Preparing for Common Natural Disasters

Preparing for Common Natural Disasters

These rankings are based on statistics from the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), an organization headed by the United Nations secretary for humanitarian affairs. The data covers the years from 1970-2005. It is important to consider which disaster is most likely in your area, as these are global rankings. Remember that each type of disaster may benefit from different preparation. Also remember that for all disasters it is important to have a supply kit and survival food.

Flood (30.7 percent)

Floods cause an average $5 billion in losses and about 3800 towns are on floodplains in the USA alone. You are more likely to experience flooding in a costal state or near a river. Sump pumps are the best defence against minor flooding and chronically wet basements. If a river is rising nearby or a coastal storm surge is imminent, move your valuables to a high floor, then disconnect electrical appliances and turn off electric circuits. Stay clear of water that is in contact with downed power lines. Then evacuate quickly taking your bug out bag with you. Never drive through moving water; it can be a deathtrap. Almost 50 percent of flood fatalities are car-related. If you live in a flood zone, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that you’ve got a one-in-two chance of experiencing a flood in your lifetime.

Windstorm – includes hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones etc. (26.8 percent)

Make trees near you more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile. Harden your home, from roof clips and window shutters at the more inexpensive end to reinforcements for doors and walls at the high end. If you want the best protection, get an in-home safe room or underground shelter or bunker. During the storm, draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home. Be prepared for power outage that often results, prepare things like torches and so on, you really need a survival kit to be prepared. Do not use candles during a storm there is an extreme risk of fire from them.

Epidemic / Pandemic (11.2 percent)

Watch local news, it will ensure not only that you are staying up to date on the latest information, but that you know exactly how the pandemic is impacting your region. Wash your hands frequently using soap, and carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid contact with sick people, indeed people in general if you can, telecommute to work or school if possible. Wear a protective face mask, this can help keep germs from entering through your nose or mouth. Minimize your chance of catching it by staying indoors; you might even be required to stay home if the government asks that people remain in quarantine or “shelter in place.” Due to the fact you may need to stay indoors for a pro-longed period of time, it is important to prepare non-perishable food, water and emergency and medical supplies.

Earthquake (8.9 percent)

Earthquakes happen mainly near the edges of tectonic plates, but they can happen just about anywhere, a major earthquake is a very destructive natural disaster and they cannot be predicted. However, scientists now believe that California is long overdue for a massive earthquake along the San Andreas fault, with a magnitude of up to 8.0. Learn how to make your home sturdier, to prepare for an earthquake, examples include, bolting bookcases to wall studs, installing strong latches on cupboards, and strapping the water heater to wall studs. Think “Fix, fasten, forget.” Locate a place in each room of the house that you can go to in case of an earthquake. It should be a spot where nothing is likely to fall on you. Once the shaking begins drop down, take cover. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit. Stay away from bookcases or furniture that can fall on you. If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground. If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place. Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

Drought (7.8 percent)

Drought conditions are defined as 75 percent or less average yearly rainfall. When this happens it causes crops to fail and livestock to suffer. Make or purchase rain barrels and cisterns. Divert water to create an irrigation system. Use this system to collect and redirect water for people, plants and livestock. Dig a well or tap into ground water as a new source of water. Conserve water in your household. Stock up on water before the drought comes. Regardless of the disaster it is a good idea to prepare a stock of water.

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