They say that prevention is better than cure, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to natural disasters. Considering that the Philippines experiences numerous natural calamities each year – from typhoons, floods, to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions – it is important that you know the basics when preparing for natural disasters. Being ready would greatly reduce the risks and harm that a natural calamity might cause. It can save your home and other belongings from damage, and even save lives.
As July is declared as National Disaster Consciousness Month, we list down the essentials in disaster prevention. Here are simple steps that you can take to prepare for natural disasters.
- Assemble an emergency kit at home. The kit must contain emergency supplies such as first aid, flashlight, batteries, blankets, rope, bottled water, etc.
- Prepare an emergency contact list containing the names, numbers and addresses of the people you need to communicate in case of an emergency. Include relatives and friends you don’t live with. Keep this list in handy such as in your wallet or phone.
- Store food with long shelf life. This can come in handy when you’re stranded at home and can’t go out in case of massive flooding. Make sure to store them in a safe area away from floods.
- Know your community’s emergency hotline and keep them in your address book.
- Make sure your home has emergency exit routes such as fire exits. If working, learn about your company’s emergency plan. Be mindful of exit routes in your office building.
- Participate in fire/earthquake drills at home and at work.
- Be alert and updated on the latest weather bulletin.
- Know the storm warning signals and flood/volcanic eruption alert levels.
- Secure your home with prevention safety systems and equipment such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, etc.
- Know how to shut off electricity and gas at home.
- Your pets are part of your family. Keep information on dog tags updated. Be ready to evacuate with your pet by having a crate or carrier containing a week’s worth of pet food and medicine.
While these steps are helpful in preventing or minimizing disasters, there are also other factors at play that can further reduce the risks of damage during natural calamities. For instance, the way structures are built and where they are located can have great impact on the safety of their occupants.
It is important then that property developers and architects should take into consideration the climate and locality of the place when building and designing homes. In essence, structures should be built with the environment in mind. Avoid building your home in flood-prone areas. Do not use substandard construction materials.
Buildings should be disaster-resilient and can withstand extreme weather conditions. Through the application of methods and best practices in sustainable development, homes can be more secure and the effects from natural disasters can be mitigated.