Turbulent weather caused by a natural disaster can be a devastating experience. The unpredictability of weather patterns means preventive measures are essential to protect you and your family from injuries or worse. Fortunately there are great resources available that will prepare you for any type of dangerous weather. Here are tools to help you prepare if a natural disaster lands in your backyard:
General tips to follow prior to and during a natural disaster event:
- Prior to the weather event occurring, have a discussion with your family on the household emergency plan. Arrange for a contact person outside of your region that would be able to accommodate your family. Discuss an escape plan that includes where the family should meet if people get separated. Practice safety drills and know where local emergency shelters are in your city.
- Learn basic safety and emergency aid skills and keep your home equipped with a first aid kit. Local American Red Cross agencies will sponsor classes if you want to receive specialized training.
- Stock supplies like water, canned goods and other non-perishable items (don’t forget the can opener). Know where your flashlight, batteries and portable cell phone chargers are located.
Plan for specific disasters
Flooding is the most common natural weather event in the United States. Consult the FEMA flood map to determine if your property is susceptible to flooding. To protect yourself, raise all of your electrical components to reduce the risk of shock or electrical fire. Waterproof your basement if you live in a flood zone. For your physical safety, go to higher ground if water is accumulating to dangerous levels. Under no circumstance, try to walk over a stream or drive over flooded roadways. If water rises before you are able to escape your home, try going to the attic or even roof. Wash your hands if you’ve come in contact with any floodwater.
According to FEMA, nearly every region is at risk for a tornado. If a tornado is impending, go to the basement or an inside no-window room to shield yourself from flying objects. Injuries are usually a result of debris flying in the air, so you want to minimize points of entry. For extra protection, cover yourself with something sturdy as if you are taking cover, like a mattress or heavy table. If you live in a mobile home, make every effort to leave and seek other shelter.
If you are in area subject to monsoons, under no circumstances, stand near a pole or tree. It is best to stay in your home or if you are on the road, remain in your vehicle. Prepare your vehicle for a disaster by doing things like adding all-terrain tires from Kuhmo, purchasing a high quality battery and keeping an emergency bag in your car with water and other supplies. For extra protection, avoid large wide areas and do not huddle close together with people.
When the shaking starts to happen during an earthquake, stay where you are. Avoid doorways and cover yourself with your hands and arms to prevent being hurt from fallen debris. Avoid all windows and grab any sturdy covering so you are able to move with it while the shaking continues. If you are in your vehicle when the earthquake hits, stop as soon as possible and remain in your vehicle. Avoid electrical wires and buildings if outside.
Hurricanes are slow moving weather events so people often have ample time to prepare. If officials ask you to evacuate because your home is in the pathway of the hurricane, it is prudent for your safety to listen to this advice. For those who make the decision to stay, use plywood to cover all windows and seek a room that will be safe from all flying debris. Anchor all items down and trim trees so they won’t land on your home.
Use common sense and don’t be caught off guard when a natural disaster hits. Prepare yourself to save your loved ones as well as your property.
Rudri Patel is a former lawyer turned writer and editor, wife, mother and observer. She has written for Brain, Child; Huffington Post; First Day Press; and Mamalode. She is seeking grace in the ordinary.