Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tips for the Flood Prone Home Owners

I'm no noob to floods. Last July I already chucked out a lot of my stuff that got wet when flood water rose almost to my knee. A few years back when Miguel was a little boy his bed floated with him on it since we were asleep when the water rose. I don't remember anymore what we lost back then. There were others, but I was away on a trip when they happened (i.e. Milenyo).

And then Ondoy happened, we lost most of our things since water rose to about 7 feet. Good thing we at least saved Theodore (my PC) and Daisy (my netbook), poor Grex (Miguel's PC) has only his heart (CPU) working, we lost 2 monitors.

I read around the net that a lot of people experienced flooding for the very first time, so I thought of putting together these important lessons I have learned throughout the years.

1.Your life is more important than any of your things. When you are already in chest deep water you better get yourself to higher ground really fast. You'll find everything anyway when the water subsides (it'll be wet though).
2.Do not put important documents and valuables where flooding may occur. I lost all my docs, but I realized that I could just simply request for new ones with the NSO, church (for baptismal and confirmation certificates), DFA (for passports) and the embassy (for visas).
3.And that goes as well for photos, especially old ones. Scan them while you still have them!
4.Keep negatives in order. A good number of my old photo albums got ruined. Good thing I was conscientious in filing negatives. I'm going to bring them to Island Photo or Digiprint soon to have them converted to a digital file. Also keep back-up digital files of your photos.
5.Data. Archive everything in an external hard drive and back up with CDs. I wonder if there's a reliable and inexpensive cloud resource I can store data in.
6.Gadgets and power cables. Don't scatter your gadgets around. Have them in one place where it'll be easy to grab them in case you need to run.
7. Appliances. I lost my 12-year old TV, DVD player and CD player. I should've thought of bringing them to higher ground when the water was still very low. Have them dry out before attempting to plug them. A friend also advised that you can tie them up to prevent them from floating away. Don't forget to unplug all appliances and turn off the main power switch.
8.Books. The only books we managed to save were the really old encyclopedias which was on the topmost shelf. Also managed to save some of my grad school books because I stored them in huge plastic boxes after July flood.
9.Clothes can be washed. My friend from Iloilo advised that the best detergent to use is Perla since this would take off the smell and any itch you may feel even after washing. Same goes for your jewelry. Don't worry, you'll find them when the water subsides and they're the easiest things to clean out.
10.Your bed. Don't worry about your bed. It will float. The only things we managed to save were the things we put on the bed. Thank God my Dad's 50+ year old love letters to my Mom survived Ondoy. And oh, don't close your door, they expand when they get wet :)

And always save up for a rainy day. Just buy what's essential after, you lived anyway before you had all those other things (and extras).

It will be traumatic, but cheer up. Your life is more important than any material thing. Thinking about how things would be a year from now would also be very helpful. Focus on that so you won't end up dwelling on the situation and you'd be able to mobilize yourself faster.


  1. @Aileen - "I wonder if there's a reliable and inexpensive cloud resource I can store data in"

    Possibilities (I use Mozy free, limited to 2GB)

    However, as the recent Microsoft/Danger/T-Mobile/Sidekick data loss fiasco shows, NEVER trust cloud-only backup. Always have your own external disk-based backup (preferably to two different hard drives)

  2. I totally agree with everything you wrote!