You may never have experienced a large-scale emergency or natural disaster, but that doesn‘t mean you never will. If you haven’t, count yourself fortunate. And even if you have, there is always a chance it could happen again.
Sometimes we think the worst can never happen to us or our family, neighborhood, or state–until it does. Disasters are life-altering experiences. Our way of life and sense of self are damaged right along with home and property. Even with careful planning, it seems we’re still not prepared. And when it does, if it does, would you be ready? Would your spirit be ready for the aftermath?
Here are ways to prepare for most natural disasters, both physically and spiritually:
Safety Plan/Safety Kit.
Have a safety plan in the event you have to get out of your house. Which doors and windows would you use? What to take with you? Have bottled water and ready-to-eat food stored away in a backpack or box for quick access. In your safety kit include batteries, radio, first-aid kit and book, flashlight, medicine, toiletries, handkerchiefs to cover nose and mouth, copies of important documents, and necessary phone numbers. Other items to consider are a sleeping bag and extra changes of clothes.
Most weather services issue evacuation ahead of time, giving at-risk persons time to leave their homes.
If you can evacuate, evacuate, and do it as soon as possible. Know the evacuation routes and emergency shelters. Call ahead to out-of-town family and friends to let them know you’re leaving.
Turn off the electric, water, and gas in your house before leaving, and if you have time, unplug appliances and other electrical items.
Have a fire extinguisher and teach your family how to use it.
Let emergency personnel know of any special needs, such as an illness, special medical equipment, medications, infants, elderly, disabilities, etc.
Try to secure windows and doors with boards or plywood.
If you evacuate, items for your car:
Full tank of gas.
Food, jumper cables, flares, maps, tools, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, a safety kit like the one mentioned above.
You must keep your vehicle in good shape, in case of emergencies, so if you need to sell your old vehicle for one that runs better, bookmot can help you determine the value so you’ll know how to price it You can also get estimates on car repairs, should your vehicle need them.
When there is an order NOT to evacuate.
Sometimes weather conditions are so severe–flying glass, debris, nails, boards, etc.–an order to not evacuate is issued.
When this happens…
Stay indoors until the authorities say otherwise. Even when the weather calms, the “eye of the storm” can quickly pass, leaving you immediately vulnerable to severe weather.
Follow weather conditions via television or battery-operated radios.
Keep away from doors and windows, try to stay in a basement. If no basement, even a bathtub covered with plywood can provide some protection.
If your home is damaged, evacuation to a shelter may be in order. Follow directions of emergency personnel.
–Before an earthquake…
Have ready a safety plan/kit.
Practice family drills for leaving and reuniting. Since most injuries and deaths in the home during an earthquake are caused by falling objects and furniture, know the “safe spots” in your house–areas with few or no objects that could drop, topple, or injure.
Have escape items like rope, ladders, etc.
Designate a meeting place for the family to reunite once the quake has passed.
Review drills with your children on what they should do if or when an earthquake occurs while they are at school.
–During an earthquake…
Get under sturdy furniture like a table or desk, try to hold on to it.
Cover your face and arms if you do not have the cover or a desk, table, or other furniture.
Stay in an interior corner of a building.
Stand in a doorway.
Avoid windows or glass doors that could shatter and cut you.
Stay inside if you’re already inside. Many injuries occur by falling debris when trying to run outside.
Do you live in a neighborhood that has experienced flash floods?
You should have an emergency waterproof pack similar to that listed above, and it should have water-protected items in it like rain hat, capes, cellphone protector, bug spray for your bodies, waterproof flashlights, and even emergency protein bars and bottled water.
Make a list of ways to get out of your community and know where emergency shelters are in your area.
As with a fire drill, rehearse escape routes with family members.
Arrange for family members to call a certain person if you should get separated by flood water. This could be a relative or friend that lives outside of the area.
If your electrical outlets, wall switches, and circuit breakers are at normal height in your home, you should have a qualified electrician raise the lower ones to a foot above the level they are at now.
To keep rushing water from coming in to your home, be sure to have backflow valves put in for commodes, drain pipes, and other sewage pipes.
You may never need to flee or recover from a disaster, but should one occur, you’ll be glad you prepared.