Preparing for Times of Disaster

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Whether you live in the western united states and have suffered fires and drought, or the eastern coast and endured hurricanes and flooding, chances are you may experience one or more natural disasters in your lifetime. Being prepared won’t take away the trial, but it will help you to recover as well as sustain you until damage can be restored again. There are three basic ways you can prepare for a disaster.

1. SECURE YOUR HOME. You may not necessarily notice the heavy vases stored above the kitchen cabinets, bookshelves packed with books in the den, or the glass mirror in the hallway as being potential hazards in your home, but during flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes, these items could cause injury. Securing heavy furniture to the walls could prevent them from tipping over onto someone. Strapping your water heater to the foundation of the house will keep it from falling and the pipes from breaking. If the water heater is damaged, gas could leak and valuable water could empty out. You can take inventory of every room in your home to see how to storm-proof and keep your family safe. Remove heavy items from upper shelves and place them on lower shelves. Install latches on cabinets containing glassware, and secure pictures, mirrors, and other wall hangings with earthquake-proof hooks. Keep shoes or slippers near your bed. If a disaster were to occur during the night, you may need to access them immediately to protect your feet from possible broken glass or sharp metal. Also, keep a flashlight in an accessible place in every room to utilize as a light source.

2. STORE FOOD, WATER, AND EMERGENCY SUPPLIES. If a disaster happens, it is likely that grocery stores will be out of commission for a while. You may have to rely, for a time, on the food you have within your home. Store the food your family likes and keep a few extra treats on hand to help bring comfort during a time of chaos or uncertainty. Store water in case your water supply becomes contaminated. Store enough for drinking as well as hygiene and cooking needs. Additionally, have first-aid supplies on hand as well as flashlights and batteries, extra blankets, cash, extra toiletries and feminine supplies, a manual can-opener, and any other basic needs you may have as you shelter-in-place. It would be a good idea to have a wrench to turn off any utilities such as power and gas.

3. HAVE A FAMILY PLAN. Whether you draw up a fire escape plan, or write out a strategy for evacuating, create a family plan for any type of disasters. Review with your family the possible scenarios in each case of an emergency. Establish well-thought-out solutions that will keep your family safe and help each other to make contact with one another in case you are ever to be separated. Have a meeting place to go, or a main contact person, such as grandparents or out-of-state family members to connect with to report your individual status. Remember to keep the pets in mind, and talk about your family plan often with family members. Above all, believe that if you and your family are prepared, it will make difficult times become more endurable.

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