Getting Ready For Emergency

Living in the Visayas, I have been part of the area hit by the 7.1-mag earthquake not one month ago and, as of the moment, preparing for the super-typhoon Yolanda (international name: Typhoon Haiyan) which is headed for Central Visayas and expected to hit Samar on Friday morning to noon, staying on until Friday night.  With the aftershocks still happening and an “oncoming storm” looming overhead (literally), it will be a pretty tough weekend for all of us. We may not be able to stop the damage but we can avoid further disaster.

While we cannot predict the aftershocks and whether or not there will be new quakes to happen around the Visayas, we can have a close approximation of the weather. What more, we can prepare ourselves for both. We can keep a clear head, and we can arm ourselves through what we know.  Also, one of the worst mistakes anyone can make during an emergency or calamity is just staying where you are and waiting for someone else to tell you what to do. Keep an eye on government directives, but do not wait to be told what to do.

1. Pack your emergency backpack.

These will not be the only things that you may need to pack in your emergency backpack. It is worth noting, however, to keep it as light as you could make it. It is not the time to have a separation anxiety with your favorite clothes (okay, this is more of a self-reminder.)  Here is the checklist of the basics of your emergency backpack:

emergency kit – check out Red Cross’ Anatomy of a First Aid Kit

flashlight, batteries

Portable radio or TV, batteries/charger

water, food –for emergency food packing, click here

water – always remember water.

cellphone, charger

matches in waterproof container, candles

cash, all important cards (ID, atm, medicard, credit), cellphone load cards

1 tshirt, 1 shorts, underwear (dress for function!)

list of your local and national emergency numbers

raincoat instead of umbrella, jacket to keep yourself warm.

wear shoes (not in the bag) – it is easier to trek around anywhere when you’re wearing shoes and not slippers, which we are very fond of.

if you feel the need, you might want to pack your necessary documents: deeds, medical history, birth certificates, licences.

2. Stay updated.

     Monitor the quake. Please realize that, even though we don’t always feel it, there are minor quakes that happen all the time, and so it is only right for us to always be alert in case a big one shakes us in the future. The Phivolcs Earthquake Bulletin from the Seismological Observation and Earthquake Prediction Division lists the earthquakes that are happening every 30 minutes or so.

     Keep yourself updated on news about Yolanda (Haiyan) and other government directives. You can see the time and date of the latest update from and they are updated every 1-2 hours.

3. Know your emergency numbers.

Here is a checklist of the numbers that you will need to keep. Add as needed.

-Local emergency number – 161 from any landline within Cebu.

-Fire department – 160 from any landline within Cebu

-Ambulance/Nearest Hospital

-Barangay Hall/City Hall

-National Red Cross

-Police Department

-Traffic Department

-Weather Station

There are sites that provide the list of emergency and hotline numbers for Cebu and Bohol.

I would also like to add that we are looking at a pretty grim Monday ahead, but we will get through this. Together. It is important that, when we know that we are safe, we extend a helping hand to those who need helping. Because when Mother Nature lashes out, all we children can do is hold each other until it passes.


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