Disasters come in many forms, but they can be classified as natural or manmade. Natural disasters are generally weather related whereas manmade disasters could be either accidental or a form of terrorism. In any event you must be prepared. Never have the attitude that someone is going to come and save you.
Surviving a disaster falls on each persons shoulders. Granted there will be some that will require saving. The elderly, the sick or wounded and the young. Everyone should be prepared. First and foremost if told to evacuate, get out. Do not hesitate. Grab your emergency kit and go.
These are generally weather related. Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, winter storms, earthquakes and volcanoes fall into this category
First rule is evacuate. If you are trapped in a natural disaster and cannot evacuate you will need to rely on yourself. Common sense is the key.
In a flood move to high ground. Place sandbags around your house. If you need to move to the top floor of your house or even up in the attic. Beware of your surroundings. If you move into the attic make sure you have an escape route. A window or vent that you can go through to get outside if water traps you.
Thunderstorm / Lightning / Tornadoes / Hurricanes
In a severe thunderstorm wind, lightning, hail and tornadoes are all possible. Close blinds and curtains to prevent broken windows from coming into the building. Stay off landline telephone since the phone lines could conduct electricity if struck by lightning. Stay out of the tub or shower. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. If the treat of a tornado is eminent or hurricane force winds head for the basement. No basement, then head for a room in the center of the house. A room without windows would be best.
If you have time to get 1/2-inch plywood to cover your exterior windows prior to a hurricane that my help. If you have that kind of time it would probably be best to use that time to evacuate. Houses can be rebuilt.
Severe winter storms consisting of heavy snow or freezing rain or freezing fog and play havoc with utility services like electricity. Even if you have gas furnace it take electricity to run the unit and its fan. If you have a fireplace it will provide some warmth. If the power is expected to be out for an extended period of time, stock your hearth with firewood close off the room as best you can. Close blinds and curtains. Close doors so that the heat remains in the room. If your room is open or does not have doors cover the openings with sheets or extra blankets to help keep the heat from escaping.
Earthquakes / Volcanoes
For either of these events there could be little to no warning. However, no particular room will be more safe than another. In an earthquake stay away from windows, bookcases or any furniture that can fall on you. Seeking shelter under a sturdy table will provide some protection from falling objects. In an eruption. if you are in the flow of lava you must evacuate. Lave will consume everything in its path. In the absence of lava close all doors, window flues and vents to keep the ash out.
As stated earlier preparedness is the key. When disaster is looming on the horizon whether you evacuation or not it is necessary to be prepared. So what do you need?
If evacuation is not an option there are some supplies that will help:
- Three days of non-perishable food for each person in the household
- For canned food a can opener is essential
- To heat canned food or water for freeze-dried food a stove is required. A gas grill is another choice to heat and cook meals.
- One gallons of water per person per day
- Store water five gallon buckets
- Medication and vitamins
- Copies of prescriptions
- Flashlight and portable radio
- Extra batteries and an extra bulb would be prudent, The radio should be able to tune in the NOAA weather band. A hand crank radio-flashlight combo is a good choice.
- Matches or fire starter
- Keep the matches in a waterproof container or ziplocked bag. A metal strike fire starter is a viable option.
- Water key and gas wrench
- These items are essential especially in a earthquake disaster when water supply and gas pipes have been damaged.
- First aid kit
- A home made or store bought kit is essential. One that is large enough to provide care for you entire family.
- Water purification method
- Water purification system such as a hand pump filter is ideal, Purification pills will do the job as well as a little bleach. Pour water through a coffee filter to remove large impurities prior to purifying.
- Infant and pet items
- Copies of IDs
- Cash is better than credit or debit cards. In a major disasters when electricity is disrupted or internet conductivity is non existent, credit cards are not worth the plastic they are made of.