Surviving A Natural Disaster

Confidence in a crisis comes from having a practical plan in place. It is important to keep in mind that while we can not often prevent natural disasters, from happening, we can be best prepared for when they do.

The following are ways you can promote your own preparedness and help keep your family safe in a crisis:

1. Have A Positive Attitude. Your survival will often be the result of your own personal outlook. Doing your your best to be proactive and maintaining a positive mindset, rather than embracing a victim mentality and simply waiting to be rescued is often the biggest difference between those who survive a natural disaster, and those who do not.

2. Put A Plan In Place. Every family should have their own Emergency Readiness Plan. Your family may not be together when the disaster strikes, so it is important to plan ahead for how your loved ones will contact one another. Include in this plan known locations where your family can go to reunify. It is important these plans be communicated and discussed at regular intervals, as circumstances and scenarios may change throughout the year. http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

3. Keep Emergency Rations On-Hand. Food and water may become difficult to acquire depending on the severity and duration of the disaster. Safeguard yourself from future stress and stock-up on reserves. Bottled water and shelf-stable food will keep your family properly nourished while handling the disaster at hand and will remove one additional factor of stress from the equation.

4. Go-Bags Should Be Packed And Ready At All Times. A “go-bag” is a pre-packed and easily carried bag you take with you as you are running out the door in an emergency. The premise is such that your go-bag is always packed, ready, and waiting with the essentials you will need to survive for two nights and three days in the outdoor terrain of your current location and climate. Your go-bag should contain the necessities needed to survive, but should also afford you the ability to remain mobile. Backpacks are ideal. Keep in mind that your packing list may change throughout the year dependent upon the season, your physical location, medical requirements, and physical capability.

Everyone who is physically able to carry a go-bag should have one tailored to their own specific needs. Your own individual packing list may vary based on personal preference and necessity, but these contents serve as an excellent tutorial on what constitutes “essentials.” If you only do one thing to prepare beyond your in-home food and water storage, a "Go Bag" is what you need. Everyone should have one. Build or buy one today. Many pre-customized options are available on-line.

5. Know Where To Go, Know How To Get There. Safe Havens should be identified as early and as often as possible. This means knowing where to go if you can’t get home, as well as where you can safely go if your home is no longer an option. 

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6. Decide Today What’s Most Important. Have a discussion with your family today about what is most important to save should you have to leave your home. List them in order of priority in case time to prepare runs out. Important documents, photographs, and family heirlooms, should be considered, but remember that nothing is more important than the lives of your family. If possible, make copies of the photos and documents most important to you. Print them out or save them to a thumb drive and add them to your go-bag packing list. Consider having this discussion with your family today. When moments matter most, you’ll be glad you did.

7. Prepare For Power Outages. Today, all of our communication devices require a charge and your mobile devices will be critical to helping you negotiate your way to a better day. While a few commercial venues with back-up generators may be able to facilitate the needs of the few, they most certainly will not be able to cater to the needs of the many. So skip the Starbucks cell-phone charging line and invest in a solar-charging unit or generator. Goal Zero has a great selection available for every budget.

8. Understand The Importance Of Ice. Keep some extra bags of ice in the freezer. King-sized cubes will last longer than the ice-maker variety. The right amount of Ice can help keep your refrigerator and freezer functional after the power goes out. Ice also has first-aid application in the treatment of blister burn, splinter removal, oral numbness to treat tooth pain, and soft tissue injury to name a few. Ice will also help keep essential medicine like insulin properly refrigerated. If a natural disaster is imminent, try to make as much ice as possible before the power goes out.

9. Know The “Safe-Spots” In Your Home. These are the spaces in your home that offer your the most protection. Stairwells or spaces under large beams provide “survival voids” that rescue workers check first.

10. Maximize Insurance And Fortify Your Home. This will of course requires the most foresight and preparation, and will not aid you when the warning whistles blow, but looking out for things like dead-trees which may blow over in strong winds, or readily upgrading your homes doors, windows, and roof will provide significant vulnerability reduction in the face of a natural disaster.

Awareness + Preparation = Safety