Preparing for Natural Disasters
Crisis preparedness can account for scenarios across many realms, such as economic collapse, terror attacks, war, crime, or personal setbacks. But the one bedrock rationale for preparedness that proves valid year after year is natural disaster.
Earthquakes, spring floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, tsunamis … even volcanic eruptions qualify as fairly regular natural events on the big blue marble we call home. These types of disasters average tens of thousands of lives lost yearly. And perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives otherwise impacted. Top Ten Natural Disasters.
If you choose to ignore the possibility that the fickle finger of fate could reach out and flick you, then you lose your bet. The odds are probably favorable that you will live a long, uneventful life. But I would wager that disaster and misfortune are common enough that you will know someone personally at some point—and perhaps many—who will have been seriously impacted by some disaster that could have been at least somewhat mitigated by foresight, planning, and prudent actions. Whether to gamble at all is your call.
Assess Your Personal Risks for Natural Disasters
Where do you live? In an earthquake-prone area? On the coast where hurricanes or tidal waves are possible? In the mid-section of the country where snowstorms or tornadoes are commonplace?
If winter weather is an issue where you live, it’s a common-enough situation that you probably know the drill and what it takes to endure.
Near fault lines and in earthquake zones, surviving a seismic event itself is potentially just half the battle. Strong seismic activity can seriously damage infrastructure such as highways, emergency response, communication, utilities such as natural gas, electrical, and water, and even supply lines for food and other necessities.
Large hurricanes also can impact areas in very much the same way, with flooding adding additional danger to the mix.
Tornadoes affect areas similarly, though in typically smaller geographic vicinities.
Volcanoes and tsunamis are more rare, but potentially are far more devastating and impactful, long-term.
How to Mitigate the Risks of Natural Disasters
You know what the risks are where you live. Hopefully your home and workplace are soundly engineered, positioned, and built to account for local dangers. If not, move. Or make changes. Fortify your home base structurally and with survival supplies. That’s basic common sense.
In the great white north, or in mountainous areas, drive an all-wheel drive vehicle, or at least a front-wheel drive vehicle—and do it with caution in poor driving conditions. Equip the vehicle with a winter-weather survival kit that includes food and blankets and a shovel, to mention just a few of the essentials. Outfit your home with a wood stove and a supply of wood that is dried, cut, and split. Power outages in the dead of winter can quickly become life-threatening, so an alternative heat source is important.
In tornado country, make sure you have a shelter or a basement that you and yours can retreat to at short notice.
For hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, there is usually enough warning that evacuation is the prudent step to take. Be ready for that with your necessities and key valuables accessible and ready to grab for a quick escape. A reliable vehicle and perhaps an RV or trailer are very desirable assets, as well as supplies that can sustain your family for lengthy periods of time that may be required to remain away from home.
Important Preps for All Natural Disasters
Emergency storage food, such as Mountain House freeze dried food (with very long shelf life) should be a foundation for natural disaster preparedness. Food that stores well without refrigeration, and that is easily prepared, is a tremendous resource to have on hand after a disaster. It’s hard to go wrong with good-quality storage food.
Water filtration and purification capabilities are another “must-have.”Katadyn or Berkey water filters are two examples of quality water filters that are proven in disaster situations. Purification tablets are another advisable level of water-treatment. If you can store pure drinking water in quantity, certainly do so, in approved water-storage containers. Keep the water sealed, in a cool, dark area. If you have access to a well, and you can power that well pump, you are blessed.
Keep handy any special medical supplies such as prescription medicine or other equipment necessary for a member of your family to remain healthy. Comprehensive first aid kits are of course also important to have on hand. Extra blankets (Columbia for example) in waterproof packaging, matches, Coleman portable cooking gear, Eureka tents, and self-defense gear are also nice to have and some are some of the best brands out there.
Back-up generators and fuel for the generators can be critical in some scenarios. If you are looking to have a generator hooked into your home’s circuits, have a licensed electrician install a transfer switch beforehand to make sure you can safely power what you intend to power.
First prepare then stay aware. You’ll be in good shape for dealing with natural disasters that can otherwise become more threatening than they would need to be.