Staying Prepared: Keeping Your Family Safe From Natural Disasters
Preparing for a disaster isn't something anyone wants to do. It can be scary, especially when you have to consider not only what a disaster can do to you, but what it can do to your family. The wellbeing of your family can change in an instant, so it's best to make sure you have a plan should the worst happen. In this guide, we'll go over some of the most common natural disasters that can befall the average family. We'll also provide some great resources at the end that will help you with any further information you might need in the future.
If you live anywhere near the east or west coast, you'll need to make sure you're prepared in the event of a hurricane. It will be rare that a year goes by when your weather is not affected by a hurricane, and every year it is possible that weather conditions could become dangerous. The most dangerous thing about a hurricane is that it provides such a wide array of hazardous conditions. Your first concern should be the wind. Make sure you've installed some storm shutters and stay away from windows. Further, do everything you can to protect yourself against the rising water. If it makes sense, sandbags can help. At the very least, make sure you raise what you need for survival up off the floor. A well-stocked pantry means nothing if the food is sitting underwater.
Many people also need to be prepared in the event of a wildfire. You can prepare your home as best you can, but the best option for surviving a wildfire is being nowhere near one. To prepare you home for a nearby wildfire, make sure your gutters are clear. By their very nature, your gutters are full of kindling if they're not well maintained, and it takes only one small spark to start a fire. By that same token, trim back the leaves of any trees around your house. For more tips, check out the appropriate links at the end of this article.
While some places are more prone to earthquakes than others, an earthquake can strike anywhere, and it is important to be as prepared as possible. Those places that are more susceptible because of their proximity to a fault line are going to be perhaps more prepared structurally, but there are some steps you can take no matter what. The best steps you can take to be prepared for an earthquake are some of the same steps you can take for any natural disaster. Earthquakes can cause fires, so make sure you have a fire extinguisher and, if possible, that your sprinkler system is working. Further, an earthquake can cause your home to collapse, leaving you homeless. Make sure you have a kit prepared, and know where you and your family will go in the event your home is no longer safe.
A flood is one of the most dangerous and wide-reaching natural disasters that can occur. Anyone close to any body of water is in danger of a flood, so it's important to take at least the minimum steps to prepare. No matter what you do, it is possible that a flood will be worse than expected, so if you plan to stay even for a relatively minor flood, make sure you have enough food and water to last for at least 3 days. Make sure you're not keeping it on the floor, but rather have your emergency provisions up as high as possible. Food is useless if it's underwater. Further, make sure you have a charged phone, radio, and flashlight.
No matter what natural disaster you're preparing for, there are some simple and basic steps you can take. First, make sure you're familiar with the natural disasters that most commonly impact your community. You'll notice some overlap between what it takes to prepare for different natural disasters, but there are some that are specific, so prioritize. You'll also want to make sure your family knows where to meet up in the event that you get separated.
For more information on how to prepare for a natural disaster, check out these resources.
- Prepare Your Home
- Active Wildfires Map
- Wildfire Preparedness
- National Wildfire Community Preparedness Guide
- Be Prepared for a Hurricane
- Keep a Hurricane Preparedness Kit
- Suggested Hurricane Supply List
- Hurricane Preparedness and Response
- Earthquake Information
- Earthquake Preparedness Guide
- Flood Preparedness
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- The Red Cross
- Disaster Relief Agencies
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Disasters
- Disasters Supplies List
- Disaster Preparedness Guide
By: Steven Moore