As I write this, the rain is pouring outside, and there are still many areas in the Philippines that have not fully recovered from Typhoon Glenda. Some places still have no power, while others are on rotational brownout schedules. Many, many people are still struggling to get their lives and homes back in order, while many others don't even have homes to go back to.
Sadly, this scenario is something we Filipinos have had to deal with again and again through the past years. We are not strangers to the typhoons that pass through our country. Usually, we can only pray that they pass through as quickly and 'quietly' as possible, without harming anything in their wake... or we pray that they don't pass through at all, and just dissipate somewhere over the ocean.
Given that prayer is truly powerful (at least, in my opinion), I believe that we also need to be prepared when it comes to typhoons. After all, you never know what could happen -- only the Author, Giver and Finisher of Life knows everything -- so it's best to be ready for anything.
Admittedly, when Glenda struck Metro Manila last week, our family was not that prepared. There were certain things that I think we should have thought of in the days leading to the typhoon, which, in hindsight, could have made things easier for us in the aftermath of Glenda.
So, in the spirit of helping others out there (and as a note to myself too), here are a few practical pointers for preparing for a typhoon:
1. Stay updated about the weather conditions
This is a commonsensical tip but I'm still putting it out there because there may be many other people who know that they should keep track of weather updates in their area yet still don't do it.
With technology being the way it is now, there is no excuse for not being updated about storms like #GlendaPH. Remember, knowledge is power, and the more we know about what's going on outside -- especially during a typhoon -- the better we can prepare and decide on what we need to do.
2. Use social media wisely
Social media can be an important -- even life-saving -- tool during natural calamities. However, netizens should be aware of how to use it properly. The appropriate use of hashtags, in particular, has proven very helpful during past typhoons.
Below is an infographic about unified hashtags from iVolunteerPhilippines, which will certainly be of help in the future (though I'm praying that we won't have any more disasters soon!):
3. Take note of important numbers; memorize them if possible
I have a confession to make: I don't have all our emergency numbers memorized! I realized this last week and I vowed to know all the important numbers by heart, just in case I'd need them. I will also teach them to my children and post the numbers where we can all see them, using this list I got from my friend Neva of ManilaMommy.com:
4. Prepare for the worst
I don't think one can ever be prepared for the worst that could happen, BUT it does help to be as prepared as possible, right?
Here is a list of items to prepare before typhoons, which may result in power disruptions/brownouts. I got this from a friend and fellow homeschool mom's Facebook post:
Every household must have:
1. A battery-operated transistor radio and extra batteries
2. Emergency lights placed in key areas of the house
3. Rechargeable flashlights
4. A fully charged power bank for cellphones
5. A big cooler with ice cubes or travel ice packs to store meat, vegetables, fruits and other perishables, in case power supply isn't stored soon
6. Lots of microfibre towels or absorbent rags for leaks that could occur
Another friend and fellow homeschooler posted the other day about survival kits that she and her husband are selling, which were developed by the UP Mountaineers Search and Rescue Team. Here's what each kit contains:
If you're interested in getting one, you may contact Dindi Manlapaz via Facebook. (Incidentally, she's also conducting art camps for kids 1.5-12 years old. My kids are really enjoying their sessions so far. If you're interested, go to her Facebook page for details!)
5. Pray unceasingly
Of course, when you are preparing for a typhoon, prayers are really important. You can only do so much, and leave the rest to the One who can calm the storms and seas.
I'm sure those who don't consider themselves "religious" or "spiritual" will most probably utter at least some form of prayer during the toughest times and fiercest storms - I know quite a few people who've done so!
Do you have other tips to add to this list? Please feel free to share them by leaving a comment or sending me a message here.