Friday, October 2, 2009

Before, During and After the Typhoon

Before a typhoon.

1. Stay informed. Listen to the radio or watch TV to get weather updates. In case of power failures, keep a battery-operated radio handy (with extra batteries).
2. Prepare candles and flashlights. You don’t want to be caught in the dark when the electricity conks out.
3. Make home repairs. Check for hazards like broken windows or detached roofing and have them fixed before the typhoons come.
4. Stock up on food and drink. Load up on canned goods and bottled water. Make sure you have all you need so you won’t have to go outdoors.
5. Close everything. Lock windows and doors to prevent wind, rain, and even thieves from getting in.
6. Switch of the gas. Turn off your gas tank to prevent any accidental leaks.
7. Move your things to higher ground. Incase of floodwaters enter your home, move what you can to the second floor or higher areas of your home to prevent them from getting destroyed.
8. Stay dry and safe. Bring umbrellas, raincoats, jackets, and a first aid kit in case of emergencies.
9. Set your freezer to the coldest temperature setting to minimize spoilage if the power is cut off.
10. Watch for leaks around windows and doors. If the wind is strong enough, water may be blown into your home even if the windows are closed. Have handy towels, rags and mops.

During a Typhoon.

1. Make sure that the main electrical power switch or circuit breaker is turned off.
2. When you need to touch a switch and the floor is still wet, stand on dry board or carton or wear rubber sole boots.
3. Use a dry stick or rubber gloves, or well-insulated pliers or tools to pull handles
4. Unplug all equipment and appliances. Turn off the switch of permanently connected equipment.
5. Unscrew all light bulbs if possible
6. Remove mud and dirt from the service equipment or main circuit breaker/fuse and its enclosure with rubber gloves and rubber sole shoes
7. Allow electrical wires, connectors and other wiring devices to dry completely. Drying may take days, depending on how wet the system is and on external temperature
8. If the storm becomes severe, move into a hallway or area where there is the least exposure to external glass windows.
9. Draw curtains across the windows to prevent against flying glass should windows crack. If a window breaks, place a mattress or sofa seat over the broken pane and secure it there with a heavy piece of furniture.
10. A window on the side of the house away from the approaching storm should be cracked a few inches. This will compensate for the differences of indoor and outdoor air pressure.

After the typhoon.

1. Do remove as much of the liquid as possible by wet-vacuuming with a shop vacuum especially designed to pick up liquids. Mopping, sponging and blotting will also be helpful.
2. Do turn on de-humidifiers and fans in order to suction moisture from the internal atmosphere.
3. Do prop all furniture up on bricks or remove from wet areas to keep them from being damaged.
4. Do tie curtains or drapes up above the wet floor area with clips or rubber bands.
5. Do move valuables and paperwork to a safe, dry location.
6. Do remove soaked area rugs, clothing, towels, etc. from the area.
7. Do open all cupboards, cabinets and drawers so that the insides may dry.
8. Do make sure that the electricity is turned off in the room with the flooding.
9. Do open windows if it is not raining outside.
10. Do turn water off at the outside source if a broken pipe is the flooding culprit.

Your rapid action will keep this calamity from escalating even further. There are some actions that can make the problems worse. Here are a few "don'ts":

1. Don't use a regular household vacuum. Only use one specially designed for the removal of liquids.
2. Don't turn on any electrical devices while standing in the room filled with water.
3. Don't even go into flooded rooms if the electricity has not been shut off.
4. Don't try to take up wall to wall carpeting yourself if it is the kind that has been stretched and tacked down. Improper removal can cause damage which will make it unusable. Wait for a professional who is trained to salvage it.
5. Don't underestimate the need for professional remediation of the water damage. If it's not properly taken care of, a mold problem may develop and cause further unfortunate circumstances.

Further Readings:
Goodbye Ondoy, Hello Future Super Typhoons
Emergency Hotline numbers for Disaster Situations
Red Cross Family Preparedness Kit

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