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The hottest months have passed. It’s the start of the rainy season in the Philippines.

The Philippines is a tropical island with only two seasons: the wet and dry season. As the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (or PAGASA) officially declare the start of the former, so goes the necessary preparations to ensure every household’s safety.

It is most likely that we experience heavy rainfalls, thunderstorms, and typhoons until October. After all, TIME has named us the “Most Storm-Exposed Country on Earth.” It was recorded that we experience eight or nine tropical storms every year.

Even with the seemingly harmless reminders of occasional moderate to heavy rains, it’s better to be prepared for when serious damage is headed our way.

Keeping your home safe is now a tougher challenge. Here are some tips to prepare it for the rainy season: 

Check and repair damaged rain gutters

Don’t wait and see how your current gutters can weather the storm. Check it, and have it repaired if needed. The rain gutters have a critical task of routing the runoff from the roof to the proper drainage, and not to your home’s windows, doors, siding, and foundation. A simple step that can help you with a gutter problem is to clear it off of drains of leaves, branches, debris, and other objects that might worsen an overflow situation.

When checking the rain gutters, consider questions like: Is the rain gutters overfilling more frequently than normal? Is there a leak? Or perhaps the gutters are sagging?

Have a supply of sandbags ready

There are many low-lying, and bodies of water-fronting areas in the country, which face a major threat of floods. It is then a safety hazard not just for the foundation of which a household stands, but also for the family. During times of typhoon, have a supply of sandbags ready, to keep water out of the homes. You can get it from emergency services, hardware stores, or camping stores. You may also create an alternative (of sandbag) to shield your home from flood waters.

Inspect the roof for damages

The roof protects our home from the scorching heat, and heavy rains. It’s safe to say that it is the most weather-beaten part of our home, given that it directly takes and takes what the sky throws down on us. Make sure you allocate time to inspect your roof for damages. And what should you check?

  • RIDGES – These are the points where the shingles are folded over. Any cracks or major damage you see would lead to the inevitable leakage in the home, if not attended to.
  • VALLEYS – The area of the roof with a downward slope. Are there any holes, or rust spots you might have missed during the previous inspection? Now’s a good time to check on those again.
  • SHINGLES – If they’re missing, curled, or loose in any way, replace it! The moisture leaking in from these areas poses an effect to the walls, sheathing, and ceilings, and will eventually weaken it.

Observe street drains near your home

Your barangay was introduced to a more “effective drainage system” by the officials. But does it really work? If so, then can it withstand the rainy season? You might want to check around, and see if garbage may be clogging the streets, waterways, and drainage; or if your street drains have improved over the past couple of years. Sometimes, no matter how hard you protect your home, if your surrounding areas, openly welcome flood water, then it will be useless. Call the city’s Public Works department right away.

Clean your home

Related to the step above, if you see any object, or trash that might clog your drainage, dispose of it right away! This includes bushes and branches that can be weighed down with water or strike houses. Remember, you can’t blame the street drains if the problem is with you.

Check the doors, windows, and screens

It is important to make sure that all doors, windows, and screens are closed/sealed property to avoid the water from getting inside your home. Make repairs and improvements, if necessary.

Secure any electrical issue

Faulty and worn-out wirings? It’s best to call an electrician to check on your home, to make sure no one in the family gets electrocuted, or shocked, when the downpour of rain doesn’t stop. There’s nothing to lose when being conscious about electric wiring. Check your home’s circuit breaker, ceiling fixtures, light switches, electrical outlets, etc., diagnose any problem with an electrician as early as now, and make sure you follow all safety procedures. On top of all that, you should acquaint yourself with how to cut out the electricity supply, in case of flood emergencies.

Get clues from the wall

Are there cracks on the exterior wall? Check each exterior plaster, and make sure that rainwater doesn’t seep into the cracks. The walls always give a signal, as to how you can avoid a problem that will grow bigger in time. Keep it in tip-top condition!

Water-proof/flood-proof your important documents

Even when you are 100% confident that your home is prepared for the rainy season, there’s still work that needs to be done. Store all your important documents, such as the insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, and house titles, in an accessible waterproof box (preferably a vault), so it’s safe in the event of a flood. You can never be too sure.

Ready an emergency kit

An emergency kit can be very useful during emergencies, and disasters. Flood included. A basic kit should have:

  • Drinking water
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Candles and matches
  • Whistle
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency medication (medicines for fever, diarrhea, wound, etc.)
  • Portable radio with batteries
  • Ready to eat food – crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, canned goods, sweet hard candies
  • Blanket
  • Personal effects/sanitary supplies (extra clothing, undergarments, tissue, soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, etc.)

Make sure you have this with you during the typhoon.

Now that you have the steps to protect your home from the rainy season, it’s time to put things into action!