Friday, September 13, 2019

Come hell or high water: Myths and facts on disaster preparedness

“There’s no point in preparing—if it happens, it happens.” “I’m on safe ground, it won’t happen here.” These are just a couple of things people may say about disasters. Unfortunately, the illusion of safety or a fatalist approach may lead to very dangerous consequences.

AXA Philippines, one of the country’s leading insurance companies, debunks a few common myths on emergencies and disasters to help people become better equipped for unforeseen events.

Myth: “Things will go back to normal right after a disaster.”

Fact: The impact of a disaster cannot be measured beforehand. If a simple thunderstorm can set off a series of negative events such as flooding, power outages, and road obstruction, imagine what a severe natural disaster can do. With this in mind, it is best to always be prepared for the long haul. At home, store at least a week’s worth of emergency supplies, medicine, food and water. Keep medical records and other important documents such as government IDs in sealed waterproof containers.  

Myth: “If there’s an emergency, all I need to do is call the national emergency hotlines for immediate help and it will come.”

Fact: When a major disaster strikes, help from local emergency personnel may be limited depending on the need, and they will most likely address critical situations first. Remember that the safety of your family is your responsibility. Better to not assume help is just around the corner. Do what you can to be self-sufficient.

Myth: “Preparing for disasters takes a lot of money and effort.”

Fact:  There are many things you can do to significantly improve your ability to deal with an emergency that are not too expensive or complicated. They are certainly cheaper and less complicated compared to the detrimental effects of being unprepared. With AXA Philippines Home Security, your property is covered against fire and lightning, acts of nature (earthquake, typhoon, flood), and even damage resulting from riot/strike, among other things. The comprehensive insurance package for your home offers rental and relocation expense, personal liability insurance, and personal accident insurance for you, your spouse, and children of up to ₱1 million.

Myth: “It is safe to drive or walk on the streets during typhoons or floods if there is only a little water on the road.”

Fact:  It is best to avoid driving or walking in the water. Even six inches of water can make you lose control of your car. If you are driving, it is best to stop for a while during a heavy downpour. Walking in flood water also exposes you to diseases. Be alert for any electrical wires or outlets submerged in water. If you can, report any damaged or fallen electrical posts to the proper authorities.

Myth: “If I am trapped under rubble, the best thing to do is scream so people will know where I am.”

Fact:  If you are trapped under a building, do not scream or yell. You can inhale dangerous toxins that may have been released, many of them not visible to the naked eye. Try tapping on a wall or using an emergency whistle to let rescue teams know that you are trapped. Carry a small whistle on your person for emergencies.

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