Be Prepared for Rain-Flood-Wind-Traffic Emergencies and Disasters (RFWTED) – To Travel or Not to Place of Work

Be Prepared for Rain-Flood-Wind-Traffic Emergencies and Disasters (RFWTED) – To Travel or Not to Place of Work

Reynaldo O. Joson, MD

July 9, 2014 (adopted and refined from a June 2013 write-up)

 

It is rainy season once again in the Philippines.

Be prepared for the Rain-Flood-Wind-Traffic Emergencies and Disasters (RFWTED).

Be prepared for the RFWTED with the goals of prevention, mitigation, and preparedness to respond and recover in case they unavoidably occur so that resulting injuries and diseases, loss of properties, and other negative consequences are kept to a minimum level.

The focal stakeholder group of this writing is the general adult workers residing in Metro Manila who have to decide whether to stay put or to travel by land from one place to another whenever there is rain.  The principles contained in this advisory are also applicable to adult persons other than workers who have to decide whether to stay put or to travel by land from one place to another whenever there is rain. Offhand, I like to say that staying put and waiting for the RFWTED to pass is a better strategy for the adult workers to adopt.   It has a greater chance in avoiding injuries and diseases unless the place of residence and workplace are already affected by the RFWTED and are evidently not safe to stay in.

Below are my narrative recommendations (which are reflected in checklists below):

To travel or not from residence to workplace and vice-versa:

  1. Monitor the weather situation daily and on planned intervals within the day if indicated (such as every 6 hours) on the risk of encountering a Rain-Flood-Wind-Traffic (RFWT) situation.  Do not limit monitoring to public storms warning signals. Extend monitoring to any possibility of rain, regardless of intensity.

Here are some recommended ways to monitor and assess the weather situation to help one decide whether to stay put or to travel by land to another place in the Metro Manila (MM):

  1. Look outside the residence or workplace.  See if it is raining or not.  If it is raining, what is the intensity of the rain, light, moderate, or heavy? If it is not raining, look at the sky and the clouds and determine whether it is going to rain or not.
  2. Know the most current advisories from PAGASA and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on the rain-flood-wind-traffic situation in MM and in specific areas of concern particularly, residence, workplace, and path of travel.  Visit the websites of PAGASA http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph) and MMDA (http://www.mmda.gov.ph) by whatever means (computers, cellphones, tablets, etc.)  Follow the tweets of these two agencies (https://twitter.com/DOST_PAGASA and (https://twitter.com/MMDA).  Listen to the radio and television for the advisories from PAGASA and MMDA.  Get information from other people with whom you have previously established a network for mutual exchange of warnings during RTWTED.
  3. Know the most current rain-flood-wind-traffic situation in areas of concern (residence, workplace, and path of travel) by communicating with people currently situated in the areas or those who know the status of the areas. Know the flood-prone areas in MM and in the path of travel. Have contact numbers (especially cellphone numbers) of people who are in these areas of concerns. Listen to the radio and television for advisories.  Get information from other people with whom you have previously established a network for mutual exchange of warnings during RTWTED.
  1. Make a risk assessment in terms of low, moderate, and high risk to travel.

Any or all of the following situations, if present, constitute high risk to travel: 1) public storm warning signal nos. 3 and 4; 2) RED rainfall warning signal; 3) presence of flood with a level which causes roads in the path of travel to be impassable by all kinds of motor vehicles; and 4) presence of flood in the perimeter of or adjacent to the workplace or residence with a level that makes all kinds of motor vehicles dangerous to reach.  If one or a combination of the abovementioned situations is present, the recommendation is to stay put and not to travel.

A low risk to travel is said to be present if any or all of the following situations are present: 1) public storm warning signal no. 1; 2) YELLOW rainfall warning signal; 3) presence of flood in the path of travel and perimeter of the workplace and residence that is passable to light motor vehicles. The recommendation is that one can travel if one has to.

A moderate risk to travel is said to be present if any or all of the following situations are present: 1) public storm warning signal no. 2; 2) ORANGE rainfall warning signal; 3) presence of flood in the path of travel and perimeter of the workplace and residence that is only passable with the use of at least vans or sports utility vehicles (SUV). The recommendation is to stay put as much as possible.

Below is a checklist on the abovementioned recommendations:

Rain-Flood-Wind-Traffic Situation Monitoring and Risk Assessment and Action / Decision Checklist and Evaluation.

Steps Recommendations Action / Decision Consequence, if any
Monitoring for RFWT situation
Personal evaluation Looking outside of residence or workplace (raining / will rain – clue in sky) Done / not done
PAGASA Advisories http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.phhttps://twitter.com/DOST_PAGASA Done / not done
MMDA Advisories http://www.mmda.gov.phhttps://twitter.com/MMDA Done / not done
Contact persons in areas of concerns Residence – persons / contact nos.Path of Travel – persons / contact nos.Workplace – persons / contact nos.Network of people for mutual exchange of info – persons / contact nos. Done / not done
RFWT Risk Assessment*
Low May travel Travel / Not travel
Moderate As much as possible stay put Travel / Not travel
High Stay put Travel / Not travel

*See parameters for different levels of risk.

What to do if one is caught in a FLOODED path of travel:

If one is driving a car (a sedan – not van; not SUV; not jeep; not truck; etc.):

  1. Do not drive the car through a flood whose level is more than a foot high, more so, if it covers more than half of the tire.
  2. Stop, back up, decide on another route or park the car in an area away and not reachable by the flood.
  3. Monitor the progress of the flood.  Know most current advisories from PAGASA and MMDA. Wait hopefully for the flood to subside before resuming drive.
  4. Call up relevant and significant people, give information on whereabouts and plans of action, and give intermittent updates.

If one is walking:

  • Do not wade through flood water as much as possible.
    1. Back up; try another route; get into a vehicle that can pass through the flood; or just wait in a near-by establishment or building and wait for the flood to subside.
    2. While waiting, monitor the progress of the flood.  Know most current advisories from PAGASA and MMDA.
    3. Call up relevant and significant people, give information on whereabouts and plans of action, and give intermittent updates.
  • Do not wade through the flood water if there is /are wounds on the feet, legs, and thighs.  There is a moderate to high risk for getting a disease known as leptospirosis.  If one is forced to wade through flood water without protective pair of shoes (rubber boots), wash thoroughly with soap and water and immediately, the parts of the body that came into contact with the flood waters.
  • If one has to wade through flood water, wear a pair of rubber boots (to avoid diseases, particularly, leptospirosis); use a stick to poke the ground in front with each step to determine the bottom surface (to avoid injuries); and stay away from fallen electric wires (to avoid electrocution).

Below is a checklist on the abovementioned recommendations:

What to do if one is caught in a FLOODED path of travel checklist and evaluation (IF ONE IS DRIVING A CAR – SEDAN).

Recommendations Action / Decision Consequence, if any
Do not drive the car through a flood whose level is more than a foot high, more so, if it covers more than half of the tire.
Stop, back up, decide on another route or park the car in an area away and not reachable by the flood.
Monitor the progress of the flood.  Know most current advisories from PAGASA and MMDA. Wait hopefully for the flood to subside before resuming drive.
Call up relevant and significant people, give information on whereabouts and plans of action, and give intermittent updates.

 

What to do if one is caught in a FLOODED path of travel checklist and evaluation (IF ONE IS WALKING).

Recommendations Action / Decision Consequence, if any
Do not wade through flood water as much as possible.
  1. Back up; try another route; get into a vehicle that can pass through the flood; or just wait in a near-by establishment or building and wait for the flood to subside.
  1. While waiting, monitor the progress of the flood.  Know most current advisories from PAGASA and MMDA.
  1. Call up relevant and significant people, give information on whereabouts and plans of action, and give intermittent updates.
Do not wade through the flood water if there is /are wounds on the feet, legs, and thighs.
  • If one is forced to wade through flood water without protective pair of shoes (rubber boots), wash thoroughly with soap and water and immediately, the parts of the body that came into contact with the flood waters.
If one has to wade through flood water, wear a pair of rubber boots (to avoid diseases, particularly, leptospirosis).
If one has to wade through flood water, use a stick to poke the ground in front with each step to determine the bottom surface (to avoid injuries).
If one has to wade through flood water, stay away from fallen electric wires (to avoid electrocution).

Checklist of paraphernalia needed for the Rain-Flood-Wind-Traffic Emergencies and Disasters Preparedness.

Paraphernalia Residence Path of Travel Workplace
If driving a car If walking
PAGASA advisories
MMDA advisories
Contact Persons in areas of concerns for advisories
Network of people for mutual exchange of warning information during RFWT situation
Cellphone (charged) – bring charger /power bank whenever traveling during RFWT situation
Contact numbers of all parties needed to communicate with (see above)
Umbrella
Raincoat
Jacket
Towel and extra clothing
Rubber boots √√ √√ √√
Stick / rod
Emergency money √√ √√ √√
Flashlight √√ √√ (in car) √√
Matches / candles
Whistle
Car in good running condition
Flood exits
Others (as needed)

ROJ@14jul9

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