Monday, September 28, 2009

Disaster Preparedness: How to Prepare for Floods

We've been talking to our family back home and my Dad says the mood in Manila is very somber. While our family, drivers and security detail & their families were all spared from the disaster brought about by Typhoon Ondoy, it just feels wrong to feel relief when many are still suffering. My family volunteered to help distribute donated goods in Pasig and I can just imagine the stories they will be sharing when I talk to them tomorrow.

My Dad also shared that there were soldiers and militiamen involved in rescue operations who died and to us, they are the true heroes. We'll see what can be done to help the families left behind. At the end of the day, no matter how much flak the military gets from politicians and the leftists, in times of disaster, they are the first ones out there, risking life and limb to help their fellow Filipinos. As for those guilty of self-serving posturing, what do they have to show? Zilch, Nada, Zero.

In light of what has happened, I am sharing with you tips on what to do Before, During and After a flood. Be prepared to save your self and your loved ones. You don't have to wait for rescuers to come and get you. While "Before" will no longer apply, it still helps to know what to do in the event that torrents of rain plague us again (God forbid!). I suggest you read this primer, it helps to stay informed and be aware!

Before a Flood

To prepare for a flood, you should:

* Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
* Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
* Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
* Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building.
* Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.

During a Flood

If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

* Listen to the radio or television for information.
* Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
* Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

* Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
* Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

* Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
* Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

Driving Flood Facts

The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:

* Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
* A foot of water will float many vehicles.
* Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.

After a Flood

The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:

* Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
* Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
* Avoid moving water.
* Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
* Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
* Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
* Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
* Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
* Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
* Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

For more tips on disaster preparedness, visit


marcela said...

Hi, I live in Honduras in Central America, and we experienced a disaster in 1998 with hurricane Mitch very similar to the one your country is going through right now. I feel very much for all of you, my prayers go out to everyone who has been affected.

cd_mfo said...

Thanks so much for your prayers Marcela. You are very kind!

tonyb said...

I hope you will take a moment to look over important disaster information for your community.

One of the most important factors in disaster preparedness/recovery is to be informed:

Laissez-faire Not Fair
When the dust settles, who will carry the mantle for disaster survivors?
This should help understanding:
What do you expect in case of an insured loss? Are You Disaster Ready? (hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, fire, etc.). US President Obama affirms government's laissez-faire policy with his telling response.

I do believe President Obama has good intentions when it comes to disaster preparedness/recovery. However, the insurance lobby may simply be too powerful for basic information to reach the public. That is my conclusion after writing him and ensuing dialogue at ...I do hope you have the time to examine that dialogue, it is revealing.

Perhaps what big government cannot accomplish, citizens can: make basic insurance rights and information available to their community and more importantly to disaster survivors in their time of need:

Thank you for any consideration you may give!

nicole said...

how about what to pack incase of flood or earthquake???
whistle. water. ganun..

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