No matter what type of disastrous situation you find yourself in, it is important to know how to act to protect yourself from harm or injury. Today, reading the news headlines shows that preparedness is no longer an option but a necessity. Fire, floods, shootings, power outages, and hurricanes have left many -people desperate for supplies and shelter in its aftermath.
Your best defence in such situations is to have a step-by-step plan of action so you and your family can outlast the worst without running out of crucial supplies.
5 Steps To Prepare For Disasters
No one wants to admit that they are not prepared for a disaster, but as the times have shown, it has become imperative to inform yourself on what needs to be done during such situations. Thinking through the steps and developing a disaster and emergency preparedness response plan will ensure your immediate safety and your ability to survive the crucial 72 hours. While there are no one-size-fits-all, there are common aspects that need to be considered when creating a plan.
Assess Likelihoods and Risks
Not all areas are prone to the same disasters. For example, coastal states are less likely to experience tornadoes compared to central states, and central states are less likely to experience hurricanes. With that said, it is important to rank potential emergencies based on their likelihood. This is essential, so you know with resources to invest in.
A risk assessment should be based on determining the likelihood of a disaster happening in relation to the impact it could have. One way to organize a risk assessment is to create a matrix that can help identify the likely impact of a possible disaster on the area.
One example would be an earthquake in San Francisco. This would yield a high likelihood of occurring with a high impact. However, a tornado in the same area is very unlikely with very low impact. In this case, it is wiser to invest in items and materials that will aid through a devastating earthquake.
Plan With Others
Many disaster response plans sometimes fail because they are created by one person who fails to disseminate or discuss the plans within the household or building it is meant for. It is crucial that all people involved know what to do in a disaster situation so responses will be uniformed and organized.
Planning with others allows a team effort where each person has a specific task or role to play. Not only will this make responses faster, but it also ensures that everyone is alert and prepared to move when the time comes for a quick response.
Make Sure Critical Items Are Easy To Access
In order to properly prepare for an unexpected disaster situation, it is important to have supplies that you can turn to. It is best to have two types of emergency items. First is a home stockpile of food, water, cooking supplies, and battery-powered appliances. The second is a bug-out bag with essential survival items that will get you through 72 hours of being away from home.
A bug-out bag needs to be placed somewhere that is easily accessible in case a quick evacuation is necessary. It should contain food, water, a form of portable shelter, and proper clothing. Such a bag should also have copies of important documents like identification and any medicines that you need to stay healthy (like insulin kits for diabetics).
Items in your stockpile or bag should be routinely checked at least annually if anything becomes expired or not suitable for use. Ideally, these items should be stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight, moisture, or dampness to preserve their integrity and help them last longer.
Simulate The Plans
Once you have a solid plan in place, the best way to work out any issues is to simulate the plan with your family or group. Simulating a disaster plan will not just bring to light any weak points, but it also allows everyone to practice their role so they will not feel disoriented during an actual emergency.
Plan simulations should include knowing where everyone should meet, what they are responsible for bringing/doing, and knowing how to get to the respective meeting point. During a simulation, it is best to have everyone weigh in on their side of the plan. This is when you are likely to see any issues that need to be adjusted or changed.
Like all plans, they will need to be visited every few months to see if they are still relevant and updated. Plan revisions require you to consider current events and new developments, so be sure to always stay up to date on the latest survival tips and news to keep ahead.
It is also wise to check in on your stock of supplies and replace those that are expired or damaged. The last thing you want is to have unusable items when you need them most.
Types of Disasters and How To Plan For Them
There are a number of possible disaster situations you can find yourself in. While some of them cannot be predicted, planning for a disaster allows you to react to them immediately after they occur, increasing your chances of survival. The first step in knowing how to respond is knowing what these disasters are and the vital actions you need to take IMMEDIATELY after they happen. Remember, the first few minutes will determine your chances of survival.
Immediately you start to feel an earthquake, the first thing you should do is drop to the ground. Then, crawl to and get under a sturdy shelter like a strong table. Hold on until the earthquake has passed. Once it has passed, quickly find a way to get information about the current situation from local authorities. If there is still electricity, tune into a news station. If not, take steps to gear up your family’s emergency plan.
If your area is prone to severe floods and flash floods, always have a portable way to gather information. Usually, a battery-powered or long-lasting rechargeable radio is the best. Getting information during floods is crucial so you can listen in to know if an immediate evacuation is necessary. The moment you hear a flash flood warning, seek higher ground right away. Be sure to bring the essential survival items or a bug-out bag.
Hurricanes are likely to occur if you live in a coastal area. Planning for a hurricane includes having the right supplies to cover your home’s windows to stand up against strong winds that can easily shatter them. If you live in hurricane-prone areas, always have a portable battery-powered radio or none electrical reliant ways to listen for news and get updates. Your local authorities will be announcing what needs to be done in case an evacuation is necessary.
Should an evacuation be necessary, make sure to turn off all utilities, electrical connections, and propane tanks before you leave. In the case the storm damages your home, having these aspects off will hopefully lessen the overall damage.
In a tornado situation, take shelter in a storm cellar, basement, or a closed-off area in your home far from windows, exterior walls, and doors. Unplug any electrical items and be prepared to stay indoors for the duration of the storm. Ideally, keep some food and water supplies close to you, so you don’t have to leave the sheltered area to get them.
Weather The Storm
The stress felt when disasters occur can be overwhelming, but if you follow the right steps in planning for a disaster, it can ease the anxiety when the time comes to put your plan into action. The key is to know precisely what the risks are in your area and invest in the right equipment and supplies that will help you overcome the situation. While some disasters cannot be predicted, having a set plan of action will save you precious time by allowing you to respond quickly and efficiently—every second counts in ensuring your survival.