Preparing and surviving Natural Disasters

Preparing and surviving Natural Disasters
Getting engaged and being prepared today for what may happen tomorrow.  Only by making certain we as individuals are prepared for a disaster, will we be able to ensure the safety of our families and assist our communities.
Earthquakes
All 50 states in the United States and 5 U.S territories are at some risk for earthquakes. They can occur at any time of the year and without warning, lasting less than one minute. Aftershocks following the initial earthquake can occur for hours, days or even months, and can trigger landslides, avalanches and tsunamis and other disasters.

BEFORE: Since there is absolutely no warning yet for knowing when an earthquake will occur.  You should make sure your surroundings are not able to fall or move which can cause injuries or damage. Practice and make sure you have the “Drop, Cover and Hold On!”  You only have seconds to protect yourself.  Always being stocked and having critical supplies in case of emergencies like water, canned goods, and some medications/first aid.  Lastly having a family emergency communication plan, so you can possibly communicate with family members/others.

DURING: Are you inside a building? Make sure to drop down to your knees so the earthquake doesn’t knock you down and covering your head/neck with your arms to protect yourself from falling debris.  If you are in danger of falling items or debris crawl to cover under a desk or table.  If there is no sturdy shelter nearby get away from glass, windows, outside doors and anything that can fall, like light fixtures and furniture. Staying where you are until the shaking stops is important.  If you are outside or driving make sure you try to stay away from anything that is able to fall.

AFTER: Look around, find a clear path to safety, find an open space away from damaged areas. If you are trapped don’t move or kick up dust, and make noise if possible so rescuers can find you.  Once you are rescued, make sure you are monitoring alerts for emergency information and instructions via radio, TV, social media, phones.

Tornados
A violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground and is often visible as a funnel cloud. Around 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States every year and all states are at risk, mostly happening during the spring and summer months but they can strike at any season, day and night.

BEFORE: Identify a safe room in your home, or a safe storm shelter nearby that you can quickly travel to. Again like with earthquakes and other disasters always having a family emergency communication plan, so you can communicate with family members/others.

Some danger signs for a tornado are:

  1. Dark often greenish sky
  2. Large hail
  3. Large dark low-lying cloud
  4. Loud roar
  5. If you see the approaching storm or danger signs take shelter immediately
Tornado Watch means there is a possibility of one near
Tornado Warning one has been sighted or indicated by weather radar, and you must take shelter immediately.
DURING: If you are under a tornado warning, take shelter IMMEDIATELY, most injuries are from flying debris so make sure to protect your head. If you are not in a sturdy building- get into a vehicle, buckle up and drive to nearest shelter.  If your car is struck by flying debris, pull over and park.  If you are taking cover in a stationary vehicle put on seat belt and cover your head, do not park under overpass or bridge, you are safer in a low, flat location.

AFTER: If you are trapped don’t move or kick up dust, and make noise if possible so rescuers can find you.  Once you are rescued, make sure you are monitoring alerts for emergency information and instructions via radio, TV, social media, phones.  Don’t attempt to move heavy debris by yourself.  Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.  Do what you can to prevent further damage to you property  like putting a tarp on a damaged roof, insurance companies may not cover additional damage that occurs after the disaster.

Hurricanes

Massive storm systems that form over the water and move inland. High winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents and tornadoes are all risks when a hurricane is involved. Sometimes called typhoons and cyclones in other parts of the world. Affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas and areas over 100 miles inland, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific. Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 to November 30

BEFORE: Knowing where you will go if you are ordered to evacuate, knowing the evacuation routes and having a place where you can stay. You can contact your local emergency management agency for more information.  Having a disaster supply kit including flashlights, batteries, cash and first aid supplies.  If you do not have to evacuate- make sure you have adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you’re not able to leave due to flooding and blocked roads.

Hurricane Watch means conditions possible in the next 48 hours

Hurricane Warning is conditions expected in the next 36 hours.

AFTER: Making sure you are listening to local updates and instructions, with hurricanes there is always that possibility of another disaster happening right after (flooding). Checking in with family and friends, only return home when authorities say it is safe.  Always avoid walking or driving through flood waters, just 6 inches of water can knock you down and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.  The water also may be electrically charged from underground or drowned power lines and may hide dangerous debris, and ground could be swept away.

It is always a good idea to be prepared and to have a plan if some kind of natural disaster happens where you live.  Just remember you can never be too prepared!!

 

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