There have been more violent storms, more earthquakes and other natural disasters in the last 5 years, than any other time in recorded history. No matter where you live, it is not a question of if you will be facing some kind of natural disaster – but WHEN!
Not everyone is at risk for an earthquake, but did you know that the US Geological Survey has actually identified 45 states and territories throughout the United States that are at moderate to high risk for earthquakes?
Before a Quake
Fasten shelves securely to walls.
- Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches. · Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
- Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
- Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall.
Reinforce this information by moving to these places during family drills.
- Make sure televisions, computer monitors and other expensive electronics are restrained or anchored to the walls, shelves or desktops so that they will not fall over or fall off in an earthquake.
- Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Teach them the basics of Drop, Cover and Hold On.
DURING A QUAKE
If you are inside when the shaking starts …
- Drop, cover, and hold on. Stay in one place and move around as little as possible.
- If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
- Stay away from windows to avoid being injured by shattered glass.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. If you must leave the building after the shaking stops, use stairs rather than an elevator in case there are aftershocks, power outages or other damage.
- Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire, or other danger.
If you are caught outside when the shaking starts …
- Find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees, and streetlights, and drop to the ground. Stay there until the shaking stops.
- If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible. Stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Then, drive carefully, avoiding bridges and ramps that may have been damaged.
- If a power line falls on your vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
- If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert forfalling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
If You Find Yourself Trapped Under Debris:
- Do not light a match.
- Do not move about or kick up dust.
- Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
- Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
Hurricanes, and Tornados
As victims of Hurricane Sandy learned you don’t have to be in the tropics to suffer the effects of a serve storm. Hurricanes and Tornados have increased in magnitude and in volume over the past few years, and can strike just about anywhere.
The good thing about Hurricanes is that with modern tracking techniques, you usually have a lot of time to prepare. Follow evacuation advice – those that do not, usually regret it. You will usually be advised to evacuate if:
- You live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
- You live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
- You live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
If you are in an area that is prone to Hurricanes, you may want to take specific steps to strengthen or “retrofit” you home to make it more likely to withstand a hurricane . A complete list of what you can do make such improvements can be accessed HERE.
What To Do When The Storm Hits
If you have chosen to shelter-in-place during a Hurricane, make sure you have your Emergency Preparedness Kit ready and easily accessible and your weather radio with you in whatever room you hunker down in.
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
- Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
- Avoid elevators.
The preparation of what to do before, during and after a tornado, differs very little from a hurricane, except that in a tornado you get far less warning. Also tornados are primarily a wind event, and therefore the problems of rain, storm surge and flooding that you get with hurricanes, you don’t get with tornados. However keep in mind that tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms.
If you live in an area prone to high winds or tornadoes, even if your residence has been “built to code” that does not mean it can withstand winds from extreme events such as tornadoes. You should consider building a Wind Safe Room.
While tornados can come without any warning, here are some signs to look for:
- Dark, often greenish sky
- Large hail
- A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
- Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
- If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
Did you know that there are more then 400,000 fires in the U.S. every year resulting in almost 15,000 deaths? In fact, more Americans die in house fires every year than in all natural disasters combined.
As with other potential disasters you need to have a plan in the event of a house fire, be sure that everyone in your household knows it and be sure to practice itwith them.
- Everyone should know two ways out of every room.
- If your home has two stories, find a safe way to climb out the window and get to the ground. “Roll-out” fire escape ladders are a great method. Like the Kidde KL-2S Two-Story Fire Escape Ladder available on Amazon for less than $50.00
- Decide on a meeting place outside of your home where everyone can gather.
- Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened. Make sure everyone in the family understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows.
- If you have children teach them not to be afraid and hide from firefighters.
- Keep fire-prone places, such as dryers and fireplaces clear of clutter.
- When your smoke alarm goes off your goal should be to get yourself, your family and your pets if you have any, out of the building and to safety as quickly as possible.
- Crawl low under any smoke to your exit – heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling. The air closest to the floor will be less filled with smoke and fumes. This makes breathing and seeing easier.
- If there is smoke blocking your door or first way out, use your second way out.
- Smoke is toxic. If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
- Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, leave the door closed and use your second way out.
- If there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out.
- If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.
- If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 911 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located. NEVER GO BACK INTO A BURNING HOME
- If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.
- If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or your fire department.
Stay where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.
NOTE: If your clothes catch fire, Stop, Drop, and Roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out. Make sure all family members and especially children know and practice STOP, DROP and ROLL.
Floods are one of the most common hazards or Natural Disasters the world over.
Floods can occur as a disaster all their own, but Floods are often the result of other natural disasters or weather events, which is why they occur so often. Heavy Rains, Hurricanes, Snow Melt, and Earthquakes all can lead to flooding.
Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood.
When A Flood is Threatening
- Have your Go Bag and your Bug Out Vehicle ready and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
- Clear drains, gutters and downspouts of debris.
- Move furniture and electronics off the floor, particularly in basements and first floor levels.
- Anchor fuel tanks. An unanchored tank can be torn free by floodwaters, and the broken supply line can cause contamination or, if outdoors, can be swept downstream and damage other property.
- Shut off electrical service at the main breaker if the electrical system and outlets will be under water.
- Place all appliances, including stove, washer and dryer on masonry blocks or concrete at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation
- When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water. · Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT DRIVING DURING FLOOD CONDITIONS
You should never attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
Did you know that?
- It only takes six inches of water to reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- A foot of water will float most vehicles
- Two feet or more of rushing water can carry away most vehicles even sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.
When driving during flood conditions:
- Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious.
- Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection.
Turn around and go the other way.
- Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
- Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
Plague or Pandemic Outbreak
A pandemic is a disease outbreak of global proportions. It happens when a novel virus emerges among humans that causes serious illness and is easily human transmissible from person-to-person.
Preparing for a flu or other pandemic echoes your preparedness for other natural disasters. You need to have your Home Emergency Preparedness Kit Ready as well as your Bag Out Bag.
However, unlike facing a hurricane or natural disaster, during a contagious disease outbreak, it is very likely your best move will be to hunker down and stay safe and secure in your own home, rather than consider evacuating and risking exposure. If you have prepared a “Survival Safe House” off the beaten path however – a Pandemic may be a very good time to Bug Out for it.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family during a Pandemic is to minimize you exposure to the contagion by practicing good infectious disease control techniques and hygiene habits.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious food, cut down or eliminate alcohol and tobacco use.
Tips and Takeaways Natural Disasters
- There is a common misconception to take shelter beneath a doorway during an Earthquake. DO NOT DO SO UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR A FACT THAT THE PARTICULAR DOORWAY IS OF HEAVY CONSTRUCTION. In Fact MOST doorways are weaker than the rest of the support structure of your home.
- In the U.S the average tornado moves Southwest to Northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction.
- If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately! Most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris, so remember to protect your head. If available, put on a bicycle or motorcycle helmet to protect yourself from head injuries.
- Where you are during a tornado will define your best course of action. The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room. If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safestalternative.
- Smoke alarms are the most effective way to prevent death and injury from house fires. You should place your smoke alarm just outside sleeping areas, such as the hallway outside the bedrooms.
- In the U.S. statistics show that more than 50 percent of fatal house fires occur between 11 pm and 7 am (peak hours for all fires are 5 pm to 8 pm), so practice two ways out of every room at night. And make sure at least one of them does not rely on a stairwell, which can easily become a deadly vortex of gas, smoke, heat and flame.
- You should sleep with your doors closed; this could give you a few extra minutes of valuable time in a fire.
- If you have pets, place “Pet Finder” stickers on your windows to alert fire fighters and rescuers. You can get these from your Vet, or local humane society.
- Floods often displace animals. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with floodwaters.
- “When in doubt, throw it out”: Dispose of food, beverages and medicine exposed to floodwaters and mud, including canned goods, capped bottles and sealed containers.
- In preparation for pandemic outbreak stockpile and take vitamins and supplements known to improve your immune system such as: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, B-vitamins, Amino Acids such as Lysine and Glycine,Herbal and other Natural Supplements such as Echinacea, Turmeric Extract, Ginger, and Quercetin.
In the aftermath of any natural disaster always remember your Rule of Threes:
You can survive for:
- Three minutes without air
- Three hours without shelter
- Three days without water
- Three weeks without food
Keep a hard copy of this article handy and refer back to it as needed for shelter, water, food – and how to defend yourself and your home, and you will have a fighting chance to survive anything that man or nature can throw at you! You don’t have to be soldier to be prepared, and find the strength and the courage to survive any crisis. I have written this article to give you reliable, practical, and useful information, but also to get you out of your comfort zones and inspire selfreliance.
This article should serve as your wake-up call that you are living in a world were the things you take for granted can be gone in the blink of an eye. But it is written not to frighten you — but to shake you out of your complacency. My goal is not to create paranoid little bunnies that run to their hidey-holes waiting for Armageddon. But to give you the knowledge and skills that allow you to live your life free and happy, in both the best – and worst of times. You deserve that, and so does your family.
The information in this article will increase your odds during a disaster or emergency, but above all else it provides guidance that replaces fear – with confidence.
OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES!
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