No matter where you call home in the world, your area can encounter a natural disaster of some kind. From floods to earthquakes, few places are completely immune from natural disasters.
If you are in the Midwest, you don’t have to worry about a hurricane. But you do have to prepare for tornadoes and other heavy storms, as well as flooding.
Those near the Eastern or Southern coast have to keep hurricane preparation in mind, while the West Coast may face an earthquake.
Western states might be susceptible to fires, while the Northeast face the prospects of heavy rain and snowstorms.
Tornadoes can cause considerable havoc for people in the middle of the country, while flooding can be an issue anywhere.
The key is to think about which particular emergency is most likely to affect you and your family. Then prepare for it.
I’ve done the leg-work for you to start an emergency plan depending on what threats are in your area.
According to Ready.gov…
- If you’re indoors, get to a basement, storm cellar or the lowest level of a building. Stay away from windows, doors, corners of buildings and outside walls.
- If you’re indoors but can’t get to a lower level, find the smallest interior room or hallway as far from the exterior of the building as possible.
- If you’re driving and you see a tornado, don’t try to outrun it. Pull over immediately and seek shelter. Avoid overpasses, bridges, tall buildings and flying debris.
- Preparation is the key. Take these steps to help protect your home before a flood:
- Look online to see flood maps and whether you are in a flood plain.
- If you are a property owner, especially in an area prone to flooding, make sure you have enough flood insurance.
- Make sure you have an emergency radio that tunes into weather reports.
- Practice your escape plan with your family. Going through the motions now will help when the time comes for the real thing.
- Practice an evacuation plan with your family, both by sight and feel. It’s possible the smoke will be too thick for you to see your way around. Have pre-arranged meeting places for your family members.
- Install smoke alarms and change their batteries regularly. The most reliable types of alarms are dual-sensor smoke detectors.
- Have fire extinguishers handy in your kitchen, garage, and even bedroom.
- Board up windows with plywood or install storm shutters before a storm.
- Securing your roof and siding to your house frame with straps.
- Trim long tree branches that may overhang or fall on your home.
- Know where shut-off valves are for utilities, including gas, water and power.
Here are some things you can do in advance to make yourself ready for an earthquake:
- Practice your disaster plan with your family members. Discuss your steps and then play it out so that it will seem like second nature if you have to deal with an earthquake.
- Make sure your shelves and standing furniture, water heater, etc are strapped to walls. Move heavy objects to lower shelves, take the rollers off your heavy furniture, and secure small breakable or trinkets with museum wax.
- Know where your utility shut-off switches are in the house and keep bug-out bags near an exit.