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Preparing For a Natural Disaster (Part 1/2): How to Survive Earthquakes, Hurricanes, & Other Catastrophes
Updated March 4, 2019
Lately, there have been many natural disasters around the world, and being prepared in case one hits is crucial. Having what you need in order to survive can make a major difference. From preparing water storage to gathering emergency food, a variety of steps must be taken to ensure absolute preparedness. To be prepared, you need to educate yourself and prepare a plan for disasters.
In this article we are going to address how to prepare for a disaster and what you need in order to be ready.
How to Prepare
The first step in getting ready for a disaster is to know how to prepare. Preparation starts with knowing what kind of disasters your area is prone to. There are a variety of natural disasters and each one must be approached differently when preparing. Here are some natural disasters your area may be predisposed to:
When you find out which natural disasters could affect your area, you can learn about them and the proper response to them. No matter what kind of disaster there are two things that you need: a plan and supplies.
Your plan should be thorough and should hit all of the key criteria that will help you survive a disaster. The first thing you need to address is how will you be alerted of a pending natural disaster. Making sure that your phone is subscribed to SMS alerts is a good start. Reading the news and knowing when storms are expected is also a necessary component.
There are two types of plans you will need to develop. One plan is a shelter in place plan, the other is an evacuation plan.
Shelter in Place
The shelter in place plan is to be used when you need to stay in your home or office. For example, when you go to the basement during a tornado, that is a shelter in place situation. These types of disasters require protection from an active disaster.
For your shelter in place plan you should know where you are going to shelter and how to prepare the shelter. You might need to board up windows or move items to a specific area.
Choosing appropriate places in your home for each type of disaster is important. That will enable you to get the maximum amount of protection.
An evacuation plan is for when a disaster has already happened and you need to leave your home. It can also be used before a disaster hits if you have the ability to get out of the area or need to get out of the area.
During a natural disaster that requires evacuation, you need to expect that other people are going to be evacuating too. That means having multiple routes and options. You and your family should know these routes and their destinations well.
During evacuation, the emergency supplies you bring can make the difference between life and death. When an evacuation is called you should make sure the supplies that we talk about below are brought with you. Even if you are going to a mass shelter, the supplies you bring can make a difference.
Your disaster plan needs to be rehearsed. It won’t be effective if it has never been tried out. Practice your evacuation routes and sheltering in place. Also, be familiar with each piece of survival/emergency equipment that you keep in your disaster bag(s).
Your Survival Bag(s)
Being prepared is more than just knowing what to do; you will also need to have the proper survival equipment. We are going to go through a small list of the items you should have ready for a natural disaster. Keep in mind that these items are the bare minimum required in order to make it through a disaster.
The Survival Bag
The first thing that you need in order to properly equip yourself is a bag to keep your stuff in. A large tote bag like our insulated grocery bag works perfectly for throwing smaller supplies in. Flash lights, first aid kits, and emergency food can be stored in this type of bag. The insulation within the bag helps to protect the items in the bag from abnormal temperatures and the elements. You will also want to get a large backpack to store all of your supplies.
One of the most important supplies that you can have is water. In many natural disasters drinking water will not be available.
According to FEMA, you should store at least one (1) gallon of water per person, per day, for a three (3) day period in a disaster. Our recommendation is to at least prepare for ten (10) to fourteen (14) days supply of water. For a family for four (4), you should prepare at least fifty-six (56) gallons of water for a fourteen (14) day period.
We always recommend to prepare for more, in the event rescue or help is delayed. Often times after a major disaster, water and electricity can be down for a long period of time. It's simply smarter to be safe by having more resources prepared. You never know how long help will get to you. Plus, if there are others that need help, you have the additional resources to assist.
If you have pets, don't forget to include their portion as well.
To help in a survival situation we have a collection of large water bottles to store water in.
These water bottles/water jugs are large enough to maximize the amount of water that you can store. You don’t want to take up a big footprint with your water storage though, so we also offer a 4 water bottle water storage rack.
For emergency food, it is important to have options that are designed to last so that they won’t go bad and you don’t need to swap out the food often. Can foods are often great choices. There are a wide selection of different can foods and they last for a long time.
You can also opt for MREs - also known as Meals Ready To Eats. They are specific survival food rations that, even though they don’t always taste great, have the nutrients you need to survive.
Don’t forget pet food and pet supplies!
Medications or Medical Equipment
Any medications that you or your family need should be included in your survival bag. Medical equipment should also be either added to the bags or you should have a plan for gathering all of the medical equipment that you need.
First Aid Kit
Gas Shutoff Tool
Gas lines may be compromised during many different types of natural disasters and being able to turn off the gas line is essential to keep your shelter safe. A gas shut off tool can be purchased for very little money in order to cut off the gas line. Gas shut off tools that are designed specifically for emergencies are small and often multi-featured.
Make sure to know where the shut off valve is for any gas lines that come into your house.
During natural disasters, NOAA radio bands and other radio networks will start to broadcast emergency information. This will help you know when a disaster is coming and what to do in order to prepare. After a disaster has hit you won’t have the ability to use your electronic devices if the power goes out. Emergency radios allow you to continue to get the information you need in order to survive.
Finding a disaster radio that has a hand crank and/or solar panel will allow you to continue to have power, even when your batteries start to run out. You can also find crank powered disaster radios that allow you to charge your electronic devices.
This light should be reliable, so look for a flashlight from a well-known brand. Two sets of extra batteries should also be kept in the bag for when your flashlight runs out of power; having 12 hour glow sticks as a backup can also be helpful.
Other Supplies You Can Use & Should Have
Natural disasters come out of the blue and being prepared to survive them is essential. Going out to get water bottles the day before could leave you without the supplies you need. Take this brief guide and prepare yourself to survive any natural disaster.
Additional Disaster Prep Info
CHeck Out Part II - How to Survive a zombie Outbreak
Disaster Go Bag - How to Prepare your Go Bag
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