Natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and tornadoes can occur at any time –sometimes taking us by great surprise. In the past 10 years, more than 250 million people worldwide have been struck by some kind of natural disaster
A tsunami caused by an underwater earthquake in 2004 was the deadliest in history. The waves flooded more than 10 countries –killing over 200,000 people. That’s why it is important to be well informed about what disasters your geographical area is prone to, and to know what specific actions to take ahead of time, during a disaster and in the aftermath.
Photo courtesy of http://50.usaid.gov/usaid-builds-back-better-following-the-2004-indian-ocean-tsunami/
Having A Personal Family Plan
Depending on where you live, your preparations will be different. For example, people in the Southern United States will plan for hurricanes. They should also know that the safest place to find shelter during a tornado is in a building without windows and doors. This is why basements are so prominent in the architecture of the area..
Floods, accounting for almost 50% of deaths in natural disaster situations, occur all over the world. Monitoring your local news and listening to warning or evacuation signals could be crucial during these types of misfortunes.
Tips for creating a family plan:
- If you have children, decide which parent will be responsible for getting each child to safety.
- Explain this plan to children so they are prepared and in-the-know.
- Talk to close-by neighbors and family members to decide whom may assist you in a situation like this –perhaps the kids could be shuttled to a new location?
- Decide beforehand what you are comfortable with leaving behind (ie: certain valuables in case of a fire). Sometimes you won’t be able to grab everything you want.
- Prepare for aiding any disabled or elderly family members out of your home and away from any harm.
- You should also consider medications you and/or your family members may need and put together box full of relevant equipment.
Building A Kit
Photo courtesy of http://www.disastersurvivalskills.com/survival-kit-ideas
A kit should include basic things like food, shelter and water. It is recommended that you have enough supplies to last you for at least three days. Plenty of kit preparation websites exist online and can help you create yours based on the size of your family and type of event you’re getting ready for.
First-aids kits, toiletries, hygiene related products and flashlights and other tools are also a must when building your supply base.
Beyond that, simple games and stuffed animals are good for keeping children occupied during these situations. A simple pad of paper and pen are often forgot but incredibly useful for keeping notes among other things..
Storing Emergency Cash
A safe is a smart way to secure a small amount of cash. Expensive things like jewelry, important documents like passports and birth certificates and even sentimental family photos can be placed here.
This also ensures securing your valuables safely in case your home is ever broken into by a burglar.
The amount of cash you want to carry on hand depends on the number of people in your family, your own personal income and comfort with the possibility of losing this money altogether.
A small safe can be purchased for as little as $50. Safes are fireproof and waterproof, and usually heavy enough to stand their ground during the event of a tornado. Keeping your important personal items with you in your home is sometimes better than storing them at the bank, where they may not always be insured.
Separating your items in multiple safes can be a clever way of securing your valuables in the event one is stolen. Some folks even keep a second safe in a unusual place where thieves would not look (bathrooms, garage, etc).
Educate yourself on the disasters that most commonly occur in your area, use websites and other resources to help you create a plan –and talk about that plan with your family, friends and neighbors.
You may also consider volunteering in a local natural disaster relief. Your help could be the difference in someone’s life, especially if you are knowledgeable about these kind of situations.
– Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area. She has written on everything from health & wellness, marketing and technology.