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If there’s one thing Filipinos learned in recent years, it’s that emergencies can strike at any moment. This makes preparedness essential in ensuring the safety and survival of yourself and your loved ones.
Whether it be major typhoons, floods, earthquakes, or even power outages, having a plan in place and the necessary supplies on hand can make all the difference in helping you stay calm and ready to face any situation.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through essential emergency preparedness steps to help you feel more confident and secure in the face of unexpected events. From creating an emergency plan to what supplies you should stock up on, we’ll cover everything you need to know.
What is Emergency Preparedness?
Emergency Preparedness is the act of being ready for any unforeseen event or disaster that may occur. It involves having a detailed plan of action in place, along with necessary supplies and information, to ensure the safety and well-being of yourself and those around you.
The goal of Emergency Preparedness is to minimize the impact of any disaster or emergency, whether natural or man-made, and to be able to respond quickly and effectively to any situation that may arise.
It requires proactive thinking, planning, and preparation, and can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a crisis.
Emergency Scenarios in the Philippines
We’ve gathered the most common emergency scenarios that Filipinos should be prepared for:
The Philippines is no stranger to typhoons, with an average of 20 storms passing through the country each year. These storms can bring heavy rain, strong winds, and flooding.
The country is situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire so earthquakes can occur at any time.
According to Phivolcs (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology), around 100 – 150 earthquakes of varying magnitudes are recorded in the Philippines each year. This disaster can cause widespread damage and destruction in the Philippines.
The Philippines is home to numerous active volcanoes, and volcanic eruptions can happen at any time, causing damage and destruction to nearby communities.
In recent years, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 and Taal Volcano in 2020 and 2021 resulted in the displacement and evacuation of thousands of Filipinos.
Floods are a common occurrence in the Philippines, particularly during the rainy season. Heavy rains can cause rivers and other bodies of water to overflow, leading to flooding in low-lying areas.
Flash floods can also occur in urban areas, making it important to be prepared for any sudden rise in water levels.
This natural disaster is common in areas with steep slopes and unstable soil. Heavy rainfall, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions can trigger landslides which can be devastating to nearby communities and infrastructure.
Fires are caused by a variety of factors such as faulty wiring, cooking accidents, and arson, among many others. They can quickly spread and cause damage to homes, buildings, and even entire communities.
Infrastructure failures include so many types of disasters. Buildings may collapse, pipes may explode, water pipes may break, transportation systems may malfunction, and power outages may occur.
These types of emergencies can disrupt the daily life of Filipinos and can make way for widespread panic and chaos if not handled properly.
In some parts of the Philippines, civil unrest poses a threat to safety and security. Protests, riots, and other forms of unrest can lead to violence and danger for those caught in the middle.
It’s important to be aware of any potential threats in your area and have a plan in place for how to stay safe in these situations.
Pandemics are a threat to the health and well-being of people all over the world, and the Philippines is no exception.
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 that caused illness, death, and job loss, it’s become evident just how important it is to be prepared for a potential pandemic.
Outbreaks of diseases
Aside from pandemics, outbreaks of other diseases also pose a threat to public health. These can range from foodborne illnesses to more serious diseases like dengue fever or measles.
It’s vital to stay informed about any potential outbreaks in your area and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of illness.
Essential Components of an Emergency Plan
An emergency plan is a critical part of emergency preparedness. It ensures that individuals have a clear idea of what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency.
Take a look at the essential components of an emergency plan below.
1. Contact information of family members
In the event of an emergency, communication plans are a lifesaver.
A detailed communication plan should include a list of contact information for all family members, including their phone numbers, email addresses, and social media accounts.
Make sure everyone knows how to contact each other and have a designated meeting place in case communication is disrupted.
2. Emergency contact number
Another important component of a communication plan is having emergency contact numbers readily accessible.
Make sure that everyone in the household knows how to call for help in the event of an emergency such as:
- Local barangay
- Fire department
- Hospital or medical emergency services
1. Mapping exit routes from home and work
Mapping out evacuation routes from your home and workplace is also essential in an emergency plan.
Identify the safest and quickest routes to get out of your home or workplace, and make sure your family members or colleagues are aware of these routes.
If possible, practice evacuating your home or workplace to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
2. Identifying safe spaces or local evacuation centers
Another important part of an evacuation plan is identifying safe spaces or local evacuation centers in case you need to leave your home or workplace.
Research the nearest evacuation centers, and have a backup plan in case those are unavailable. It’s non-negotiable to know the location of these centers so that you can access them quickly and safely if needed.
Family meeting locations
1. Special considerations for children, elderly, and people with disabilities
Consider the needs of everyone in the household when creating an emergency plan. This includes children, elderly individuals, and people with disabilities.
Identify any specific needs or vulnerabilities, and make sure your emergency plan addresses them.
This may include having extra supplies on hand, identifying accessible evacuation routes, or designating a meeting place that is easily accessible for everyone.
2. Pet care during emergencies
Pets are also a part of families, so they should be included in your emergency plan. Think about what you would do with your pets in the event of an emergency.
This could include identifying pet-friendly evacuation centers, making sure you have enough pet food and supplies on hand, and deciding who will be responsible for caring for the pets if the family needs to evacuate.
Essential Emergency Kit & Supplies Checklist
Here are the essential items to include in an emergency kit and supplies checklist.
1. First aid supplies
In case of an emergency, first aid supplies are crucial for treating injuries and preventing further harm. Your emergency kit should include:
- Bandages and gauzes (different sizes)
- Antiseptic wipes or solution
- Pain relievers
- Adhesive tapes
- Hand sanitizer
- Face masks
As much as possible, the first aid kit storage should be water resistant.
2. Food and water supplies
In the event of an emergency, it’s important to have enough food and water supplies to last for at least three days. Make sure your emergency kit includes:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for 3 days)
- Water storage
- Non-perishable food items such as canned goods, protein bars, and dried fruits and nuts
- Manual can opener
- Disposable plates, cups, and utensils
- Baby formula or food (if applicable)
- Pet food
3. Clothing and bedding
Having extra clothing and bedding in your emergency kit can provide comfort and warmth in case you need to evacuate your home. Make sure to include:
- o A change of clothes for each family member
- o Warm blankets or sleeping bags
- o Waterproof jackets or ponchos
- o Sturdy shoes and boots
- o Hats
4. Tools and emergency supplies
Having basic tools and emergency supplies in your kit can help you in a variety of situations, particularly if you are unable to go out of your home, if you need to clear out debris, or if you need to contact the authorities Some items to consider including are:
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Light lanterns and headlamps
- Solar charger
- Portable radio
- Gas can
- Multipurpose knife or hand tools
- Duct tape
- Rope or cord
- Matches or lighter
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape for shelter
- Cell phone with charger or portable power bank
- Heavy-duty garbage bags
- Storage containers
5. Personal documents and money
In the event of an emergency, have important personal documents and money readily accessible. Your emergency kit should include:
- Copies of identification documents such as passports, birth certificates, and driver’s licenses
- Copies of important medical records and insurance information
- Cash (must include small bills and coins)
- Credit cards and bank cards
- Important legal documents such as wills and property deeds (if applicable)
It’s also recommended to have a digital copy of important documents and store it on a USB drive.
Related Guide: 10 Most Secured Assets to Invest in During Uncertain Times
6. Medications and personal care items
These items are essential for people with specific medical needs or personal care requirements such as:
- Over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, antacids, and allergy medication
- Prescription medication
- Menstrual pads, tampons, or sustainable period products
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
Special items for infants, the elderly, or disabled family members
If you have infants, elderly, or disabled family members in your home, include special items in your emergency kit that cater to their needs. Some items to consider including are:
- Baby bottles and formula
- Diapers and wipes
- Hearing aids and extra batteries
- Inhalers or other respiratory medications
- Extra clothing and blankets
- Specialized medical equipment such as oxygen tanks or feeding tubes
- Wheelchairs or other mobility devices
- Bedpans or other hygiene items
- Extra hearing aid batteries
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Specialized dietary needs such as pureed food or liquid supplements
7. Supplies for pets
You should also include supplies for your pets in your emergency kit. Consider the following items:
Food and water bowls
- Enough pet food and water to last for at least three days
- Collars, leashes, and ID tags with updated contact information
- Carriers or crates for transportation
- Beds or blankets for comfort
- Litter boxes and litter for cats
- Toys or other comfort items
- Any necessary medications or medical supplies such as allergy medication or insulin
- Proof of vaccinations and other medical records
Community Involvement in Emergency Preparedness
Holistic emergency preparedness would not be complete without the community.
In addition to having your own personal emergency kit, you should get involved with your local community and work together to ensure everyone is prepared for any emergencies that may arise.
Some ways to get involved include:
Participating in local drills
When local authorities conduct drills for emergency preparedness, make sure to participate.
This will give you an opportunity to understand the emergency response system in your community and how you can follow it better.
It will also allow you to identify the vulnerabilities in your community and work towards mitigating them.
Additionally, there are several emergency response teams in every community that rely on volunteers such as the Red Cross.
Consider joining these teams and getting trained in first aid, disaster response, and other necessary skills.
This will not only help your community, but it will also equip you with the necessary skills to handle emergencies in your personal life.
Engaging in community awareness programs
Another way to get involved in emergency preparedness is to engage in community awareness programs.
Attend community meetings and events where emergency preparedness is discussed, and encourage others in your community to take action and prepare themselves.
Coordinating with local barangay disaster risk reduction and management efforts
Your local barangay or LGU may already have disaster risk reduction and management efforts in place.
Reach out to these organizations to know more about safeguarding yourself and loved ones during emergencies. If you have time, you can even volunteer.
Emergency Hotlines in the Philippines
In case of an emergency, it’s important to have access to emergency hotlines. Some of the important emergency hotlines in the Philippines include:
This is the universal emergency number in the Philippines, which can be dialed from any landline or mobile phone.
It connects you with any of the sixteen existing 117 call centers in various cities around the Philippines.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
NDRRMC has a set of teams deployed in various regions and cities with professionals that are trained for search and rescue.
Luzon Hotline Numbers:
|Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
Visayas Hotline Numbers:
|(033) 337-6671, 509-7971
|(032) 416-5025, 416-5025
Mindanao Hotline Numbers:
|(088) 857-3988, 875-3907
|(082) 233-2022, 233-0611
|(083) 522-9759, 553-2994
|(085) 815-6345, 342-8753, 341,8629
Bureau of Fire Protection
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is responsible for fire prevention and suppression, rescue operations, and emergency medical services. They can be reached through the following hotline numbers:
- BFP NCR Hotline: (02) 729-5166 9
- BFP Information Desk: (02) 410-631
Keep in mind that firefighters are not just trained to stop fires, but also to give first aid.
Philippine National Police
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is the primary law enforcement agency in the Philippines, and they also respond to various kinds of emergencies. You can reach them through:
- Philippine National Police (PNP) National Hotline Patrol: 117
- TXT PNP to 2920
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
MMDA monitors traffic, responds to road accidents, and provides emergency services in Metro Manila. They can be reached through the following hotline numbers:
|MMDA Road Emergency Group
|882-3993, 882-4151, 882-4152, 882-4153 to 77
|MMDA Metrobase Hotline
|MMDA Towing Hotline
|MMDA Flood Control
|Road Safety Hotline
|Public Safety Hotline
|Road Emergency Hotline
Philippine Red Cross
The Philippine Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that provides assistance during times of disaster and emergencies.
Here are their contact numbers:
- (02) 527-0000
- (02) 527-8385 to 95
If you find yourself stranded or in an emergency situation while on a Philippine expressway, you can contact the following hotlines:
|(02) 3-5000 & (02) 580-8910
|(049) 508-7509, (02) 584-4389
|MATES (Manila Toll Expressway Systems)
|0917 888 0715
|0916 211 2334
|0917 511 7827
These are just some of the national emergency hotlines available in the Philippines.
It’s recommended to also have a list of the local hotlines in your area, as they may provide more specific and immediate assistance in case of an emergency. Include your local barangay number, health office, and at least three hospital numbers.
Nobody is exempt from the risk of emergencies so it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from the unforeseen.
Having an emergency kit ready is the first step in being prepared for any crisis.
However, remember that it’s not just about individual preparedness. The community also plays a crucial role in emergency response and preparedness.
By getting involved and working together, we can ensure that everyone is ready to face any emergencies that may come our way.