If you believe that flood preparedness does not concern you, remember that flooding can occur anywhere where it rains. Floods are a common hazard in the Philippines. However, not all floods are alike. Some develop slowly over time, while others develop quickly without warning. Floods can be local (affecting only a single location) or widespread (affecting multiple locations). Whether you live in an area at high or low risk of flooding, it pays to understand the importance of flood preparedness.
Before a Flood
To prepare for a flood in your area, you should:
• Create a basic emergency supply kit containing items such as water, nonperishable food, a first aid kit, a batterypowered radio, a flashlight and a whistle.
• Make an emergency communications plan with your family, including details such as the meeting places and contact numbers you would use in the event of an evacuation.
• Consider installing check valves and other backwater protection devices to prevent floodwater from backing up into your property’s drains.
• Construct barriers to prevent floodwater from entering your property and seal basement walls with waterproofing agents.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. Avoid buying or renting properties in flood-prone areas. To make smarter decisions when buying or renting property, use Philippine property finder, Zipmatch, which provides a Flood Map feature for potential homebuyers, making them aware of areas prone to flooding.
During a Flood
If flooding is likely to occur, you should:
• Look and listen out for flood alerts.
• Be aware of possible flash flooding. If flash flooding is likely, move to higher ground.
If you are advised to prepare to evacuate, you should:
• Secure your property. If you have time, move essential items to upper floors.
• Switch off your water, gas and electricity at the mains.
• Disconnect all electrical appliances.
If you are instructed to leave your property, you should:
• Avoid walking through moving water. If you have to walk through water, walk where it is not moving. Use a stick to determine the depth of the water and the stability of the surfaces in front of you.
• Avoid driving through flooded areas. If you have to go through floodwater, consider the depth of the water and speed of the flow. Do not enter floodwater that is fastflowing or more than 10cm (4 inches) deep.
After a Flood
If your property has been flooded, you should:
• Return home only when the authorities indicate that it is safe for you to do so.
• Enter your property with extreme caution; it may have suffered structural damage invisible to the naked eye.
• Find out whether the tap water in your property is safe to drink.
• Arrange for an expert to service your sewer systems; damaged sewer systems pose a risk to your health.
• Clean and disinfect anything that may have come into contact with floodwater; floodwater may have been contaminated by sewage, oil or gasoline.
• If you hire cleaners/ cleaning companies, ensure that they are suitably qualified.
• Contact your insurer to discuss the prospect of making a claim on your property insurance.