How to Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

How to Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

1 - Fill out an emergency plan. Create an emergency plan for your family in case of a natural disaster. Include household information, out-of-town contacts, and school, workplace, and childcare contact information and emergency contingencies. Add your evacuation routes and shelter plans as well. Several websites have templates for emergency plans, like https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.

2 – Discuss how to prepare and respond to most likely disasters. Consider scenarios for the events that are most likely to happen in your area. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to react to different disasters, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, winter storms, and power outages. Pinpoint the safest spots in your home for each type of disaster.

  • For example, make an emergency plan for a flood if you live near a waterway, or an emergency plan for a winter storm if you live in a cold climate.

  • The highest level in your home is the safest place during a flood, while the lowest level is safest during a tornado, for instance.

3 - Identify 3 ways to get warnings. Sirens are generally insufficient warnings for natural disasters. However, in case of a power outage, you cannot rely solely on your television or landline phone for warnings, either. Sign up to receive emergency alerts from your local government by text message or email. You should also have a battery-operated AM/FM radio (and extra batteries) on hand as well.

4 – Determine the best evacuation routes. Identify all the entries and exits in your home and plan how you will evacuate your home (by car or by foot, for instance). Determine where you will go in the event that you cannot remain in your home or even in your region. Then, map out several routes for getting out of your city and state or region. Be sure to brief all your family members about evacuation strategies and exit plans.

  • It’s important to have multiple options in case roadways are damaged during a disaster.

5 – Decide how family members will communicate. Come up with a communication plan in case you are separated in the event of a disaster. You may want to provide each member of the family with a prepaid cell phone and charger, for instance. Make a contact card for each member of the family so they have all the phone numbers and addresses they may need.

  • Text messages are more reliable than phone calls during emergencies. Make sure children know how to operate a cell phone and send a text message.

6 - Choose multiple meeting spots. In case all of your family members aren’t able to reach a designated meeting place, you should have several contingencies. Choose one location in your neighborhood or close to your home as well as one that is located out of town. Plan to meet at the closest location in the event of an emergency, and keep the out-of-town location as a backup in case a disaster prevents you from meeting at the primary location.

7 - Run practice drills. It’s important to practice what to do in case of a natural disaster, especially if you have children. Each year, you should do a practice drill for each type of disaster that could occur.

  • For example, conduct a home fire drill if you live in an area prone to drought and wildfire.

It is vitally important to go over your list every year for added safety, please go over it before each season to make sure you are properly educated on things that may have changed in your life as well as revisit the Emergency kits to swap out old food and batteries or to add new items you may want to include.

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