Emergency Preparedness in Taiwan – P1

A Brief Guide in Three Parts

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


Taiwan is no stranger to natural disasters, of which typhoons and earthquakes are the most common. Nowadays, the elephant in the room is the threat of war. So it should be said that while we do not believe that war is imminent, we suggest you follow the old adage of “Hope for the best while preparing for the worst.” The following suggestions and thoughts are relevant to any disruptive event, and the focus is to get YOU to start thinking and to make plans suitable to your circumstances.

Mental preparation

Your worst enemy during an emergency situation is panic. If you have taken the time to think through various scenarios in advance, and prepared for them, even if just a little, you will be able to face it.

How dependent are you on the following? 

Imagine how you would you deal with these being disrupted, not reliable, or simply unavailable:

  • Cell Phone service
  • Internet connectivity
  • Electricity supply
  • ATMs
  • Refrigeration
  • Water supply
  • LP gas supply
  • Fuel supply
  • Credit and Debit Card services

What plan do you have for your family, and what emergency supplies do you have?

In any disaster or emergency situation, one of the first decisions you need to make is “Do I stay or do I go?” You may choose to shelter in place, relocate to another safe location, or to leave the country. Consider the following for yourself and your loved ones:

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You should:

Monitor any available news sources (ICRT FM – 100.7 MHz.)
Message regular updates of your status and plans to a trusted circle.
Use secure apps like Signal or Telegram
Bring family members to your place to shelter together.
Monitor gas carefully in case of leaks. Avoid open flames.
Even when sheltering in place, have vehicles packed, fueled and ready to go. 

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Air Raid Shelters vs Evacuation Centre:

Air Raid/Bomb Shelter
is usually the basement parking garage of your building or somewhere nearby. That’s where you go when the missiles/bombs are falling. No resources will be provided. You have to bring your own.
Evacuation Centre would be in a sports stadium, school gym, etc. with basic sleeping facilities (cots, sleeping bags at best). Identify your local one in advance. Google “Taiwan Emergency Evacuation Shelters”.
Aid, water, food and medical services will be funneled to the emergency shelters.
So if you need it — that’s where it will be. If you DON’T need it, consider opening a spot for someone in more need and be self-sufficient.
Go to the Emergency Shelter first to register/be accounted for/receive news, before setting off on your own, if you have a place prepared.
Next month, we will discuss the things you need to prepare and steps to take if you decide to leave the country.

tobie openshaw

Tobie Openshaw is a South African documentary filmmaker/photographer based in Taipei. He experienced the 9/21 earthquake of 1999 and produced eyewitness reports on disasters such as Typhoons Morakot and Soudelor, and the Tainan apartment building collapse of 2016. He is a founder of the Taiwan Disaster Preparedness/Civil Resilience – 台灣防災準備/公民韌性 on Facebook. 

(Tune in next month for Part 2:  “Bug In, Bug Out, or Bu**er Off”)

Emergency Preparedness in Taiwan

Download printable PDF below

Part 1

Part 2

– Part 3

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