How to Prepare for Natural Disasters

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There have been a lot of natural disasters around the world lately. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornados have threatened several countries, displaced many people from their homes, and have even resulted in death in some cases. While in some cases, people are notified of the disaster before it happens, some don’t have that luxury and they are not allowed to prepare for it. Whether you get notification of a hurricane coming your way, like how the East Coast was told about Irene, or if you’re in an area that can receive an earthquake at any moment, you can still prepare:

  1. Get the right insurance: If you’re in an area that is likely to experience some damage from mother nature, like flooding or earthquakes, find the right insurance for your home. Insurance will help cover things that are damages in the disaster, and you can be compensated to replace items, including your home.
  2. Make copies of important documents: There are so many instances where people have lost things like birth certificates, marriage certificates, social security cards, passports, and pictures in a natural disaster. Prepare for the inevitable by making copies of these documents in case they’re destroyed, keeping them in a safe deposit box at the bank, or making sure they’re in a plastic bag to protect them from flooding.
  3. Have a plan: I grew up in California, so it was mandatory at school that we have earthquake drills, since we live in an earthquake prone area. Schools will take care of emergency evacuation plans there, but have a plan for your home. Go over it every few months and make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go. Have a list of emergency contact numbers and invest in a first aid kit.
  4. Stock up on non-perishables: Many natural disasters knock out utilities like power and water for days or even weeks! If you’re stuck in your home, you’ll want to make sure you have food and water for your family. Buy some non-perishables, things that will not spoil in the fridge, like canned goods and bottled water, in the event that these are things you have to live off of for a while.
  5. Have a stash of cash: When a natural disaster happens, more than likely, ATM machines won’t work and banks will be closed. You’ll want to have some emergency cash with you in case you need to pay for things like transportation, relocation expenses, or any other emergency equipment.
  6. Take photo and video of your home: If you’re lucky enough to get a notice of a natural disaster coming your way, take this time to take photos and videos of your home. This will provide proof to the insurance companies that you owned items that you’re claiming you lost.
  7. Stock up on extra batteries: If your electricity is out, obviously you can’t charge things like your phones and your laptops. Buy some extra batteries and keep them charged in case of emergency. Learn to use these devices in the most battery efficient modes, so you will have a way to communicate with others. Phone lines are usually jammed when a disaster happens, so text messaging and e-mail will be huge.
  8. Protect your home if you’re evacuating: If you’ve been issued a mandatory evacuation notice, follow the directions! It’s for your safety! Duct tape your windows from the inside in an X formation, or board them up with plywood from the outside. Unplug your electronics to prevent a fire. If you live in a multi-story home, move all of your belongings to the top floor in case of flooding.
Some loss is going to be inevitable when a natural disaster occurs, but you can do a few things to prevent extreme damage. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

2 Responses to How to Prepare for Natural Disasters

  1. Copies of your prescriptions and a fresh refill!
    Radios and flashlights with hand cranked generators are available and not very expensive.
    Consider getting an Amateur Radio license and an inexpensive ($100) handheld transceiver. Cell towers only have about 8 hours of battery power, and are usually overloaded in emergencies. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service is usually on the air and standing by even before the storm hits.

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