How to Prepare for Natural Disasters
Natural disasters can occur at any time. With some disasters we are given advance warnings whilst with others, there is little to no warning giving little time to react. You can’t wait for a disaster before you start to prepare as the time has already gone, the time to prepare is now. You must have a plan in place before the disaster strikes.
Millions of people are affected every year due to natural disasters which can result in the destruction of buildings to the spread of disease, and everything in between. Entire countries can be devastated in the space of a single night.
Taking the appropriate steps now to prepare for a disaster can help you to rebuild your life faster and get back to normal.
Plan For What is Likely
Everybody, no matter where in the world should understand how to prepare for a natural disaster. Each area has different disasters that are more likely to occur. The first step in preparing for natural disasters is to identify the types of disasters that you are exposed to and their likelihood. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What natural disasters are likely in your area?
- How often are they likely to occur?
- What would be affected, would your house be destroyed?
- How will you recover?
Once you have identified the disasters you are exposed to, it’s important to review your insurance policies and confirm your cover against various events. If you don’t have insurance, consider the types of policies you may require and the risks you need them to cover.
Making Your Plan
It’s always a good idea to take measures to reduce your risks, protect your home and keep your family safe during a natural disaster. Destructive weather can often make people feel helpless.
There are some simple steps you can take to keep you and your family safe and lower the risk of your home and other assets being damaged. In many instances, preparing against one threat can protect you from others as well.
- Know the hazards that are present in your area.
- Review your insurance policies and confirm you have adequate cover against each type of disaster you are vulnerable to.
- Take a household inventory and store copies in a safe location or online. Cataloging your belongings with a home inventory might sound tedious, but how easy would it be for you to recall all the contents of your home if you lost everything? Taking a home inventory can help you determine if you have enough insurance and can save you time and headaches when filing a claim following a disaster
- Prepare a disaster plan. Your plan should start with having somewhere safe to go. Think of someone who could house you and your family and talk to them about what might happen in the event of a disaster. Then talk to everyone who lives in your home about what to do if there’s an emergency and you are unable to return
- Have a communications plan. Consider that your family may not be together if a disaster strikes. How you will get to a safe place? How will you contact one another? How will you get back together? You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance
- Have an evacuation plan. In some cases when you need to evacuate, there may not be a lot of time. Plan how to evacuate your home quickly and make sure everyone knows the evacuation plan. Make sure everyone has a list of emergency contact numbers they can phone
- Practice the steps that are needed to disconnect your home’s gas, water and electricity and make sure you understand these. If you are able to, learn basic first-aid procedures, which will allow you to assist others during a natural disaster
- Before any disaster, you should inspect your home and eliminate any potential hazards. In an emergency, ordinary items in your home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard
- Community connections are important. Make sure you know your neighbours. Swap phone numbers and keep an eye on elderly or disabled neighbours, or people with children – they might need extra help during a natural disaster
- Make sure to regularly check safety devices in your home, such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers
- Speak to your local authorities and emergency services and learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters. Local emergency services will also be able to advise you on the most common types of disaster that affect your area.