Tag Archives: floods

Emergency preparedness at home (for flooding incidences)

As I have written in my last post here, my husband and I became victims of Ondoy’s wrath. We are thankful that we are alive and well but also realized that like all the other victims, we were so unprepared for what is to come.

With the lessons from Ondoy, we are (hopefully) better prepared. As I type this, our personal possessions are now packed in big plastic bags, ready for evacuation in case typhoon Pepeng brings in another flood. However, before we even began packing, we already developed a good ‘emergency plan’ in case of heavy floods. I would like to share them here in the hope that it can also help others in their disaster preparedness.

1. Place big empty plastic bags (with strings) in all shelves, cabinets and other strategic areas. Make sure that everyone in the household know where they are placed. Use an easy-to-remember “location code”. For example, my hubby and I placed the bags on the left side of the cabinets/shelves only. This way, you can easily put all the stuffs inside the bag, tie it up (practice a fast way to tie up the bags), and run away with it (I swear, this will save you a lot of money in terms of not having to deal with wet clothes, linens, books, etc.)

2. Agree on priorities. My hubby and I used this as guide: (1) Money and checkbooks; (2) electronic goods; (3) books and documents; (4) food and groceries; and finally, (5) clothes. Why did we put the clothes last in the list? Simple. We realized that after the floods, clothes (and even kitchen stuffs like pots and pans) can be washed afterwards. We just spend on the laundry and even ask friends to help out. While with books, when they are soaked with floodwaters, it’s the same as bidding them goodbye. Final. Precious money (and memories!) down the drain. In my case, books are constant companions in my travels. Others are gifts from people close to me. It was really really sad for me to lose them. The sentimental value is much more important actually.

With this list of priorities, we know what to try to save first. If you have 5 minutes only, then you just try to run away with your money and checkbooks. If you have 10 minutes, then you can run away with the electronic goods, too. If you have neighbors who can help (which we luckily had!!!), then ask them to carry all the electronic goods while you rush to where your cash and checkbooks are located.

3. Divide the house into “zones” and assign each household member to each zone. For example, hubby was assigned to the living room area (still following the list of priorities in No. 2 above), and I was assigned to one half of the bedroom area (where the books are). Plan the “pathway” or traffic direction of work so that the household members will not waste time bumping into one another. In the example here, after his task in the living room, hubby will then run next to the 2nd half of the bedroom area (following a direction that will not interfere with my direction). After my task in the bedroom, I then run to the kitchen/dining area.

This way, we don’t waste time trying to find out where to run first.

4. If there is enough time (in this current case, we have always been notified about the developments of typhoon Pepeng), prepare an separate overnight bag in case you needed to temporarily stay with a relative for a day or two.  This is one reason why even if a friend (big thank you to Jaja!) offered her house for us on the first evening of Ondoy’s attack, we decided to stay in our dirty and damp flat because all our things are in separate bags/boxes and it would be difficult to prepare an overnight kit just so we can stay over in a friend’s place. We were so tired, too. With an overnight bag handy, you can just temporarily forget about your dirty house and try to have a good night’s rest because surely, you need a strong body and mind to be able to start life again after a horrible flood.

5. It’s not realistic to say, “don’t panic” but hey, we can try that mode. It’s hard not to panic. But it will definitely not help if you are going to lose your focus because you are already very panicky. Adrenaline rush helps so a certain “panic” actually helps. However, try to go easy on your nerves and believe that God and angels will help! (They always do!)

The above is a very simple emergency plan for a flood and I really hope this can help others who would be in a similar situation. I don’t like it to happen to anyone but then again, as the cliche goes, prevention is always better than cure.

Have a nice weekend everyone. Let us continue to pray for the victims of Ondoy and work and heal together as a nation.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mary Anne Velas-Suarin
Are you ready to take action? I am! You can begin by reading more about climate change. Post and share this badge also. Image credit:  Gateway to the UN System Work on Climate Change found at http://www.un.org/climatechange/take-action/

Being more mindful of what we throw away

[Repost from my Facebook 'notes']

It’s been two days from the worst flood that I have ever seen in my life. And this time, I became a victim too. My husband and I are part of the government statistics: number of affected people of Typhoon Ondoy- 450,000.

It was all so sudden. The building manager and staff were banging on our glass doors, waking us up from our deep slumber. It was probably past 9:00 am, Saturday. We were trying to sleep some more because hubby celebrated his birthday the night before (I surprised him with a get-together with very few friends).

“Get all the things you can! The waters are rising…” They screamed at us.

Hubby and I didn’t really panic. We took a look outside and the water is still low, it hasn’t reached our front door yet…

We even had time to change into more decent looking clothes. Without any panic, we started putting things on higher places – table tops, on the bed, the higher cabinets…

Then the manager and staff started asking us, “Do you want us to carry your refrigerator up already? What about your TV…? There were already commotion outside…Hubby and I were still a bit unperturbed. We agreed anyway but we really didn’t think the water will reach that high. In fact, we thought out bed will be high enough…

And then suddenly, very suddenly, we just saw that the water is now knee-high…then perhaps just barely five minutes…it was already touching the drawers of my study table…just inches away from my laptop!

That’s probably the time we started to panic and see that the waters are indeed fast rising…and then when we were able to grab my laptop, printer and modem, we just realized it is real. This is happening. We can’t save anything much. When I ran out of our unit, the waters were already at my chest

I cannot even go back anymore because when I tried to, the waters were too strong for my small frame. I can’t swim. I didn’t think I’d want to give additional worry to all the people trying to save their possessions…so I just stayed by the staircase of the main building so the people who are helping us retrieve some of our things can pass on some stuffs to me and they can go back to our house.

It finally dawned that we can’t save much anymore. So the books and the documents had to go. The clothes too. Some others.

And then we were there huddled in the main lobby of the building which is on a mezzanine level. We can only wait for the waters to subside. Count our blessings, console each other that at least we are still alive. We hoped the rains will stop soon. We heard news about Marikina and can only send SMS to try to help contact AFP. We were worried about the others.

I couldn’t say thank you enough for the people who helped us. Our friends Jay, Ned, and their son Naki, who went to us the next day to bring us food and fresh set of clothes. The neighbors and staff who bravely waded through the murky waters to help us save some of our possessions…they are the angels that we most needed.

Now, it’s been two days and I still think about how this flood could happen.

I posted this comment in FB – Yes, the government should have an effective and working disaster response. However, we also are partly to be blamed because of how we abuse our environment. We throw dumps and garbages as if we own the world and that the world is unlimited. I felt the brunt. My house got submerged up to my chest level. I lost many things. I only hope our people will be more careful, to be more caring, to be more sensitive to the environment.

It will always be us who will suffer in the end. Please, let us be more conscious of what we throw away, they can eventually kill us. The stuffs we throw away will be the same ones that will clog our rivers and drainage systems.

Please do not let this kind of flood happen again.


This is not a paid blog.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mary Anne Velas-Suarin