Monday, March 8, 2021

Emergency Kit Must-Haves For Each Family Member

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Here in the Philippines, we would often receive the loud alarm in our mobile phones from National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) whenever there's a disaster going to occur near our area. And when I hear the alarm, I initially panic. In the past, we've received those alarms when there's a typhoon moving towards us or an earthquake nearby. We’ve already got our fair share of typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and most especially flood. It is inevitable that these natural disasters would happen again, the vital question is when. So before these disasters strike, we need to be prepared for them to prevent fear and panic that could lead to more harm. 

Emergency Must-Haves

According to Red Cross, here are emergency kit must-haves for each family member that you must consider (at a minimum) :

  1. Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  2. Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
    - Examples of these foods are canned food, instant noodles, or other foods where you will just add hot water and it’s ready to eat. 
  3. Flashlight (make sure it already has batteries or when it’s rechargeable, it’s fully charged)
  4. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  5. Extra batteries
  6. First aid kit
  7. Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
    -Essential medications would be paracetamol, antihistamines, etc. 
  8. Sanitation and personal hygiene items
    -Sanitary napkins, towels, cotton, alcohol, etc. 
  9. Cell phone with chargers (or extra power bank)
  10. Family and emergency contact information
  11. Extra cash 
    - Safer if you put the cash in a sealed plastic bag to prevent it from getting wet from the rains/flood.
  12. Emergency blanket
    -When you're stuck in the roof due to flooding, a blanket will help you keep warm. Rescuers might arrive a day or two and you don't want to keep yourself in the cold that long. 

Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit:

Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
Games and activities for children (not really applicable, but there's still room in your bag then why not)
Two-way radios
Extra set of car keys and house keys
Manual can opener (or choose the canned foods with can openers on them so you won't have to need this)

For a more basic list, here's a infographic from Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)

For Pet Owners: 

Pets are also part of our family. We should also treat them with love and care the way we do with any of our family members. If you have pets, prepare the following emergency kit for them according to Purina

Bottled water.
One to two weeks' worth of your pet's food.
Collapsible food and water bowls.
Cat litter and pan.
Leash, collar and harness.
Pet life jacket and paw protectors.

Note: As much as possible, don't leave your pets at your home when there's flood. But if you really can't bring them, never tie them on a leash. Just set them free so they can run away from any harm or defend themselves.  

Other Essential Planning Tips to Prepare You For Natural Disasters

Get Insured

According to MMDA website, the key to effective disaster prevention is planning. Aside from preparing for emergency kits, we should also protect our properties (e.g. home, car, etc.) from disaster by getting a non-life insurance in the Philippines. This way, you are secured to get financial assistance when something happens to one of your properties due to fire, flood, etc.. Just make sure to read the terms and conditions before getting one so you’d also be clear on what is covered in the insurance and what is not. 

Assess Your Home

Some people who have experienced flooding before had decided to save enough money and build a second floor on their home. One of the reasons is having a space to move their furniture to the 2nd floor preventing them from getting wet, and also enabling the homeowners to stay in their homes. On the other hand, some people decided to sell their home and buy a property in other places where there's less or no flood. In the end, it's up to you as the homeowner on what you want to do so you can have your house assessed if it can withstand another flood, if a second floor is feasible, or is it better to sell it instead. 

Always Listen to the Weather News

It’s basic knowledge to always listen to the news about the weather especially if you live near creeks, rivers, shores, etc. If the weatherman reports there’s a low pressure area coming towards your area in a few days, then it gives you enough time prepare your emergency kit or even go to your nearest evacuation center if you know your area is flood-prone. 

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