Natural disasters appear in all parts of the world, and no matter where you live, chances are that you will encounter several of them throughout your lifetime. Depending on where you live, they may happen, or at least threaten your home much more frequently. It’s easy to see why it is important to be prepared for them.
The first thing you need to know is what type of emergencies and disasters you can expect in your area. We can all be affected by fire and winter storms that shut down roads and power are likely across the country as well. From there it depends on where you live. Where we live, the worst I’ve seen is a couple feet of snow and flooding (separately). Your town may be prone to flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoon, earth quakes and the likes. Do your homework, watch the news, talk to your neighbors and figure out what natural disasters you should prepare for. A great source for information is your local government, particularly emergency services. Many will not only be able to make you aware of any dangers, but also have brochures, plans, and other resources that will help you prepare for any eventuality.
Once you know what natural disasters you can expect where you live, it’s time to learn how to best respond to them. Will you likely wait things out in your home, or will you be required to evacuate? Are there emergency shelters or evacuation routes you should be aware of? I know it’s man-made, but while you’re at it, it may be a good idea to try to find out if there are fallout shelters nearby and their capacity (check out the news about Russia, folks!).
Once you have the basics down, figure out a plan for securing your home, yard, and vehicles depending on the disaster. What can you do to make sure your property has the best possible chance to come out of the disaster undamaged? If you’re in an area prone to flooding, having sand bags on hand can be invaluable. Again, what you need will greatly depend on where you live and what natural disaster you can expect.
Having a good emergency kit that includes food, water, medication, first aid kit, flash light, radio, and a few tools is a good idea. Every household should have a kit that’s kept in good order and is easy to reach in an emergency. Our local EMS recommended a large plastic tote to hold the emergency kit during a talk they gave. I bought one that was similar in size to what they had; mine is a 27-gallon “professional box” that has places you can put a padlock through.
Make sure you are aware of the potential threats as early as possible so you can prepare. Set up alerts on your phone (ping4alerts for iPhone here), sign up for local emergency preparedness emails (check with your local EMS or fire department), and keep an eye on the news and social media if you think there is a potential for a disaster. The earlier you know the better you can react and prepare. Listen to local authorities and don’t hesitate to evacuate should the need arise. Things can be replaced, people can’t.