and social media circles, and all of us a PhilPay urge you to stay safe and dry for the duration of Typhoon Nona’s visit.