Prescribing Preparedness: A Preventive Cure to Recurring Disasters

Jan. 31, 2020

When our doctors and health experts tell us that prevention is better than cure, they mean it. While others might think they would only lead us to getting health insurance policies or the like, we are left to doubt it.

There’s an entirely better perspective to this, and it’s not keeping our doctors away – as one saying about apples goes – but it’s actually doing things that keep illnesses or diseases away, for as long as we can. It’s like trying to stay healthy all the time.

It is almost tantamount to saying that preparedness – for disasters or calamities, whether man-made or natural – is a must for everyone.

According to Emergency Events Database, the Philippines ranked third in the World Risk Index in 1901-2015 for the most number of disasters, with a total of 593 that included storms, volcanic eruptions, floods, and landslides.

Last year, the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, experienced a series of tremors. This is on top of relentless typhoons hitting the archipelago. Just this year, we are faced with another natural calamity in the eruption of the Taal Volcano in Batangas province.

These are natural disasters about which we could only rely on predictions and forecasts from authorities and expert agencies. Being prepared is therefore something that we can do in order to at the least reduce the risks posed by these disasters.

To many, disaster preparedness may seem to be as difficult as staying away from eating unhealthy food and living an unhealthy lifestyle in order to keep a healthy body. Some would easily brush it off, saying “Kung oras mo na, oras mo na,” to justify eating high-cholesterol food or drinking too much beer and smoking cigarettes.

Nevertheless, we shall never tire to remind everyone that we must always be prepared for all kinds of disasters – typhoons, earthquakes, fires, landslides, volcanic eruptions, and the like.

Preparedness becomes a must following the series of tremors in Mindanao and the regular typhoons visiting our country, and in light of the presence of a volcano in almost every major province of the Philippines.

Once we get acquainted with what it takes to be prepared, we will get to realise that it as fulfilling as getting ready for work every day.

The following are to-do’s in order to be prepared:

Stay Informed. Maximise your time in social media to keep yourself updated on any possible disaster or calamity near you. Make it a habit to watch or listen to news reports every day. Join chat groups, channels, or pages that will keep you posted on the latest events around you. Validate your information to avoid fake news.

Set Alarms. If an disaster is coming as forecasted or as warned by authorities and concerned agencies, set an alarm on the month or week before the said dates. A scheduled alarm may also include places you should not go to at the forecasted dates.

Prepare Emergency Kits. An emergency kit should only include the most important things that you need in case of a disaster. We are told by disaster and risk reduction agencies to expect the worst scenarios during disasters – no food supply, no water, no electricity or power supply, no pharmacies. So make a list of things to put in your emergency bag like emergency food, bottled water, portable power storage, flash lights, and first aid and medical kit.

Obviously these will not include your pets or appliances as the latter will not fit in your bag. So should there be a disaster in your area, don’t wait until the said event occurs. Take a step ahead and take your pets as well as your important appliances to a safe place.

Keep Emergency Numbers. Make sure you have the contact numbers of concerned agencies that could help you during disasters – from local authorities like the barangay, to municipal and provincial help lines, to the local police department and hospitals. At the national level you may need to contact agencies like PAGASA for weather conditions, PHIVOLCS for earthquakes and volcanic activities, NDRRMC and the Department of Science and Technology for disaster management.

Know Emergency Routes. In case a disaster occurs, it is also very important to know the safest routes for your safety evacuation.

All these will not ensure that calamities will not happen. These will, however, somehow ensure that we are safe when calamities do happen. It’s like getting yourself an insurance policy for your life.


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