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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Emergency Response Tips

Emergency situations come in many forms.  It is very important to be prepared for possible disasters or emergencies, whether it’s natural or human-induced.  An emergency can happen without warning. It can occur at any time of the day and any place.  A great way to protect your family and other members of the household from unforeseen emergencies is by involving everyone in preparing for possible calamities.  Being properly informed and ready for an emergency can make a big difference.
The first 72 hours after a disaster is very critical according to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).  After a catastrophe strikes, electricity, water, land lines, mobile lines, Internet and sometimes fuel may be affected.  There is a possibility of being stranded at home or somewhere else.  In serious situations, public and private rescue teams may have a tough time reaching you immediately that’s why it’s vital to have the necessary supplies to be able to survive for at least the next three days after a disaster.

Step 1 - Organize your own survival kit
The PRC strongly suggests that Filipinos create their own Lifeline Kit (emergency preparedness kit), a portable bag that contains vital supplies required to survive for the first 72 hours when evacuating after disaster.  The Lifeline Kit can be used for evacuation survival and but it is not meant for long-term survival.
Involve the whole family and other members of the household in organizing a survival kit. Make sure that everyone knows where it is. Keep the emergency preparedness kit updated by checking its contents every six months.  It is advisable to change items that are expiring soon.  Don’t forget to change stored water regularly.
The first thing to do is to find a sturdy, easy-to-carry, and preferably water resistant bag that you can use at home or bring with you during an evacuation.  The Red Cross recommends filling the emergency bag with the following important things.  Remember that supply of water and food should be able to last at least three days for evacuation.  Make it a point to keep a two-week supply of water and food at home for all members of the household.
1. Water - One gallon should be allotted per person per day.
2.  Food - Include food that is easy-to-prepare, non-perishable, and does not require cooking.  Some recommend food items include crackers, biscuits, granola bars, cereals, dried fruit, and assorted easy-to-open canned goods (sardines, pork and beans, tuna).  Families with babies should include milk formula or bottled baby food and baby bottles. Don’t forget to add food for your pets too.
In case of hypoglycemia, PRC recommends including canned juice drinks or hard sweet candies.  Remember to add disposable plates and utensils to your kit.
3. Emergency tools and gear
  • Portable radio (battery-powered or self-powered)
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Extra batteries
  • Spare cellphone (charge regularly)
  • Cellphone charger
  • Multi-purpose tool (like a Swiss knife)
  • Whistle (Choose a whistle that produces loud sounds and preferably one that has a compass on it.)
  • Matches (preferably waterproof) or lighter and candles (It is important to make sure that there are no possible gas leaks before lighting candles.)
  • Glow sticks (You can buy glow sticks at specialty shops, department stores, convenience stores, and selected bookstores.)
  • Rain coats
  • Plastic sheeting or garbage bag
  • Heating blankets (These are warm, thinner, and easy to carry compared to bulky and traditional blankets.)
  • Ropes (Avoid nylon ropes.)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Entertainment items for children (Bringing small and light toys or books for kids can be helpful to keep children entertained in evacuation centers.)
4. Personal effects and hygiene kit
  • Extra Clothing
  • Undergarments
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Hand towels (super absorbent)
  • Comb or hair brush
  • Hand sanitizer or alcohol
  • Sanitary napkin (for women)
  • Disposable diaper (for families with babies)
5.  Identification, emergency numbers, important documents, and cash
  • Contact information of family and close relatives.
  • Emergency telephone numbers to call. (Refer below for list of Philippine emergency numbers.)
  • Provide a plastic laminated ID card for any family member with special concerns and children who cannot speak.   Indicate name, address, phone, and contact details of the person to call in case of emergency; health condition; and special instructions in case the person goes missing or found hurt or unconscious. Don’t forget to indicate allergies to medicines or food if any.
  • Copies of personal documents (birth certificates, passports, bank account details, insurance policies, list of medication, important medical information, vaccination records, proof of address, deed/lease to home).
  • Maps with indication of evacuation sites and routes.
  • Extra cash
6.  First aid kit
Always keep a first aid kit in your home and another one in your survival kit.  Adult members of the family are advised to familiarize themselves with first aid application. The PRC recommends the following first aid kit items:
  • 1 Adhesive Strips
  • 1 Hypo - Allergenic medical tape 1.25cm x 9.1m
  • 1 Conforming Bandage 5cm
  • 1 Triangular Bandage 110cm x 110cm
  • 1 Wound Dressing No. 15
  • 2 Swabs Antiseptic
  • 1 Tweezers metal 8cm
  • 1 Scissors disposable
  • 1 Safety pins – assorted (pk12)
  • 1 Plastic Bags - resealable - 100 X 180 mm
  • 1 Plastic Bags - resealable - 150 x 230 mm
  • 2 Gloves – disposable
  • 1 First Aid Quick Reference Guide

Step 2 - Formulate a plan
Set a meeting with your family and other members of the household.  Talk about how you can prepare and respond to different forms of emergency situations.  Assign responsibilities to each member of the household.  Make sure that everyone knows where the emergency preparedness kit is located.
Discuss what to do in case you are separated during an emergency.  For example, an emergency suddenly takes place and the kids are at school and you are at the office.  Set two places where you can meet.
Make an evacuation plan.  Decide the safest place where you can go and the best route to take going there.  You can choose a house of a friend or relative in a safe location or nearest evacuation center. Practice your evacuation plan at least twice a year.

Step 3 – Be informed
Familiarize yourself with possible emergency events that can affect your family such as fire, medical emergency, flood or earthquake and appropriate emergency response for each. It is important that everyone in the household knows the proper actions to take for survival
Below are the list of telephone numbers and website links (click the linked agency names) of Philippine government agencies and service companies that are useful during emergency and when disaster occurs.
National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) 0917-7334256

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA)433-8526
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)304-3713
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)925-0343
Bureau of Fire Protection, National Capital Region729-5166        
431-8859         407-1230
Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)

MMDA Flood Control


Red Cross143
Department of Education (DEPED)638-4108
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)852-8081
Department Of Trade and Industry (DTI) Price Monitoring751-3330
Philippine National Police (PNP)117
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)911-6001
Philippine Coast Guard527-3877
North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)
South Luzon Expressway (SLEX)824-1924
Department Of Health (DOH)743-8301
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC)

Source: Ma. Rachel Roxas Yapchiongco of
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