19.Disaster Preparedness

How to Prepare for Disasters

Planning and preparation are key to dealing with any type of disaster. Being prepared can help reduce any anxiety that may occur during an unforeseen event as you’ll have the advantage of knowing what to do and where to go to help keep your family safe. FEMA states everyone should be self-sufficient for at least three days, which means you’ll need to have food, water, shelter, sanitation, and first aid readily available.

The American Red Cross (https://www.redcross.org) responds to an emergency event every 8 minutes across the country, including an average 60,000+ disaster responses annually, all in the name of meeting immediate needs of the citizens and communities during times of disaster.

The National Weather Service (http://weather.gov), as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), offers crucial information in regards to any impending hazardous weather conditions including excessive heat warnings and heat advisories, as well as for natural disasters.

Different Types of Disasters

Disasters can happen to anyone at any time. It’s important to know what hazards could potentially pose a risk to you and your family, and to have a plan in place to help ensure safety, and to mitigate any potential losses.

According to FEMA, these types of disasters could threaten your property or life:

  • Acts of terrorism
  • Earthquakes
  • Extreme heat
  • Fires 
  • Floods
  • Hurricanes
  • Landslides and debris flow (mudslide)
  • Technological hazards including hazardous material incidents, nuclear power plants, and household chemical emergencies
  • Thunderstorms and lightning
  • Tornadoes
  • Tsunamis
  • Volcanoes
  • Wildfires
  • Winter storms and extreme cold

How to Put Together a Disaster Prep Plan

Putting together a disaster prep plan for you and your family in case of an emergency is an easy task to accomplish when you follow FEMA’s Citizen Preparedness guide. They’ll walk you through everything from becoming informed to emergency planning and checklists, to assembling a disaster supplies kit, as well as practicing your escape route and maintaining your disaster prep plan.

FEMA’s Citizen Preparedness guide:

Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness

Appendix A: Water Conservation Tips

Appendix B: Disaster Supplies Checklists

Appendix C: Family Communications Plan

General tips: if an impending disaster is heading your way include:

  • Monitor reports on the local news
  • Fuel your vehicles
  • Take photographs of your property and home
  • Check your emergency supplies including bottled water, plus battery-operated flashlights and a radio
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