Disasters, whether natural or manmade, can strike at any time. Some of the most common forms of disasters include tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, snowstorms, chemical spills, earthquakes, and sadly in some cases, terrorist attacks. All of these types of disasters can cause a loss of property and life, which can result in serous tragedy that takes many years to recover from. While most disasters can be extremely threatening to our safety and security, there are some things that can be done to help prevent or at least limit risk to life, property, and health. The first rule of thumb in any kind of disaster is to remain calm. By having a plan already put in place, you can be better prepared to deal with a catastrophic event.
When disasters strike, being prepared can often mean the difference between life and death. For parents, it is especially important to discuss emergency preparations with your children so that everyone will know what to do. Stick together and stay with your plan. Make sure all medications are constantly filled, and be sure all insurance policies are up to date. This includes health, automobile, and home insurance. If you own a home, be sure you are covered for flood insurance if you live in a flood zone. Being properly prepared will allow you to have the resources needed in order to weather the storm. It will also ensure that you stay safe and protected.
Everyone should have a “disaster kit” prepared, so they will have necessities in case of a serious event. This kit should contain at least 72-hours’ worth of food, water, and medications. Store bottled water and canned foods that are non-perishable. Include flashlights, lanterns, and batteries. Candles are not recommended since they pose a risk for fire. Do not forget important paperwork such as birth certificates, passports, wills, or other documents. Be sure to seal them in a fireproof or waterproof container in case you need to evacuate, and make sure these documents go with you if possible. Think about pets, and provide some emergency food and water for them as well. Trail mix, peanut butter, and canned fruits and vegetables are good foods to have in the event of a disaster. Be aware of escape routes so you can evacuate as soon as possible if need be.
Certain areas of the United States may be prone to different types of disasters more than others. On the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic states, hurricanes are a common occurrence. People living in California may be more apt to earthquakes or wild fires. New England and Mid-Westerners often must deal with extremely cold temperatures and snow or blizzards during the winter months. Every state or area of the country has its own particular risk level of certain disasters. Refer to the resources below in order to find out more about your particular state of residence.
For additional information about disaster preparation, please refer to the following sites:
- Maps – Includes hurricane, flood, and other disaster maps for various parts of the U.S.
- Preparation and Recovery – Resources and tips
- Help for Small Businesses – Disaster help for small businesses and owners
- Government Resources – Large resource of government-related disaster divisions
- Animals and Disaster – A few guides for dealing with animals in a disaster situation
- NCDP – National organization dedicated to disaster preparedness
- Health-Related Disaster – Information on disease, outbreak, and biochemical disasters
- Unemployment Assistance – Where to turn if you lose pay because of a disaster