• Keeping Safe During a Typhoon

    The wet season is upon us and so are tropical storms.
    Thus, we should always be prepared when catastrophes like typhoons strike.

    Over the years, we have witnessed the destruction and the devastation that these have wrought on people, homes and other structures, even agriculture. The loss of lives and property are heartbreaking and distressing.

    The Philippines, according to the state weather bureau, has an average of 20 typhoons in a year. Typhoons usually occur from July and onward. In recent years, we have seen fiercer typhoons in the last quarter of the year. Environment experts believe these are just among the effects of global warming, particularly the warming of the oceans.

    Typhoon Yolanda devastated Leyte in November 2013, Typhoon Rolly in November crushed Catanduanes in November 2020 and Typhoon Ruping lashed and devastated Cebu also in November of 1990. All these fierce typhoons claimed lives and destroyed property, agriculture, infrastracture worth millions of pesos.

    So even before a typhoon strikes, here are some safety tips to prepare yourself and your family.

    Check your house if there are areas that need repair. The force of the wind can rip out your roof or the heavy rain can damage your house. Check your roof for leaks, check your windows if they can withstand the force. Are there areas that are vulnerable to flooding in case water runs high? By checking the weak points, you can have these areas repaired or come up with mitigating measures. Structural integrity of the house is important.

    Trim trees and hedges around your house. To avoid accidents or even damage to your house, itís best to trim those branches and hedges. The wind lash might cause those heavy branches to fall on your roof, power lines and utility wires causing heavy damage and accidents. Or the wind could rip off those branches and send them flying to a neighbor's house, or worse, these could fatally crush a person.

    Always listen to or check on the news, especially weather updates. Updated information is crucial because weather systems keep moving. What could be initially forecast as a less-threatening typhoon could turn out to be a very strong one. With updated information, you will be able to shift strategy. Also keep a portable transistor radio that is powered by batteries so you can still receive typhoon updates just in case power supply is cut off.

    Stock up on food, water, batteries, at least good for three days. With better preparation, you donít have to starve when a typhoon strikes. Stocking up on canned goods and other ready-to-eat food packs and bottles of water for at least three days will ensure that you wonít go hungry or thirsty. You also donít have to go out to buy food supplies. If there are food delivery services after the typhoon has passed, so much the better.

    But donít forget to stock up on batteries, too, for your flashlights, portable radio and other tools that will help you through the typhoon. Check if you also have an extra tank of LPG in case your existing tank is low on cooking gas.

    Have a first-aid kit ready, too. Check if you have enough medicines and vitamins too.

    Keep your cell phones and mobile chargers fully charged. Power supply will most likely be cut or interrupted when there is a strong and tempestuous typhoon. So make sure your mobile phones and your mobile chargers are fully charged so you can call or connect in case there are emergencies. Avoid unnecessary use of your phones so you can preserve power.

    Have an evacuation plan. When push comes to shove, you gotta go. When the typhoon puts your life at risk, or when the flood waters come rushing in, itís time to evacuate. Donít forget the pets if you have any. Before leaving, unplug or turn off appliances. If you can keep them in an elevated area, the better.

    In these circumstances, prepare a bag that has a bottle of water, a first aid kit, essentials like toothbrush, toothpaste, tissue or toilet paper, medicines. Bring your valuables and important documents inside your bag.

    Keep in mind that your main concern here is your life and that of your family or others who live in the house. (Thea C. RiŮen)
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