Natural disasters: How to prepare yourself
Hindsight is 20/20, but if we didn't learn anything from natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, they'd be that much more disastrous. Here are some disaster preparedness tips and considerations that can help in light of any future hurricanes or emergencies.
In sports they say, "the best offense is a strong defense."
Boy Scouts claim: "Be prepared."
Seeing the trend?
Mother Nature ultimately calls the shots, and although she's not out to get us, we do have to play by her rules.
You can prepare your home (check for loose shingles, trim dangerous branches or vegetation, install impact-resistant glass etc.), but — and excuse the pun — that all gets tossed to the wind when the reality of a hurricane is on your doorstep.
In light of Hurricane Sandy and the inevitability of future natural disasters, it's invaluably important that you have prepared yourself and your family to the best of your abilities.
Depending on where you call home, you are surely exposed to different elements and possible dangers. Regardless, basic human needs transcend all circumstance and an extra 20 minutes of preemptive disaster preparedness on a slow afternoon can make for a world of difference in the event of a natural disaster, particularly a hurricane.
That being said, weather is a wildcard and we recognize the pain and hardship these events have caused.
Here's what you can do:
Find a common, easily-accessible area of your home to stockpile some crucial keys to survival. Water tops the list. To be safe, gather about three gallons of water per family member along with approximately three days' worth of non-perishable easy-prep foods. (You have to assume the worst, in that electricity will more than likely be out of the equation). That being said, you should also store a set of matches, a lighter, a flashlight, candles, a battery-operated radio (to pick up weather and rescue updates) and extra batteries inside a plastic bag to protect them from water damage and to keep everything together and mobile. You will also want to store extra layers and blankets to maintain warmth in case the power goes out. We strongly suggest a working multi-tool as well.
Have a plan
Rehearse with your family. This shouldn't stray too far from your childhood recollections of a fire plan. In an emergency situation, it is important to have already discussed a meeting place and plan of attack to ensure your greatest safety. Practice this routinely, and quiz the kids in the car. "Be prepared." Again, this will be different depending on the emergency at hand, but at the least, remind your family where to meet so you can take account for everyone and stress that although items may hold significant sentimental value, wasting time to salvage things is exponentially less important than saving lives.
As parents, this is your time to shine. You are the head of the household and your children will look to you for direction. Assure them you will all stay together and that you have taken precautions to prepare for an event like this. Furthermore, the canned goods may not be the ideal meal, but you've already stockpiled everything they'll need to ride this thing out.
We're not saying be a hero. Desperate times call for desperate measures but you must not do anything drastic. Work with what you've got. Shoelaces make great tourniquets. Compact mirrors can be used for reflective signals. Chapstick, hand sanitizer and many common purse items are great fire starters. You have to be creative and think on your feet, making the most of what you have in your immediate shelter. Furthermore, there is no cut and dry plan for a hurricane or any other natural disaster. Make decisions and act accordingly when time is of the essence.
Weather is unpredictable. That's never going to change.
You'll never cover all the bases, but this is a start.
Again, SheKnows sends our prayers and condolences to those affected by these recent events and Hurricane Sandy, and would like to open this article up for discussion below.
What does your family do to prepare for a natural disaster? What precautions would you add to the list?