1.31.2020

Emergency Preparedness Philippines

Emergency Preparedness Philippines

 


"I may have been early, but I'm not wrong." - Michael Burry - The Big Short

The store shelves in Wuhan, China emptied rapidly when Coronavirus struck the region. It is good to be prepared.

I wanted to post this quick list of essentials to have on hand for emergencies.

These things are good for just about any potential large-scale emergency that may strike: earthquake, volcano, typhoons, alien invasion...anything.  


Medical & Health 
  • betadine
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • isopropyl or ethyl alcohol (for hand cleaning)
  • aspirin (do not give aspirin to kids)
  • neosporin/bacitracin
  • paracetamol (pain and fever - avoid alcohol)
  • Imodium (antidiarrheal)
  • diphenhydramine (sleep and allergies)
  • Maalox/Gaviscon (acid reflux - 1 tsp baking soda can also be used)
  • band-aids
  • gauze
  • surgical gloves
  • goods for personal hygiene (soap/feminine/baking soda for tooth brushing)

Baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing. Baking powder has acidic substances added (cream of tartar), so it will not reduce acid reflux.

Diphenhydramine is for temporary relief of allergies and can also be used for insomnia. Do not become reliant upon it, as their are negative long term effects.

Have you ever noticed that antibacterial soaps are always on sale? This is because many of them contain the chemical triclosan that has been linked to liver damage. Antibacterial soaps are also not good for your septic system. Regular soap and water work just fine and you can use alcohol to sanitize your hands when you go out.

If we are given prior warning of an imminent disruptive event, then it is a good idea to make sure that we have obtained all necessary prescription medications ahead of time. Insulin is of particular importance. Many preparedness oriented websites suggest stocking up on antibiotics, but caution is advised. Antibiotics can save a life when taken appropriately, but they have no effect upon viral pathogens and can lead to resistant bacteria when taken inappropriately.

There is conflicting information about whether NSAIDs (aspirin, Ibuprofen) aggravate COVID-19. When we had Dengue last year the doctors only give acetaminophen. NSAIDs are contraindicated in Dengue due to risk of thrombocytopenia (low platelet count).  

We should always consult with a physician before taking any drug. 

This pdf is a good first aid manual, but in true SHTF you will need a hard copy, so try finding one on Lazada.com or check out your local National Bookstore. 

Mask Update 3-13-2020 The Final Answer (or so we thought) 

This is specifically about N95 masks not surgical masks

18. Do I need a mask to protect myself against COVID-19?
No. People with no respiratory signs and symptoms do not need to wear a medical mask. DOH recommends the use of medical masks only for the following:
  • For people who are presenting with symptoms of COVID-19;
  • Those caring for individuals who have symptoms such as cough and fever, and
  • Health workers.
DOH, together with WHO, advises the rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of vital resources and mis-use of masks.
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean or wash your hands, cover your cough with a tissue or the bend of the elbow, and maintain a distance of at least one meter from people who are coughing or sneezing. (For more information, see Section on protective and preventive measures).

Mask Update 3-17-2020 

After the WHO and DoH and everyone else told us NOT to wear masks the wearing of masks in public has now become the law of the land. You will likely not find masks in the stores so you can make them or they are also allowing scarves etc over the face. 

You can also be arrested for hoarding masks. 

Food

  • rice
  • beans
  • oats
  • pasta
  • salt
  • coconut oil
  • tons of coffee
  • peanuts & peanut butter
  • honey/sugar
  • canned goods (pineapple juice, tuna)
  • liquid bleach (follow instructions for water purification in emergencies)
  • water
  • UHT milk
  • multi-vitamin especially zinc supplements

All of the foodstuffs listed can be stored a long time and stocks are easily rotated to avoid waste. The pasta, beans and rice should be stored in air tight containers. We know from personal experience that weevils and other pests would love nothing more than to ruin your stores.

It is also good to maintain fruit trees and or a small garden if possible. Living in a rural environment can have a lot of advantages when it comes to finding food - of course there may also be drawbacks. 

You will be needing plenty of sleep to keep your strength up, your mind clear and your immune system in shape. For that magnesium does the trick. Magnesium supplements usually come coupled with vitamin c and zinc, but nuts are also packed with magnesium. Peanuts are very easy to find in the Philippines and believe it or not if you eat 100-200 grams a few hours before bedtime they will probably knock you out.  

For water we have our own well, which I highly recommend. It is equipped with a 1 hp motor to fill our 600 liter tank. It also has a hand pump. I can fill a 50 gallon drum in 10 minutes using the hand pump. We keep spare parts and gaskets for the hand pump just in case. 

For water purification you can use bleach following the instructions above and if you do not have bleach you can use calcium hypochlorite:

We make our bleach a little strong using three tablespoons to a liter of warm water. A kilo of this substance can be ordered through Shopee or Lazada for about 200PHP delivered. It has a shelf life of a couple of years or more.

Liquid bleach breaks down to salt water after about 6-12 months, so it is not a long term solution for  water purification.

You may see liquid sodium hypochlorite for sale. Sodium hypochlorite has a much shorter shelflife than the calcium hypochlorite granules and much of it that you find online may have already started to lose its effectiveness.

Authorities suggest having at least a two week supply of food and water. I suggest having as much as you can possibly manage. To maintain a serious long term source of food there is no alternative to growing your own.

As far as raising animals is concerned the best all around food animal IMO is the chicken. In most places here you can let them roam around to eat. They are a good low maintenance food source. You can keep goats too, but from what I have witnessed, goats are a lot of trouble for not much return. Turkey and tilapia are also good options.

Pigs are an option, but not one that I would want in our place and I hope that none of the neighbors do either. Pigs take a lot of work between feeding and keeping their pin clean. You have to stay on top of cleanliness or the stink will get out of control quickly. And with the stink comes flies and health hazards and when one pig gets sick they all get sick. I think the law around here is no pig farm operation within one kilometer of an adjacent residence. 

Cows are good, but you need land and they can be a full time job. They are still a lot better than pigs and no risk of trichinella, though trichinella is not prevalent in the Philippines. Pigs are omnivores and they become infected by eating the carcasses of other pigs that are infected with trichinella. 

Tools & Supplies

  • matches/lighters
  • extra LPG
  • solar phone charger
  • razor blades
  • basic toolkit
  • sewing kit
  • toilet paper
  • A box or two of Tanduay for trading or emergency wound cleaning
  • candles
  • lanterns/oil/wick material
  • flashlights
  • generator w/ extra fuel & fuel stabilizer
  • extra can openers (p38/p51 if you can find them)
  • good solid utility knives
  • firewood 
  • hand-crank and or solar powered radio
  • shovels/ax/bolo 
  • scissors capable of cutting denim
  • fishing gear 
  • boric acid (brazing flux) for roaches/ants

If you have good quality can openers from the US, then you are lucky. Most of the can openers I have found in the Philippines are not very good. 

The p51/p38 can openers are good and cheap:

p-openers by TDKozan

You will see a lot of these rotating wheel/butterfly type can openers in the department and hardware stores:

rotating wheel opener by Evan-Amos

butterfly type opener by Evan-Amos

Do not waste your time with them. They are not like their look-alikes in the US. No matter how cheap or expensive they are they are useless.

This is my personal favorite:

They are 49PHP. When you find this type buy several. The one I am using has opened maybe a thousand cans so far with no end in sight. 

Things To Get Done

  • Be prepared mentally and physically. 
  • Get all shopping done before the crowds set in.
  • Take out extra cash from the bank as needed.
  • Transfer money from overseas as needed. 
  • Fill up vehicles with fuel.
  • Have all important documents organized & ready to throw into a backpack.
  • Be prepared to relocate. 
  • Get extra reading glasses and prescription glasses 
  • When communicable disease is spreading:
    • STAY HOME IF AT ALL POSSIBLE and if not
    • Maintain social distance and hygiene
It might also be a good idea to set up a relative who lives near you with a nicely stocked sari-sari store. Auto-rotating preps. When TSHTF close the shop and you're golden.

Consider everything and make wise decisions. It is never unwise to be prepared.

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