With the rainy season beginning in earnest over the Philippines, it is more than ever prudent to revisit precautionary measures one can take to avoid or mitigate the negative impact of floods. Likewise, it would be wise to review one’s awareness of the actions that can be taken when already overcome by rising floodwaters.
Col. Dencio S. Acop (Ret), PhD, CPP, AMBCI guides us through proactive and reactive measures to keep in mind this rainy season, especially with the heightened possibility of flooding.
PROACTIVE MEASURES AGAINST FLOODING
- If you live in a low-lying area, you are flood-prone. Have a Plan B (or even C)—an alternate address where you can quickly evacuate your family to in case of heavy, unceasing downpour.
- This contingency plan should include provisions for pre-stocked extra food, water, clothing, flashlight or candles, matches or a lighter, maintenance medicine, and a first aid kit in each of these locations, provisions that should last you and your companions for a few days.
- When you are in an especially high-risk area: Procure enough life vests or flotation devices for you and your family members and place these where they are accessible during emergencies. The chances of survival are upped exponentially if people are able to keep their heads above water during floods.
- Have a map of your place and your alternate address, and know how to navigate your way between the two (or three) using various routes.
- Plan for multiple communication tools (i.e. landline, mobile, social media, etc.). Unhampered communication is very essential during emergencies.
- Monitor the news so you can take preemptive action.
REACTIVE MEASURES TO FLOODING
- Be prompt to leave your home when you have to. Floodwaters may rise very quickly and the roads you will be navigating to get out may themselves be flooded if you decide too late.
- If necessary, promptly call for help while your cell phone batteries are still full or while you still have access to your landline. Wyeth security has its own contingencies to rescue colleagues if need be apart from government resources which quickly become over-extended during disaster response.
- Immediately seek higher ground and stay there until the waters subside.
- If inside your car, often it is better to stay inside where you have protection instead of getting out on the street where rushing waterborne debris can be a threat.
- Momentarily cut-off power when water enters your house.
- Use the life vests and flotation devices to keep above water.