An emergency can strike at any time and happen with little to no warning at all. History has proven this to be true time and time again yet too many people still fail to prepare for disaster scenarios.
Normalcy bias tells people that “it hasn’t happened here before, so it’ll never happen.” This type of thinking is disastrous and is exactly what gets people killed.
The truth is, you should be prepared for anything that may come your way.
Preparing for Specific Natural Disasters
Natural disasters are extreme, sudden events that are caused by environmental factors that injure people and damage property. Earthquakes and flooding are two examples of natural disasters that can strike anywhere in the world no matter of location.
Below we are going to look at some of the most common natural disasters along with some simple tips that you can take to be better prepared.
It isn’t just coastal regions that may experience flooding, they can happen inland too from heavy rainfall or faulty dams and the consequences can be devastating.
1. Get to higher ground: in most cases you should never try to leave your property. Instead, get to higher ground. Only leave if ordered to evacuate.
2. Have a water filter handy: there may be plenty of water around but it isn’t safe to drink so always have a good water filter handy. We recommend the Sawyer Mini which can filter 100,000 gallons of water.
3. Keep a Flashlight: when flooding occurs the power will often go out first so you need a good flashlight. For obvious reasons this should be waterproof and we would recommend going for a crank flashlight so you don’t need to worry about batteries.
4. Keep your radio on: always keep your radio tuned in to stay up-to-date with the latest information on the flooding and any guidance that they give. If instructed to leave your property then do so as soon as possible.
5. Avoid moving water: if you fall over in 15cm (6 inches) of water moving at only 6mph you are unlikely to be able to stand up again.
6. Stock up on glow sticks: you can’t know how deep floodwater is by sight alone. A great way to test the depths of water is to crack a glow stick and drop it in the water.
Read more on preparing for floods:
Droughts are an extended period of unusually dry weather. The lack of precipitation can cause a variety of problems such as damage to crops and a shortage of drinking water. These effects can lead to famine, forced migration away from drought-stricken areas, and conflict over remaining resources. Since 1900, more than 11 million people have died and more than 2 billion people have been affected by drought.
7. Water filter: you need to take advantage of every little bit of water that you possibly can but you also need to make sure that it is safe to drink.
8. Breathe easy: with drought can also come dust storms which can be a dangerous byproduct. You need to protect your lungs with a good breathing mask.
9. Protect your eyes: relentless heat and dry winds can play havoc on the eyes which is why a good pair of goggles is essential.
10. Have a shovel ready: sometimes your only option for water may be to dig for it.
11. Mylar blanket: these can also be used to reflect heat away from the body.
12. Don’t waste water: Never pour water down the drain if it can be used for other things like watering the garden.
There have been many devastating earthquakes throughout history that has caused massive damage to property and many lives have been lost.
13. Stop, drop, hold on: drop down and get underneath a strong piece of furniture such as a solid table.
14. If outside: if your outdoors when the ground starts shaking, get to an open space away from any buildings as fast as you can.
15. If driving: if you are in your car, safely pull over and stop away from buildings and stay put in your vehicle.
16. Don’t stand under the door frame: It used to be widely believed that you should stand under a door frame during an earthquake but unless you live in an old house, your door frames won’t be stronger than other parts of the house.
17. Check for injuries: once the drama is over, check everyone for injuries and use first aid where needed.
18. Check for fires: and if you have the means, extinguish or evacuate.
Read more on preparing for earthquakes:
19. Head underground: the safest place to be during a tornado is underground. Get there as soon as the warnings are given.
20. Head for an internal room: if you can’t get underground, head for an inner room without windows such as a walk-in closet.
21. If forced to evacuate: if you have evacuated your home, do not return until it is deemed safe to do so by local officials.
22. If driving: if you are in a vehicle, get out immediately and find suitable shelter; never try to outrun a tornado!
23. Do not head for an overpass: do not get under an overpass or bridge unless it is your only alternative.
24. If outside: if an indoor shelter is not possible, then lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
Excessive water is one of the most common triggers for landslides and the most destructive ones happen suddenly after a triggering event such as heavy rainfall or an earthquake.
25. Have a plan: you must have an emergency evacuation plan in place for you and your family as well as an emergency kit that can help you and your family survive for a minimum of 72 hours.
26. Look for signs: you must pay attention to any warning signs of an approaching landslide, such as flowing mud or a rapid increase or decrease in the water level on a stream or creek.
27. Be ready to evacuate: if it has been advised that you evacuate the area, do so immediately.
28. If you get trapped: if you get trapped by the mud, as soon as it stops moving, try to get your head free or create an air pocket around yourself so that you can breathe.
Read more on preparing for landslides:
29. Stay indoors: the best way to stay safe in a snowstorm is to stay inside where possible. Long periods of exposure to severe cold increases the risk of frostbite or hypothermia.
30. If you must go outside: if you and your children do go outside to play after a snowstorm, dress in many layers and wear a hat and mittens. Many layers of thin clothing are warmer than single layers of thick clothing.
31. Insulate your property: make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out, allowing the inside temperature to stay warmer longer.
32. Eat regularly: food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
33. Stay dry: change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.
34. Walk with caution: slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injury.
35. Tell someone where you’re going: let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
Read more on preparing for snowstorms:
36. Head inland: immediately Head inland and as far away from the coast as possible.
37. Understand the signs: such as an earthquake, a loud roar from the ocean, or unusual ocean behavior, such as a sudden rise or wall of water or sudden draining of water showing the ocean floor.
38. Have a communications plan: this should include an out-of-town contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.
39. If in the water: grab onto something, anything that floats, such as a raft, tree trunk, or door.
40. Never walk through the floodwaters: the water can contain dangerous debris and may be deeper than it appears.
41. Be aware of electrocution: underground or downed power lines can electrically charge water. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water.
These don’t happen all too often but they DO happen. Luckily they are easy to predict nowadays which gives you plenty of time to react.
42. Have supplies ready: if you have to evacuate you don’t want to be hanging around. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets.
43. Don’t head downwind: steer clear of areas downwind and downstream of the volcano. Rubble and ash will be carried by wind and gravity.
44. Seal all doors and windows: evacuation is a better option but if you have no choice, seal any openings into your home for extra protection.
45. If outside: protect yourself from falling ash that can irritate skin and injure breathing passages, eyes, and open wounds. Use a well-fitting, certified facemask such as an N95.
46. Listen in: keep your radio tuned in and listen for any orders given by the authorities. Do not leave your home unless told that it is safe to do so.
47. Have working smoke detectors: these will act as an early warning system. Just as important as having them fitted is making sure to test them regularly to ensure that they are in full working order.
48. Fire extinguishers: you should have fire extinguishers at the ready around the home and checked regularly.
49. Bucket, shovel, hose: you can dig a trench to protect your home against encroaching ground fire, and a connected garden hose to help you defend the area around your home.
50. Stay calm: this is easier said than done but the more worked up and panicked you become, the heavier your breathing. You don’t want to be breathing in too much smoke.
51. Head for low ground: if the flames are upon you, seek low ground such as a ditch.
52. Emergency fire shelter: these are not cheap but if you live in an area prone to wildfires an emergency fire shelter may be a worthwhile investment.
Read more on preparing for wildfires: