DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY AND SECURITY
Tower 1, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Ave,
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
TYPHOON SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR THE PHILIPPINES
1. The purpose of this document is to provide staff with basic guidelines on how to prepare
themselves and their families in the event of a typhoon. The emphasis is on what to do before
a typhoon as the UN has little capacity to assist and the host country resources will most
likely be stretched to the limits. The person who will have the greatest influence on whether
staff member survives a typhoon will be the staff member themselves. These guidelines come
from a variety of sources including Japanese and US civil defence websites.
2. This document is a draft and will be modified as further information becomes available.
PREPARING FOR A TYPHOON
3. If a typhoon is approaching here are some basic steps to take to prepare for the storm:
a. Prepare a family plan.
b. Learn about your community's emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation
routes, and locations of emergency shelters.
c. Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect them before
the typhoon strikes. Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is
standing water, fallen power lines, or before you evacuate. Turn off gas and water
supplies before you evacuate. Secure structurally unstable building materials.
d. Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where to find it and
how to use it. Electrical short circuits during floods are a common cause of fires.
e. Locate and secure your important papers, such as insurance policies, wills,
licenses, stocks, etc.
f. Post emergency phone numbers at every phone.
g. Inform local authorities about any special needs, i.e., elderly or bedridden people,
or anyone with a disability.
h. Make plans to ensure your pets' safety.
4. By planning and practicing what to do if a typhoon strikes, you and your family can
learn to react correctly and automatically in times of emergency. During a typhoon, most
deaths and injuries are caused by flying objects or falling trees, power lines etc. Learn the safe
spots in each room of your home. If you have children, get the entire family to practice going
to these locations. Participating in a typhoon drill will help children understand what to do in
case you are not with them during a typhoon.
5. Make sure you and your child also understand the school's emergency procedures for
disasters. This will help you coordinate where, when, and how to reunite with your child after
6. If a typhoon occurs, you may need to evacuate a damaged area afterward. By planning
and practicing for evacuation, you will be better prepared to respond appropriately and
efficiently to signs of danger or to directions by civil authorities.
a. Take a few minutes with your family to discuss a home evacuation plan. Sketch a
floor plan of your home; walk through each room and discuss evacuation details.
b. Plan a second way to exit from each room or area, if possible. If you need special
equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
c. Mark where your emergency food, water, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are
d. Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so that they can be turned
off, if possible.
e. Indicate the location of your family's emergency outdoor meeting place.
Safe Havens and Evacuation Routes
7. Identify a room in your house that offers the best protection. Check outside to see if
there are overhanging trees or power lines and make sure the walls and roof are strong enough
to withstand flying objects. Tape the windows to prevent flying glass. Ensure there is an
escape route out of the safe haven in case of fire or flooding. Identify another location that
you can evacuate to if your home is damaged or becomes dangerous. Do not leave your safe
haven unless it is essential to saves lives.
8. Take time before a typhoon strikes to write an emergency priority list, including:
a. important items to be hand-carried by you
b. other items, in order of importance to you and your family
c. items to be removed by car f one is available
d. things to do if time permits, such as locking doors and windows, turning off the
9. Write Down Important Information. Make a list of important information and put it
in a secure location. Include on your list:
a. important telephone numbers, such as police, fire, paramedics, and medical
b. the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your insurance agents, including
policy types and numbers
c. the telephone numbers of the electric, gas, and water companies
d. the names and telephone numbers of neighbours
e. the name and telephone number of your landlord or property manager
f. important medical information, such as allergies, regular medications, etc.
g. the vehicle identification number, year, model, and license number of your car,
h. your bank's or credit union's telephone number, account types, and numbers
i. radio and television broadcast stations to tune to for emergency broadcast
10. Gather and Store Important Documents in a Safe Place. Ensure you have copies of:
a. Birth certificates
b. Ownership certificates (cars, boats, etc.)
c. Social Security cards
d. Insurance policies
f. Household inventory, including:
g. list of contents
h. photographs of contents of every room
i. photographs of items of high value, such as jewellery, paintings, collectors' items
11. Stock up now on emergency supplies that can be used after a typhoon. These supplies
should include a first aid kit, survival kits for the home, car, and workplace, and emergency
water and food. Store enough supplies to last at least 7 days.
12. Emergency Supplies You Will Need. You should stock your home with supplies that
may be needed during the emergency period. At a minimum, these supplies should include:
a. Several clean containers for water, large enough for a 7 day supply of water
(about five gallons for each person).
b. A 7 day supply of non-perishable food.
c. A first aid kit and manual.
d. A battery-powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.
f. Water-purifying supplies, such as chlorine or iodine tablets or unscented, ordinary
household chlorine bleach.
g. Prescription medicines and special medical needs.
h. Baby food and/or prepared formula, diapers, and other baby supplies.
i. Disposable cleaning cloths, such as "baby wipes" for the whole family to use in
case bathing facilities are not available.
j. Personal hygiene supplies, such as soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, etc.
k. An emergency kit for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first
aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, etc.
13. First Aid Kit. Store your first aid supplies in a tool box or fishing tackle box so they
will be easy to carry and protected from water. Inspect your kit regularly and keep it freshly
stocked. NOTE: Important medical information and most prescriptions can be stored in the
refrigerator, which also provides excellent protection from fires.
b. Hydrogen peroxide to wash and disinfect wounds
c. Antibiotic ointment
d. Individually wrapped alcohol swabs
e. Aspirin and non-aspirin tablets
f. Prescriptions and any long-term medications (keep these current)
g. Diarrhoea medicine
h. Eye drops
j. Bandage strips
k. Ace bandages
l. Rolled gauze
m. Cotton-tipped swabs
n. Adhesive tape roll
o. Other First Aid Supplies
p. First aid book
t. Bar soap
w. Paper cups
x. Pocket knife
y. Small plastic bags
z. Safety pins
aa. Needle and thread
bb. Instant cold packs for sprains
cc. Sanitary napkins
dd. Splinting materials
14. Survival Kit for Your Home. Assemble a survival kit for your home with the following
a. Tools and supplies
b. ax, shovel, broom
c. screwdriver, pliers, hammer, adjustable wrench
d. rope for towing or rescue
e. plastic sheeting and tape
f. Items for safety and comfort
g. sturdy shoes that can provide protection from broken glass, nails, and other debris
h. gloves (heavy and durable for cleaning up debris)
j. waterproof matches
k. change of clothing
m. garden hose (for siphoning and firefighting)
o. recreational supplies for children and adults
p. blankets or sleeping bags
q. portable radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
r. essential medications and eyeglasses
s. fire extinguisher -- multipurpose, dry chemical type
t. food and water for pets
u. toilet tissue
15. Survival Kit for Your Car. Assemble a survival kit for your car with the following
items. Storing some of these supplies in a small bag or backpack will make them more
convenient to carry if you need to walk.
b. Bottled water
c. Change of clothes
d. Mobile phone recharger
e. Fire extinguisher -- multipurpose, dry chemical type
f. First aid kit and manual
g. Emergency signal device (light sticks, battery-type flasher, reflector, etc.)
h. Flashlight with fresh batteries
i. Food (nonperishable -- nutrition bars, trail mix, etc.)
k. Local map and compass
l. Rope for towing, rescue, etc.
m. Paper and pencils
n. Pre-moistened towelettes
o. Prescription medicines
p. Battery-operated radio with fresh batteries
q. Small mirror for signalling
r. Toilet tissue
s. Tools (pliers, adjustable wrench, screwdriver, etc.)
t. Whistle for signalling
u. Jumper cables
v. Duct tape
16. Survival Kit for Your Workplace. Assemble a survival kit for the workplace with the
a. Food (non-perishable -- nutrition bars, trail mix, etc.)
b. Bottled water
c. Jacket or sweatshirt
d. Pair of sturdy shoes
e. Flashlight with fresh batteries
f. Battery-operated radio with fresh batteries
g. Essential medications
i. Small first aid kit
j. Extra pair of eyeglasses and/or contact lens solution
k. Whistle or other signalling device
Preparing to Evacuate
17. Expect the need to evacuate and prepare for it. When a typhoon warning is issued, you
a. Fill your car's fuel tank.
b. If no vehicle is available, make arrangements with friends or family for
c. Fill your clean water containers.
d. Review your emergency plans and supplies, checking to see if any items are
e. Tune in the radio or television for weather updates.
f. Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
g. Prepare an emergency kit for your car with food, flares, booster cables, maps,
tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, etc.
h. Secure any items outside which may damage property in a storm, such as
bicycles, grills, propane tanks, etc.
i. Cover windows and doors with plywood or boards or place large strips of
masking tape or adhesive tape on the windows to reduce the risk of breakage and
j. Put livestock and family pets in a safe area. Due to food and sanitation
requirements, emergency shelters cannot accept animals.
k. Place vehicles under cover, if at all possible.
l. Fill sinks and bathtubs with water as an extra supply for washing.
m. Adjust the thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coolest possible
WHAT TO DO DURING A TYPHOON
18. To get through the storm in the safest possible manner:
a. Monitor the radio or television for weather conditions, if possible.
b. Stay indoors until the authorities declare the storm is over.
c. Do not go outside, even if the weather appears to have calmed—the calm "eye" of
the storm can pass quickly, leaving you outside when strong winds resume.
d. Stay away from all windows and exterior doors, seeking shelter in a bathroom or
basement. Bathtubs can provide some shelter if you cover yourself with plywood
or other materials.
e. Prepare to evacuate to a shelter or to a neighbour's home if your home is damaged,
or if you are instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
f. Avoid going out of your home unless there is a grave, life threatening
circumstance that requires travel (e.g. a major medical emergency).
g. Shelter in place (preferably in your designated home safe area) unless directed to
evacuate by competent disaster management authorities.
19. If you need to evacuate, follow evacuation routes and avoid coastal areas, riverbanks
and streams. Inform DSS and others (a trusted colleague, supervisor, friend or relative) where
you are going.
20. Monitor development and keep abreast of disaster management advisories. For staff
members’ living in low lying areas susceptible to flooding, be aware of rising water levels and
be prepared to evacuate if directed by competent disaster management authorities. If you are
evacuating, take your disaster supplies kit with you to the shelter. Inform the radio room
about any impending evacuation.
21. If necessary, turn off the mains (especially gas and electricity) in your home. Unless
otherwise instructed, turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting and keep closed to conserve
cold temperatures so that your stored food may last longer when power gets cut off or if you
need to turn power off.
22. When sheltering in place, stay indoors, keep away from windows and glass doors.
23. Keep curtains and blinds closed. If the weather suddenly clears up, do not venture
outside immediately since this may merely be the “Eye of storm. “ Foul weather may return
on short notice. If absolutely necessary, this lull (it may last for about one or two hours) may
be used to effect only the most essential repairs to your home and other similar tasks.
24. Avoid using the phone except for serious emergencies since disaster management
authorities need first priority on telephone lines.
25. Ensure that everyone is well hydrated.
WHAT TO DO AFTER THE TYPHOON HAS PASSED
26. Beware of Drowning Hazards. Avoid moving water, regardless of depth or speed. Do
not drive through flooded roads. Cars can be swept away or break down. Follow all warnings
about water on roadways.
27. If you have to work in or near floodwater, wear a life jacket. If you are caught in an area
where floodwater is rising, wear a life jacket, or wear or keep at hand some other type of
28. Always wear enclosed shoes if forced to walk through floodwaters. Glass, nails, wire,
broken pipes can cause cuts that will quickly become infected in contaminated floodwaters.
29. Beware of Moving Water. Do not walk through moving water. About 15 cm of
moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not
moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
30. Do Not Drive into Flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, first try to drive
away from the area if unable to do so abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can
do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.
a. Approx 62 cm (two feet) of water will reach key components of most 4 x 4
passenger vehicles or 31-32 cm (one foot) for passenger cars causing loss of
control and possible stalling. 31-32 cm (one foot) of water will float many
b. 62 cm (two feet) of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including 4x4
vehicles and pick-ups.
c. A hidden danger awaits motorists where a road without a bridge dips across a
d. Motorists develop false confidence when they normally or frequently pass through
dry low-water crossing. Those people, who repeatedly drive through flooded low-
water crossings, do not recognize the dangers of a small increase in the water
e. Road beds may have been scoured or even washed away during flooding creating
unsafe driving condition.
f. Driving too fast through low water will cause the vehicle to hydroplane and lose
contact with road surface.
g. Visibility is limited during the evenings, nights and early mornings increasing
vulnerability of the driver to any hidden dangers.
31. Avoid Electrical Hazards.
a. Never make contact with power lines, regardless of whether they are on the
ground or intact. Do not drive through standing water if downed powerlines are in
the water. If a power line falls across your car while you are driving, stay inside
the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line.
b. Never turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while
standing in water. If electrical circuits and electrical equipment have gotten wet or
are in or near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service
panel. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call
an electrician to turn it off.
c. If you see frayed wiring or sparks when you restore power, or if there is an odor
of something burning (whether fire is visible or not), immediately shut off the
electrical system at the main circuit breaker.
d. Consult your utility company about how to install and use power generators
32. Beware of Dangerous Materials
a. Call the fire department to inspect or remove chemicals, propane tanks, and other
b. Wear protective clothing and gear (for example, a respirator if needed) when
handling hazardous materials.
c. Wash skin that may have come in contact with hazardous chemicals.
d. Wear insulated gloves and use caution if you have to remove a car battery. Car
batteries can maintain an electrical charge even if flooded. Avoid any acid that
may have leaked from a car battery.
33. Drive Safely
a. Be alert for broken stop lights and missing street signs.
b. Treat intersections where lights are out as a four-way stop.
c. Avoid driving through water, especially when it is fast moving.
d. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your car or truck.
e. Two feet of water will carry most cars away.
f. Do not drive through standing water if fallen power lines or electrical wires are in
g. If a power line or electrical wire falls on your car while you are driving:
(1) Continue to drive away from the wire.
(2) Do not turn off the ignition, even if the engine stalls.
(3) Stay in your car or truck and wait for emergency workers.
(4) Do not allow anyone other than emergency workers to approach your car or
h. Slow down and drive at a speed that is safe for road and weather conditions.
i. Watch out for trash and debris on the road.
j. Keep space between you and other drivers.
k. Wear your seatbelt at all times.
l. Do not drive, if you have been drinking or are sleepy.
m. Be sure your child rides in a child safety seat or booster sear, correctly installed in
the back seat, on every trip.
n. Carry basic supplies in your car, such as water, food, blanket, and first aid kit.
o. Gasoline is extremely flammable and dangerous. Do not carry extra fuel in your
car or truck. If you feel you must carry extra fuel, then follow these safety tips:
p. Use only metal or plastic containers approved for gasoline storage.
q. Do not fill the container all the way to allow for heat expansion.
r. To reduce danger from static electricity fill portable containers on a flat surface on
the ground and not in the vehicle.
s. After filling containers, tighten all caps, wipe off any spilled fuel, and secure
containers to avoid tipping.
t. After reaching your destination, remove gasoline containers from your vehicle
and store in a well ventilated area. Use the stored gasoline as soon as possible.
Be Alert to Gas Leaks
34. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave the house immediately. Notify emergency
authorities and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause
35. Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe to do so.
Prevent heat–related illness:
a. Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
b. Take breaks in shaded areas or in cool rooms.
c. Drink water and nonalcoholic fluids often.
d. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
e. Do outdoor activities during cooler hours.
36. Ladder Safety:
a. Stand your ladder on flat ground.
b. Do not stand on top two steps of a ladder.
c. Stand in center of ladder step.
d. Never use a folding ladder when it is closed. Open the ladder and press the side
locks into place.
e. While on a ladder, do not reach to the side.
f. While on a ladder, do not push or pull anything.
Prevent or Treat Wounds
37. Immediately clean out all open wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Keep
wounds covered with clean, dry bandages that are large enough to cover the wound and
contain any pus or drainage. Change bandages as needed and when drainage can be seen
through the bandage. Contact a doctor to find out whether more treatment is needed (such as a
tetanus shot). If a wound gets red, swells, or drains, seek immediate medical attention.
38. Avoid wild or stray animals. If you are bitten by any animal, seek immediate medical
attention. If you are bitten by a snake, try to identify it, so that if it is poisonous, you can be
given the correct anti-venom. Do not cut the wound or attempt to suck the venom out. (If your
skin or eyes may have come in contact with hazardous materials, such as acid from a car
battery, wash thoroughly with decontaminated water and seek medical attention as needed.
39. If you have wounds, you should be evaluated for a tetanus immunization, just as you
would at any other time of injury. If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated
with faeces, soil, or saliva, have a doctor or health department determine whether a tetanus
booster is necessary based on individual records.
40. Protect Yourself from Other Injuries. Stay away from damaged buildings or
structures until they have been examined and certified as safe by a building inspector or other
a. You may want to wait to return to buildings during daylight hours, when it is
easier to avoid hazards, particularly if the electricity is off and you have no lights.
b. Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises that signal that the
structure may fall or if you smell gas or suspect a leak.
c. Use teams of two or more people to move bulky objects. Avoid lifting any
material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).
d. Wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toe
and insole (not just steel shank) for cleanup work.
e. Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.
f. Avoid wading in water. Glass, metal fragments, and other debris may be in the
g. Pace yourself and get help to avoid both physical and emotional exhaustion.
h. Monitor your radio or television for up-to-date emergency information.
41. Be aware of yours and others’ risk for heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and
fainting. To avoid heat stress, you should:
a. Drink a glass of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes and at least one gallon each day.
b. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. They both dehydrate the body.
c. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
d. When indoors without air conditioning, open windows if outdoor air quality
permits and use fans.
e. Take frequent cool showers or baths.
f. If you feel dizzy, weak, or overheated, go to a cool place. Sit or lie down, drink
water, and wash your face with cool water. If you don't feel better soon, get
medical help quickly.
g. Work during cooler hours of the day when possible, or distribute the workload
evenly throughout the day.
42. Heat stroke is the most serious heat illness. It happens when the body can’t control its
own temperature and its temperature rises rapidly. Sweating fails and the body cannot cool
down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can
cause death or permanent disability if emergency care is not given.
43. Warning signs of heat stroke vary but can include:
a. Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
b. Rapid, strong pulse
c. Throbbing headache
d. Dizziness, nausea, confusion, or unconsciousness
e. An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
44. If you suspect someone has heat stroke, follow these instructions:
a. Immediately call for medical attention.
b. Get the person to a cooler area.
c. Cool the person rapidly by immersing him/her cool water or a cool shower, or
spraying or sponging him/her with cool water. If the humidity is low, wrap the
person in a cool, wet sheet and fan him/her vigorously.
d. Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature
drops to 101-102°F.
e. Do not give the person alcohol to drink. Get medical assistance as soon as
f. If emergency medical personnel do not arrive quickly, call the hospital emergency
room for further instructions.
45. Avoid swimming or wading in water if possible. If entering water is necessary:
a. Wear enclosed shoes in water.
b. Ensure clothing and boots have adequate insulation.
c. Avoid working/playing alone.
d. Take frequent breaks out of the water.
e. Change into dry clothing when possible.
Prevent Illness After a Disaster
46. Wash Your Hands. Always wash your hands with soap and boiled or disinfected water
before preparing or eating food, after toilet use, after participating in cleanup activities, and
after handling articles contaminated by floodwater or sewage. Use warm water when
available. Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals).
47. Disinfect water for washing by mixing 1/8 teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of
water). Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of
household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
48. If water isn't available, use alcohol-based products made for washing hands.
49. Infectious Disease. Short bouts of diarrhoea and upset stomach and colds or other
breathing diseases sometimes occur in developed countries, such as the United States, after a
natural disaster, particularly among large groups of people in a shelter. Basic hygiene
measures like frequent hand washing or use of an alcohol hand gel, especially after using the
restroom or changing diapers and before eating, can help prevent these diseases.
50. Diseases like cholera or typhoid are rare in developed countries and do not typically
occur after a natural disaster.
Protect Mental Health
51. The days and weeks after an emergency are going to be rough. Some sleeplessness,
anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression, or lethargy are normal and may go away with
time. If you feel any of these symptoms acutely, seek counseling. Your state, local, tribal
health departments will help you find local resources, including hospitals or health care
providers that you may need.
a. Seek medical care if you are injured, feel sick, or have acute stress and anxiety.
b. Keep as many elements of your normal routine incorporated into the disaster plans
as possible, including activities to calm children's fears.
c. Be aware that you may have fewer resources to attend to your day-to-day
conflicts, so it is best to resolve what you can ahead of time.
d. Turn to family, friends, and important social or religious contacts to setup support
networks to deal with the potential stressors.
e. Let your child know that it is okay to feel upset when something bad or scary
happens. Encourage your child to express feelings and thoughts, without making
52. Rain and flooding in a typhoon area may lead to an increase in mosquitoes, which can
carry diseases like dengue. In most cases, the mosquitoes will be pests but will not carry
53. To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings, and wear long pants,
socks, and long-sleeved shirts and use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin. Care
must be taken when using DEET on small children.
54. To control mosquito populations, drain all standing water left in open containers, such
as flower pots, tires, pet dishes, or buckets, outside your home.
Prevent Illness from Sewage
55. If there is flooding along with a typhoon, the waters may contain fecal material from
overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with
floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or
drinking anything contaminated with floodwater.
a. If there has been a backflow of sewage into your house, wear rubber boots and
waterproof gloves during cleanup. Remove and discard contaminated household
materials that cannot be disinfected, such as wall coverings, cloth, rugs, and
b. If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them
as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic
ointment to discourage infection.
c. Wash clothes contaminated with flood or sewage water in hot water and detergent
and separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
d. Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas and do not allow children to
play with floodwater-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. Disinfect
toys by using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water. Some toys,
such as stuffed animals and baby toys, cannot be disinfected; they should be