Living in a tropical country like the Philippines means that summers are extremely hot and humid, and that we are subject to a lot of natural disasters. Some of these that we have the most experience in include heavy rains brought in by the monsoon, and, of course, storms and a lot of typhoons. Typhoons, storms and hurricanes happen all over the world every year, and as each year goes by, the frequency and the intensity of these storms get stronger all the time. And as (Super) Typhoon Mangkhut (local name Typhoon Ompong) is currently in the Philippines, and as Hurricane Florence is currently in some parts of the United States, I decided to compile a little list of tips that I use for myself whenever typhoons happen.
This article is by no means a complete list of tips, as these are the ones I use for myself, and others might find it useful too. Also, this list is geared towards those who are a little it more high functioning and verbal, and it only pertains towards typhoons/hurricanes. as that is what my experiences are. In any case, I do hope that this list will help, and if you have any other suggestions and tips to add, let me know in the comments below, as I’d love to create an infographic one day that compiles all these helpful tips to help others during typhoons/hurricanes.
- Monitor the News & Stick to the Facts- I have a very, very bad habit of overreacting over every single chain message text that gets sent, for either natural disasters or other things. Over the years, I decided to just stick to the facts and rely on the correct sources in order to monitor the situation. Pay a lot of attention as to how a storm/typhoon/hurricane will affect your area, so you can make your plans appropriately. Once you know this, you can go over the protocols you have made for yourself in situations like this, make sure that you have your emergency kit & go bag ready, and if you think that it’s absolutely needed…stock up on batteries for flashlights, and make sure you have enough food and drinking water to help you outlast the typhoon/hurricane. Also, stay indoors as much as possible! Also, follow whatever your local authorities say. If they tell you to evacuate, please do so.
- Always Have an Emergency Kit & Go Bag Ready- It really does pay to have a complete emergency kit (complete with first aid & flashlight), and a go bag ready, especially if you have to evacuate your area. In fact, I bring my emergency kit (although still incomplete), with me at all times, as I believe that at the very least, I’ll have some things with me that will help me to survive. My very incomplete kit is in a waterproof bag, and has bandaids, light sticks, a multi-purpose metal survival tool, a tablet that purifies water, a flashlight that runs on batteries and manually, and, most importantly, a whistle to call out for help if I’m too overwhelemed and I can’t talk or scream. I also think that you should also have some kind of identification of your disability, and the number of a guardian or parent to contact. You should also have a go bag ready either at home or at the office just in case. I’ve heard that go bags should include a change of clothes, sturdy shoes, drinking water, some canned goods and electronics charged up to two to three days. This will also come in handy if, like some of us over here, get stranded in the office or in a certain area because of flooding. However, for us, part of our emergency kit and go bag should include things that we find comfort in, whether it be a portable stim toy, weighted blanket, or even having comforting songs on your phone. Also, have some cash as well in your emergency kit just in case as well. I am also still working on how to make a go bag more portable, and will let you know once I’ve figured that out. As even urban areas in my country do get power outtages, I always make sure that my devices are fully charged and that there are several things on my laptop on on my phone that I can watch or listen to to while away the time
- Always Have an Emergency Plan Ready- Talk with your therapist and family on what your protocols for different kinds of emergencies and disasters should be. You should have protocols in place for yourself as well as protocols established with your family or with the people you are living with or with at least one good friend or neighbor who you can rely on. For me, whenever there’s a typhoon warning, I stay indoors as much as possible, bring a raincoat or umbrella with me if I know I’ll be out of the house, and I also know where I can stay just in case I get stranded. As I’m usually with my family, it’s already an unspoken protocol that I will follow and stick to either my dad or one of my brothers and try to keep quiet and calm. In order to be calm, I also know my own particular coping strategies that works for me, but generally speaking, knowing some calming breathing exercises works too. It’s also good for you to do a little dry run of the scenario so you know what to do.
- Know Where the Nearest Evacuation Center Is- In any disaster scenario, it is good to know evacuation center areas and designated shelter points. These are good places to go to, especially if you are alone or end up separated from your family. Make sure that you have your emergency kit w/ proper identification and and your go bag with you. At least you’ll be in a safe place, and you’ll be able to ask for some official help there if needed, and you can also ask for help from there to contact your loved ones.
- Know the Necessary Emergency Phone Numbers & Have Your Own Emergency Phone Contact List- It is essential to know which emergency numbers to call, whether it be 911 or a rescue hotline. Have the necessary numbers on your phone, and try memorizing them if you can. Also, have your own list of people to call, ideally people whom you can rely on and with whom you have already disclosed your condition to, who can help you out in times like this. Mine include the cell phone numbers of my parents, and my sister.
These are my top five most essential tips to outlast a storm/typhoon/hurricane for those who are a little bit more verbal and high functioning. If you have any other tried and tested tips, as mentioned earlier, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below, as I’d love to compile all of these into a handy dandy infographic to help others someday.
Also, hoping that everyone is safe, sound and dry as we brave these storms together!