By: Vanessa B. Hidalgo - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer
There are few do-it-yourself tips that can help protect your homes from the destructive effects of floodwaters.
The Philippines is located along the Pacific region near the equator which makes it prone to tropical cyclones and storms.
Poor urban planning in the metro has led to frequent flooding brought about by heavy rains. And flooding can be devastating.
In fact, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Managament Council said the impact of rains and flooding, brought about typhoons that lashed the country since January last year have displaced over 63,000 people while 48,000 remain inside 115 evacuation centers.
There are plenty ways of shielding our homes from the damaging effects of floodwaters. But it usually comes with a hefty price tag. We all wish that there was such a thing like a “huge bubble wrap” big enough to keeping our homes dry.
Sadly, there is no such thing. But here are few do-it-yourself tips that can help protect your homes from the destructive effects of floodwaters.
Be familiar with your home. In the event of a flooding, your home’s gas, electricity and water need to be switched off before any water enters your home. You have to know where these are located. Before a home emergency strikes, do a “walk down” around your home. Familiarize yourself with a route to know where these switches are. As you may have to access the main switch in the dark, better to store a waterproof flashlight and batteries along the way. Or you can use LED torches that are best during emergencies as they are more energy efficient.
Stock up on flood barriers. You can control the flow of flood water away from your home. The traditional favorite is the sand bag. The sand will absorb moisture and stop the water from entering your homes.
Or you can use flood bags. These innovative bags use crystals instead of sand for better water absorption. It quickly expands to form a barrier against rising water. But these bags can only be used once. So better stock up on these flood bags.
Block out the entry points of water. The door is the most vulnerable entry point for floodwaters. You can build flood resistant doors. A good alternative to building barriers in front of doors is making it watertight.
Use a door with rubber sealing system which prevents floodwaters from entering your home. You can also use swing-hinged flood gates for doorways and openings. It can also be considered as a decorative fixture but can also double as a flood barrier when tightly shut.
Make use of permeable surfaces. Grass is a popular permeable surface. It allows water to pass through and rapidly absorbs water. Pavements with permeable gravel can prevent flooding in urban areas.
Store it high. Keep your important documents and photo albums in a secure, handy and watertight location, It is wise to purchase a lightweight and waterproof safe.
If you have an attic, store all your important documents there. But make sure that the location is discreet but accessible.
Your attic can also be a makeshift temporary shelter when the floodwaters inundate your home. Make sure to keep an emergency kit, ready-to-eat meals and potable water in your attic. These will go a long way when the unexpected happens.
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