Are you making these 10 mistakes during a typhoon?
Editor’s Note: On Oct. 5, six airmen from Kadena Air Base on Okinawa were trying to photograph the waves along Okinawa’s northwest coastline as Typhoon Phanfone passed by en route to the Japanese main islands. Four of them ended up in the ocean. Only one made it back alive, one washed ashore unconscious and was later pronounced dead, and two others remained missing as of Oct. 7.
1. Not Securing Your Animals
Many Guamanians keep their animals tied on a chain outside and some are severely neglected. Don’t forget to bring your animals inside a solid structure like a garage, out of the way of flying debris. Buy dog and cat food well before the storm and keep your animal supplied with plenty of water. It’s also a good idea to give your animal a place to potty, such as a wet pad or litter box. Animals may be very nervous prior to and during a storm, so give them extra love and attention.
2. Not Stocking Water
After Typhoon Pongsonga, parts of Guam didn’t have running water for months. Keep your filled water jugs on hand at all times and refresh them every six months. Be sure they are disinfected and avoid touching the rim when you refill them. Many locals buy water, but Guam’s tap water is usually safe to drink under normal circumstances. Pipes may be contaminated during a flood, so having stocked water can save lives.
3. Not Doing Your Laundry
You may end up huddled in a your home or apartment with a few extra relatives. Smells will abound. You’ll be glad you have clean clothes and towels if there’s a power outage and/or clean-up required after the storm.
4. Not Getting to Higher Ground
Many of Guam’s residential villages have swampy flood zones. If you live in one of them, it’s best to stay with a family member or friend during the storm to avoid getting stranded or worse — flooded. Residents and visitors residing in Guam’s coastal areas (Tumon, Pago Bay, Inarajan, etc.) should also seek shelter away from the coast and on higher ground. Some Tumon hotels have readiness and evacuation procedures, but if you’re unsure of them, ask the hotel manager for information and/or assistance.
5. Not Filling Your Gas Tank
No reason not to do this just in case gas stations are rendered inoperable post-typhoon.
6. Not Refilling Your Medications
Fill daily and life-sustaining medications well before the storm. If a typhoon makes landfall, you can bet Guam’s hospitals and medical centers will be overwhelmed. Pharmacies may not open for several days if there are power outages.
7. Not Charging Your Electronics
Charge cell phones, tablets, laptops, medical devices, etc. well before the typhoon as power outages are sort of inevitable on Guam! Keep extra batteries charged and on hand. Landlines may continue to work beyond a power outage, but cordless phones will need charging.
8. Not Heading Warnings
Watch and listen for Condition of Readiness alerts to know which precautionary steps are required as the typhoon moves closer to Guam. COR doesn’t indicate the strength of the typhoon, simply the proximity of it to the island.
9. Not Buying Canned Food
This should be a no-brainer, but it deserves reminding. Purchase a variety of non-perishable canned food and stay away from salty meats and foods with little nutritional value. If you’re feeding an infant, remember to buy baby food.
10. Not Securing Your Outdoor Furniture
During high winds, outdoor items can become projectiles and smash through car and house windows. Do your part by moving outdoor items like furniture, toys, grills, potted plants, canopies, and car parts indoors or to your garage.