It seems like every day, some new and depressing natural disaster is featured on the news. They’re often in faraway places, but what about when they do hit close to home? Will you be ready? No one wants to think about the possibility of experiencing a natural disaster, but preparedness is half the battle. By utilizing these simple tips, you’ll be ready should the unthinkable occur.
To start, figure out what hazards you may face. The dangers in one state are not going to be the same as another. Call your local emergency manager or the American Red Cross and ask what risks are highest in your area. Also, account for non-area specific hazards like materials spills, plane crashes, etc.
Once you have determined your risks, identify at least three ways to warn yourself of impending disasters. Your first line of defense is sirens. Many cities and towns have sirens to warn of impending issues. However, if you live in a small town, you may have a volunteer civil defense group that also utilizes a siren system, and it may become confusing. This leads us to warning alert number two: Subscribe to your local government’s automatic alerts, if available. Many municipalities offer free phone, e-mail and/or text messages to alert citizens of situations of concern. Since electric, telephone and cable lines are often the first things to go, purchase a battery powered or crank-operated emergency radio and extra batteries.
Next, pack a bag that you can easily access to be prepared for disasters in all types of weather. Pack long- and short-sleeve tees, shorts, jeans, walking shoes, socks, blankets, flashlights, non-perishable food items, a hand-crank radio, water, sleeping bag and tent. And of course, make sure you pack enough of these items for every member of your family – including your pets. It is also smart to pack a backup to keep in your car in case a disaster occurs while you are on the road. You can also make a list of the things you would want to take with you in case of an evacuation – medications, family photos, heirlooms, documents, things that are irreplaceable. Your home stash should have enough to last five to seven days while your car should have enough items for approximately two to three days.
Finally, there are apps that make communications easier. The free BuddyGuard app from MPOWER lets you log in so loved ones will know you are safe and vice versa. It technically won’t save you, but it can calm your nerves. According to Computer World, “By clicking on the big button on the app, your camera will start taking pictures every ten seconds. All sounds are recorded constantly, and your GPS location is captured every three seconds. All this data is uploaded every 30 seconds to the cloud, and a link to that data is broadcast to your list of emergency contacts.”
So, now you are ready to keep you and your family safe in case of a natural disaster. Simple preventative steps really can make all the difference in the world when dealing with a crisis. But here’s hoping you never have to use these tips!