Prepare your own storm survival kit
MANILA, Philippines - Drenching rains and strong winds usually come with little or no warning at all. When there's no electricity and roads are impassable due to bad weather, it may take days for emergency help to reach your home.
During these times, especially in typhoon-prone Philippines, a storm survival kit may be your determining factor between life and death.
Putting together a storm survival kit isn't really that hard -- the key is to know which items you'll be needing to get by, and to make sure that these will last long enough before help arrives.
Hopefully, you will never need this kit, but it pays to be ready for natural disasters.
Below are some items that can help you get started:
Bottled water. Bring enough clean drinking water to last you and your family for at least 3 days. People can survive without food, but not without water.
Food. Don't stock up on salty food items as these will require you to drink more water. Look for food that can be eaten with minimal preparation or without having to cook them. (For more tips on preparing storm-ready food, click here.)
First aid kit. This should contain the following, at the very least: Band-Aids, alcohol, antibiotics, antacids, anti-allergy meds, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and other prescription drugs that you may need.
A Swiss Army knife. This is a handy tool for anyone who's not in the comfort of his/her home. With this, you don't have to bring a separate knife, can opener, bottle opener, screwdriver, and a pair of scissors.
Clothes. Getting wet in the rain will require you to change your clothes or else you'll get sick. Make it a point to bring thermal wear, including socks, to keep you warm during the storm.
Flashlight and batteries. This will help you get around during the night, especially since the power's out. Try bringing candles and waterproof matches too, just in case you run out of batteries.
Toiletries. This is particularly important for women and children. Aside from the usual soap, toothpaste and tissue paper, bring a lot of sanitary napkins and diapers.
Large garbage bags. This is where you can place all of your items. Bring extra ones for trash and for emergency situations.
Umbrella. If you're stuck in your rooftop or any open ground, this will shield you from the rain.
Fully-charged mobile phone. It's a very useful tool in asking for help from the media and the authorities, although network problems are expected during typhoons.
Whistle. This is effective in calling attention to yourself, making it easier for rescuers to find you. If you don't have one, just bring anything that can create a lot of noise.
Battery-powered radio. Listening to the news will give you updates about the rescue operations, and will help you find safe ground. Make sure that you bring a lot of batteries, though.
Cash. You'll never know when you'll get access to a commercial establishment, so it's best to keep a few bucks with you.
Keep these contact numbers in case of typhoon emergencies:
1. Philippine Coast Guard: 527-8481 local 6290 and 6292; 328-1098
2. Philippine National Red Cross: 527-0000
3. National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council: 911-1406, 912-2665. For contact numbers of NDRRMC directors, click here.
4. Manila Electric Co. (Meralco): 16211
5. Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA): 136 (hotline); 882-4154 to 74 (trunkline); 0917-5618711 (duty officer)