How are you going to react when a natural disaster hits your hometown? Will you remain calm or will you be left in a panic? Do you even know what to do when a natural disaster strikes? Unfortunately too many people aren’t prepared for a natural disaster and it costs thousands their homes and more importantly, their lives.
Being prepared for a disaster can help in so many ways and even preparing the basics can help you avoid total devastation. This isn’t so crazy and even though you probably never think a disaster will never happen, it very might well. It could be a minor flood that hits but do you really know how to keep your family safe? You need to understand how prepared you really are.
Will You Rely On The Government’s Assistance?
When there is a natural disaster, you have to remember that at times, the State and Federal government may not be able to help you. Now, I say this because sometimes, when cities and towns in remote areas are cut-off from the rest of the world, police, ambulance and fire fighters cannot get through. It may be several days or possibly weeks with severe disasters, and it means you are the one is left alone.
It’s unfortunate because the government always tries to send help as quickly as possible but it may not come as quickly as you require it. Also, there may be times when certain disasters, smaller disasters that affect few communities, may not receive help from the government. At times, the government can do little to help and even when it’s a nation-wide disaster, the help doesn’t always come.
There probably will be hundreds of others just like you, in need of help, but if you rely on the government alone, you may be disappointed. That is why you need to consider preparing for a natural disaster if only to ensure you and your family can remain safe at all times.
You Must Create a Plan of Action for Any Upcoming Disaster
Let’s be honest, every single government and head of state has a P.O.A. for disasters. Really, most governments have plans set aside for terrorist attacks and all sorts of natural disasters and even though they aren’t always used, they are needed. A Plan of Action has become a much needed tool for everyone simply because it can avoid panic and chaos should disaster strike.
A P.O.A. is technically the most basic but most needed survival tool in the world today. It can save a life but you don’t just have to worry about seasonal rain or snow. You have to also worry about tornadoes, hurricanes, mud and landslides, and flooding too. The great thing about creating a Plan of Action is that it’s so easy to prepare for an upcoming natural disaster.
Your Plan of Action can set out what steps you and your family will take to protect yourself during a crisis. Every member of the family can learn about the different plans and once they know, they can remain safe even when disaster strikes unexpectedly.
Food, Water and Shelter
For everybody in the world, they require three things – food, water and shelter – and it’s these things you must focus on when it comes to preparing for disaster. Remember, the body can last only a very short period of time without water, say maybe three days at the most before the affects start to kick-in. However, food is something most people can live without more, but you still need to build your food supplies.
Fresh foods are not the best option to choose because these things rarely last more than two days without the date going off. Also, fresh foods that don’t have a refrigerator won’t last a day simply because they go sour. Milk can curdle, yogurt can turn into cream and cheese will go moldy and it’s very risky to consume these. That is why you need to stick to canned goods because they last much longer and they are easier to store without having to worry about shelf-life or keeping cool.
Ideally, you should try to build a steady supply of water. You should have at least ten gallons of drinking water for every person. This will last around a week and hopefully by then the disaster would have passed by then. However, you will also need a supply of water, around twelve gallons for bathing and hygiene. If you live in an area which often has bad weather and lose power or are subject to annual floods, you probably have a steady stream of water and food stored away already.
If however, you do not have any supplies at home, you must consider start stockpiling food, water and other supplies. The reason why is simple – a natural disaster can and will strike at any time and really today, the weather changes in the blink of an eye.
For your shelter, you have to think about what you can do to shore up the home to keep you safe throughout the disaster. However, you also need to consider what happens if you aren’t able to remain indoors and have to look for shelter elsewhere. Everyone needs to have some sort of shelter when it comes to surviving a disaster and if it won’t be your home, you need to have a back-up shelter in place.
This may be a family friend’s home or a work colleague but no matter where your shelter is, you must ensure it’s fully safe. However, you should also have a third shelter option if possible just in case other shelter options fail.
Thriving Through Natural Disaster
Each year, thousands of people prep for natural disaster and it must be something you seriously consider. Anyone who takes the time and effort to prep their families for disaster can hopefully avoid getting caught in the panic when a natural disaster hits home. Taking even a few hours out of your day each week can allow you to prepare for disasters around the corner.
- Do we need to prepare for natural disasters? What are the benefits?
- What steps to take in case of disaster?
- How to prepare for natural disasters?
- Prepare a 72-hour kit
- Can you prepare your house for a natural disaster?
Do we need to prepare for natural disasters? What are the benefits?
Some of you might think it’s unnecessary to prepare for natural disasters. However, the need to prepare is genuine for many reasons:
- When a disaster happens in your community, disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, and you should also be prepared. It might take some time until the local responders will reach you, as some people might be at greater risk than you.
- Disasters affect hundreds of thousands of lives every year. The effects can last even for years and disasters can affect both people and properties.
- You must know how to respond to severe weather or disasters that have a high risk of happening in your area: extreme cold, earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism, or flooding.
- Make sure that you are self-sufficient for at least three days. You should have shelter, food, water, first aid, and sanitation.
The benefits of being ready for a natural disaster are many. The most significant of these benefits are listed below:
- You can take preventive measures to reduce the impact of disasters. Elevating your home, floodproofing, securing items, or moving your house out of harm’s way are some of the preventive steps to take on.
- You reduce your anxiety, fear, and even risk for losses when you prepare for natural disasters. You and your family should know what to do in case of a severe fire. Learn how to protect yourself in case of an earthquake. You should know how to care for basic medical needs, how to get to public shelters, and how to evacuate your home.
What steps to take in case of disaster?
Regardless of the disaster, we recommend you take the following steps:
Have a family emergency plan
It’s crucial to have a family emergency plan. All the food, equipment, supplies, or gadgetry you have prepared for an emergency will be useless if you don’t have a detailed plan for yourself and your family.
Here are the most important aspects to cover with your emergency plan:
- Prepare electrical backups
- Establish the routes for evacuation and destinations
- Solutions when the communication is down (decide on a meeting point)
- Have contact information for friends, family members, and hospitals
- Location information for hospitals
You and your family members should know by heart the emergency plan. No plan will work if someone doesn’t know the program inside and out.
Have a family meeting
You should always start by identifying the hazards with a high risk in your area. Have a family meeting and cover as many aspects as possible. Try to go over the following questions:
- Have solutions for family members with medical needs of specific dietary
- Decide on the responsibilities for each family member
- Make sure you also have solutions for your pets.
- Seek to cover the particular needs of your family members with special needs (hearing aids or wheelchairs)
- Examine your property in detail. Will you have to board up the windows? Will you have to turn off the utilities?
- Establish who do you call in case of an emergency. Think if you will need help from doctors or nonprofits during disasters.
- Does any family member have medical needs or specific dietary?
How to prepare for natural disasters?
When you prepare yourself and your family for a natural disaster, you must cover all the details. Plan according to the natural disasters most likely to happen in your area. Make sure you have a backup plan for all disasters, just in case.
With most emergencies, you should stash some emergency supplies in advance. Make sure you stock an “under-bed bag” and a “go bag” as well. Put your shoes in the bag under the bag to protect them from broken glass—it’s just an example. The “go bag” should contact supplies for three days if you need to evacuate the house.
The best method is to drop, cover, and hold on to an earthquake. Should you feel an earthquake, you
should drop to your knees and hands and crawl underneath a piece of furniture for protection. You need to stay away from things that could fall and shelves. Hold on to the shelter for efficient protection—seek that your head and neck are safe. Only evacuate the house after the earthquake has stopped. During earthquakes, most injuries happen when people run during the shaking. As a result, debris hits them and they fall.
Keep in mind to practice the routine of drop, cover, and hold on with your family. There are many exercises to prepare for an earthquake, so practice until it becomes second nature for you and your family.
Know the signs
A violent jolt could hit and a couple of seconds later, you will feel the shaking. You won’t be able to stand up nor move from one place to another. Sometimes, you will be able to sense a rolling sensation that is relatively gentle at first and grow violently really quickly.
It’s also common to hear a rumbling or a roaring sound that gets louder during an earthquake.
Learn the safe spots
Building materials and heavy objects falling are the leading causes of deaths and injuries during an earthquake. You and your family member should know the safe spots in every room of your home. Some secure areas are underneath a sturdy table or covers with a pillow over your head.
The most important thing to do with hurricanes is that you should do it early if you plan to evacuate the house. If a storm is getting closer to your local area, you and everyone else will attempt to get out of the town and head in the opposite direction. Therefore, the traffic will be jammed. Have a fuel tank and leave as soon as possible.
If you don’t have a car, you should carpool with friends or family. Contact the authorities to ensure a safe and fast ride if that’s not possible. Heed all the government warnings during and in advance of a hurricane, especially recommendations on evacuation.
Many people run to the bathroom in care of the fire, thinking that the water supply will help. However, the risk of getting trapped in the bathroom during a fire is high, so you shouldn’t do it. You should go to a window and close all doors until you get to that window. It will slow down fire to reach you.
If the window you try to escape through is above ground, you will need to climb down. Ideally, you should have a collapsible ladder prepared.
There are many gadgets to use for efficient and safe fire evacuation. Install fire detectors with a guidance voice and an audible alarm because the voice will help you plan according to the severity of the fire. Not all fires pose a threat to your life. Some fire detectors identify both smoke and carbon monoxide.
We strongly recommend you practice the fire drills from time to time. Make sure that all your family members know how to leave the house right away; you won’t have time to collect things. Have a common meeting point with your family too.
To avoid fire in your house, you should always be cautious when cooking using space heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces.
When we talk about preparation for a flood, the most important thing to consider is to make flood insurance. Unfortunately, many homes and rental insurance policies don’t cover flood damage, so you need to see if your plan has an exclusion. You can check out online and see if your home has a high flood risk.
Follow all evacuation guidance from local officials and create an emergency plan to a safe location. Make sure you have supplies for 72 hours. Look for refuge on a high floor and near the window. Have water and food inside the house as well. If you have a one-story home, you can stack the mattresses on a table to gain some elevation. Going in the attic isn’t the best idea as you risk not having away back out.
Hail is frozen drops of rain that appear in a thunderstorm until they become so heavy that they fall. Once the chunks of ice fall, the force is so strong that they will dent vehicles and even crash through roofs. Hail often occurs in storms where significant amounts of hail fall suddenly. The risk of a hailstorm is high with thunderstorms.
There aren’t many things to do to prepare your house and cars for hailstorms. If you live in an area with frequent hailstorms, we advise you to replace an old roof with one with high resistance to impact. Since hail can shatter windows, you should consider installing double-pane windows. Keep the shades/blinds drawn during a hailstorm Move indoors and stay away from windows if a hailstorm begins.
Watches and warnings are the main alerts for a tornado, so know the difference between the two. A tornado watch means severe conditions for weather, such as tornados. On the other hand, a warning means that a tornado might or even have already formed.
Go over your shelter plan during a watch alert. If it’s just a warning, you should take shelter as soon as possible. Look and go to the lowest floor of your house. You should never go upstairs. If you don’t have a basement, go to a room with no windows. Bathrooms make safe rooms during a tornado. If your house collapses, the shower sinks, and the toilet will create some space to hide in. Regardless of what you do, always take a battery-operated radio with you to stay updated to official guidance. Better yet, turn it into an NOAA weather radio.
Severe winter weather
Winter blizzards such as high winds, extreme cold, snow, ice, and freezing rain can put your family at risk. Due to overexertion, winter storms can cause hypothermia, car accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, frostbite, and heart attacks. We advise you to avoid the roads, get ready for power outages, and dress warmly to reduce the risk. Use generators outdoors and look for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Exhaustion, shivering, and shaking hands are signs of hypothermia. White, red, firm, or waxy skin, greyish-yellow skin, pain, and numbness will signal frostbites.
If you have to go outside, make sure to remain warm and dry. Put on several layers of clothes that wick moisture. Clothes made of polyester, Dry-tech, and wool are ideal. Put on hats, warm socks, waterproof boots, and mittens (they’re warmer than gloves). Stay away from cotton because it doesn’t wick moisture and cannot hold heat as effectively as wool, synthetic fabrics, and silk.
When a volcano erupts, it throws molten lava and ash that can devastate everything they touch. If your house is in the path of an erupting volcano, there aren’t many things that you can do to save your house. You should focus on protecting yourself and your family as soon as possible and evacuate your home.
If your house isn’t in the direct path of lave flow, you might not have to evacuate. Minimize as much as possible the amount of ash that can travel inside your house by keeping all doors and windows closed. If lava approaches your home, unplug all electronics and cover them too. Have water and food for three days inside the house.
Prepare a 72-hour kit
Even if a natural disaster isn’t likely to occur soon, you should stay on the safe side and have an emergency kit in your home. Ensure that everyone in your family knows where you keep the emergency kit.
In case of disasters (whether natural or man-made), it can take up to three days for relief works to reach your location. Remember that authorities might cut off essential services such as gas, electricity, water, sewage treatment, and telephones for days and even a week. The supplies kit should contain items to cover those needs.
Put your emergency kit together well in advance of the emergency. With disasters, you will not have to buy supplies. The primary groups of supplies you should have in your home are:
- Clothing, bathing, and sanitation supplies
- First-aid supplies
- Items that meet the unique needs of family members and your pets
Keep all the items in just one easy-to-carry recipient, such as a covered trash container, a duffle bag, or a camping backpack.
Basic disaster supplies kit
The basic disaster supplies kit should include as follows:
- A three-day supply of water. You need to count one gallon of water per person per day.
- A three-day supply of non-perishable food, according to the size of your family
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Portable radio and/or television. A battery-operated radio is fine, but a hand-crank radio is even better.
- Extra clothing
- Sanitation and hygiene items (toilet paper and moist towelettes)
- Supplies for a family member with particular needs such as prescribed medication, contact lens solution, eyeglasses, hearing aid batteries
- Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils (can opener is crucial)
- Matches (look for weatherproof ones) and a waterproof container
- Photocopies of identification cards and credit cards
- Items for babies (diapers, formula, bottles, and pacifiers)
- Cash and coins
- Items that meet the particular needs of your family
For wintertime, you should pack proper clothing and bathing supplies. The list of clothing and shoes for every family member includes but isn’t limited to:
- Sturdy shoes
- Jacket (waterproof is ideal)
- Long pants
- Long sleeve shirt
- Hat, mittens, and scarf
- A warm blanket or sleeping bag
How to preserve the disaster supplies kit
You want to ensure that every item in your emergency supply kit is functional and ready to use whenever necessary. Here’s how to keep all supplies in good condition:
- Store boxed food in tightly-closed plastic/metal recipients so that you protect them against rodents. This way, you will also expand their shelf life.
- Store canned foods in a dry place where the temperature is cool.
- Use food before they expire and replace them with a fresh one.
- Throw out all swollen, corroded, or dented food
- Examine your needs every once in a while and adjust the kit according to your family’s needs.
- Put older items in the front of the storage area and the new things at its back.
- Replace stored food and water supplies twice a year. Write down the date you keep on everything you put inside the emergency kit.
- Check out the batteries from time to time and replace the leaking ones with new batteries.
- Store items in airtight plastic bags and place the whole kit in one or even two containers for effortless carry.
Can you prepare your house for a natural disaster?
Being proactive is fundamental when it comes to preparing for a natural disaster. Even if your house is made with wind-prof and fire-proof materials, it’s not enough for protection against natural disasters. Here are some other steps to take to protect your home the best way possible before natural disasters:
Reinforce windows and doors
Should a tornado or hurricane strike you, the doors might fly off quickly. Loose debris will break the windows, so you should install wind-resistant doors and windows. You can also opt for storm-proof shutters to protect the windows during a storm.
As a temporary fix, you can use plywood to board up the windows and doors before the storm hits your house.
Sandbags will divert water and you should place them around doors or in areas with a high risk of flood. You want to stop floodwater from seeping into your house during a hurricane. It’s a crucial step to take during a storm. Stock the sandbags one foot high for the most effective protection.
Find gas, water, and electrical lines
If a storm is on the way, officials might recommend you to turn off gas, water, and electricity connections to reduce the risk of fire and flooding. If you don’t check out the water and power lines, you risk additional damage before the storm hits your house. Make sure that you precisely know where the lines are and how to turn them all off. In case of emergency, you should turn off, in order, water, gas, and electrical lines.
Secure heavy furniture to the walls
Earthquakes can be strong and knock over heavy furniture, appliances, etc. Heavy items can injure people, children, and the elderly especially. If your local area has a high earthquake risk, you should use a bracket to secure the heavy items. Make sure that nothing nearby can be damaged if the heavy things fall.
Prune large trees
Trees can cause severe damage during a storm. Heavy branches reaching your house’s roof can fall and cause severe problems and injure people inside. Keep the roof safe by regularly pruning large trees on your property. Ask your neighbors do the same if their trees reach over your property.
Secure outdoor furniture
If there’s outdoor furniture on a patio or porch, see that everything is tied down and secured. Move inside all loose items, such as grills, sporting equipment, or umbrellas. You shouldn’t leave small items outside (yard tools, toys, etc.).
Have fire-retardant plants
If your locale area has a significant risk for wildfire, you should protect the area around your house by using non-flammable materials (stone and cement). Plants in your yard might fuel the flames and aggravate the fire. Ice plant, Rockrose, hedging roses, aloe, shrub apples, and sumac are some of the plants you can use to protect your house. Poplar, maple, and cherry trees are also less flammable than fir and pine trees.