Disaster Preparedness Best Practices
Posted on January 28 2019
Failure to prepare is preparation for failure. That’s why understanding the importance of disaster preparedness is essential to keep your family safe.
However, you should know that there are some best practices when it comes to disaster preparedness, especially considering that in 2017, there were 59,985 weather-related events in the United States, which resulted in 592 deaths and 4,270 injuries. With proper preparation, these numbers can be significantly reduced—and you can avoid becoming a statistic.
In this article, we’ll cover a number of ways to anticipate and be prepared for a natural disaster in your area, including
- Understand the risk in your area
- Learn first aid and CPR
- Know how to shut off utilities
- Create a family emergency communication plan
- Stay safe in every season
Understand the Risk in Your Area
According to National Safety Council, flash floods, tropical storms, and heat waves were responsible for the most weather-related fatalities in 2017 (111, 107, and 82 deaths, respectively). If your area is at risk from frequently occurring or predicted natural disasters, you need to be prepared accordingly. For instance, if you live in an earthquake-prone area, you’ll want to ensure that:
- large appliances are properly secured
- install flexible gas and water connections beforehand
- place heavy objects on lower shelves
- make sure to have the necessary survival gear beforehand, including emergency kits, survival food, and emergency kits for cars
- anchor top-heavy furniture to the wall
- remove any heavy objects from above where you sleep
- stay clear of windows, which can suddenly shatter at a moment’s notice
- if outdoors: stay away from buildings, street lights, utility wires and overpasses
- if indoors: get under a sturdy table or desk and hold onto it; or, crouch in a strongly-supported doorway
While discussing the proper course of action for every type of natural disaster is beyond the scope of this article, the National Safety Council has created specific safety tips related to each of the following emergencies:
Learn first aid and CPR
If there’s one crucial factor in ensuring that your family is kept safe until professional help arrives, it is the ability to provide first aid as needed. First aid allows individuals to provide medical assistance for a wide variety of ailments, including burns, seizures, choking, heart attacks, and so forth. To be prepared for a disaster, it is wise to assign at least one family member the responsibility of learning first aid (including CPR) to maximize your family’s chance of survival and provide immediate help when emergency services aren’t readily available.
Know how to shut off utilities
It’s important to know how to shut off the utilities at your home and place of work. Downed power lines can be extremely hazardous and gas lines may erupt into flames and cause damage, exacerbating already difficult conditions. Therefore, knowing how to mitigate these problems beforehand can help your family stay safe and ensure that rescuers can assist you without putting themselves in unnecessary danger. There are plenty of survival kits that provide all the necessities if you find you and your family without power or water for an extended period of time.
Create a family emergency communication plan
Communication is key in an emergency. Even though you may feel that every family member is on board and prepared for natural disasters, “common sense” may go out the window when a disaster actually strikes.
Therefore, offset potential tragedies by creating a Family Emergency Communication Plan. Essentially, you want to have clear instructions on who to contact, where to go, what to do, and the best ways to go about this:
First, you’ll want to make a list of emergency contacts, including family, friends, service providers and nearby medical facilities—which should include phone numbers, addresses, emails, and any other relevant information.
Next, you should designate emergency meeting places to meet should your family be separated during a natural disaster. Familiar meeting places are a good choice, but make sure to also have backups if those places are inaccessible. Also, make sure to have contingency meeting places if these areas are affected.
Have multiple copies of this communication plan, as well. Place a copy in your purse, wallet, survival kit, cabinets, and any other area where your family is sure to look for valuable information.
Last, you’ll want to review this plan periodically and practice it as a dry-run, just to ensure that your family is familiar with the instructions.
Stay informed and stay safe
Knowledge is power when facing a natural or man-made emergency. Staying informed through media outlets like radio, TV, and the Internet can provide valuable assistance and give your family an adequate timeline on when they may need to take action or wait for emergency personnel. However, in some cases, cell phone service may be unavailable, as well as cable and electric service completely disrupted—making communication virtually impossible until it is restored. In these cases, it is important trust your instincts and take action only when necessary.
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This covers the basics of disaster preparedness. However, you should know that having the necessary survival gear and emergency kits can make a tremendous difference in your family’s survival. At the Survival Gear Shop, you can find complete kits to survive natural disasters and valuable tools to prevent catastrophe. Also, be sure to stay tuned for the Survival Gear Shop’s video content, where we can show you our thoughts on the best disaster preparedness products on the market today.