This year, the United States has seen more than its fair share of natural disasters: the beginning of hurricane season, floods, tornadoes, and wildfires. Sometimes, wildfires are natural, because they begin with lightning, or others acts of nature; however, they may be intentionally set. If you ask all those thousands of citizens who have been affected by any of the above devestation, there’s the possibility that they were not prepared.
This information from www.ready.gov supports how we and other safety sites have advised you on how to be prepared for these disasters. Many of the suggestions are the same for each type of occurrence: tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes.
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. You must be prepared to act quickly, by planning and practicing specifically how and where you take shelter. Tornadoes are more common in the Midwest, Southeast and Southwest; however, they can happen in any state and at any time of the year; therefore advance preparation is vitally important.
Hurricanes are usually forecast ahead of time, which gives businesses and individuals time to get ready before they touch land. Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.
A hurricane or tornado watch means that this event is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate, and listen to your local weather and law enforcement agencies when they tell you to leave your home. A hurricane or tornado warning is when this natural disaster is expected in your area. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the most current weather developments.
Flooding is the nation’s most common natural disaster. This can happen in every U.S. state and territory. Some may develop slowly during rain, or others, such as flash floods can occur quickly. If you live in a low-lying area, near a lake, or downstream from a dam, it is always important to be prepared for flooding situations. Never try to drive through flowing water in low places; the current has the power to push your vehicle off the road.
With any or all of these events possible, the same suggestions apply:
Have an Emergency Supply Kit:
- Bottled water;
- Battery-operated radio;
- Cell phone;
- First Aid Kit;
- Important documents and prescription medications;
- Sleeping bags and pillows and changes of clothing;
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food;
- Manual can opener and plastic eating utensils;
- Avoid salty foods that make you thirsty;
- High energy foods;
- Food for infants;
- Pet foods;
- Crackers, nuts, peanut butter, dry cereal, granola bars, fruit bars.
Have a Family Emergency Plan. You may all be scattered if disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact each other, how you will get back together, and what you will do. Plan places where you can meet. Out-of-town contacts may be in a better position to communicate among separated families.
Have a Business Emergency Plan. Think about how you may keep your business going during times that your building is not accessible. Consider if you could run your business from a different location or from your home, or develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.
Hopefully, you will be spared from any of these disasters, but just in case, think seriously about how you and your family can best be prepared to handle any situation that may arise.