The threat of natural disasters is ever-increasing with the changing of our environments. From tornados to big freezes, our planet earth manifests its unrest in many ways. Altough you can’t prevent Mother Nature showing off her powers, you can prepare to deal with her moods and live to tell the story.
We get so wrapped up in our everyday lives, our daily routines (walking the dog, going to work, paying the bills, brushing the teeth…) that it just becomes the norm. However, every day, disaster is striking somewhere in the world, throwing someone’s routine day into complete chaos. This is the living truth that no matter our technological advances, Mother Nature will always have the upper hand on us.
All natural disasters have the potency to annihilate the safety of our routine lifestyles and compel us to confront the vulnerability of ordinary life. Natural disasters often happen very suddenly without any warning whatsoever. Though there are emergency services that are trained to come into play the moment a natural disaster strikes, you may, for some time, have to rely entirely upon yourself and your own instincts to survive.
As always is in the case of preparedness, prepping can help reduce the stress, fear, panic, discomfort and damage that typically come along with a disaster. Learn how to protect yourself before it is too late; understand the dangers of disasters and act accordingly; know how to obtain water and feed yourself and how to prevent unnecessary injury until help arrives.
One or several of the following natural disasters may be possible to strike in the region you live in. Be sure to keep up with the emergency procedures for your specific area.
Most Common Natural Disasters:
This tropical storm is capable of loosening as much energy in a single day as a humongous hydrogen bomb. A hurricane brings with it viscous storms, flash floods and risk of tornado all while leaving a devastating trail of destruction as its aftermath.
Hurricanes have caused more damage here in the United States than literally any other type of natural disaster. These are the most devastating natural disasters hitting our country and sooner or later you will experience the power and aftermath of a hurricane.
There are tracking stations across the world that are constantly observing hurricane activity. These stations provide current information to all weather services. 2 types of hurricane alert:
Hurricane Watch: a hurricane may portend coastal and inland areas, but is not imminent. Continue to listen for updates.
Hurricane Warning: meaning a hurricane is expected to make land-fall within 24 hours. Continue to listen for advice from local authorities and follow the recommended emergency procedures.
- Know where your nearest evacuation shelter is
- Be sure that your house is sound and sturdy; the roof in particular
- Keep your lawn and property clear of stuff that may become missile-like when the winds pick up
- Double and triple check your emergency supplies.
Once the Warning is Out
- Keep a radio or television on to obtain more information on the storms moves
- Be sure your vehicle has a full tank and be prepared for evacuation
- Leave low-lying land that is apt to flooding
- Do not stay in a mobile home: seek more substantial shelter
- Secure anything you have outside; remember the “missiles”…
- Board up windows to help prevent said missiles from smashing them
- Store as much drinking water as you can (water systems are likely to be damaged during the storm and may become contaminated) and use smart solutions
During The Storm
- If you cannot evacuate and do not have a cellar, take shelter in the strongest part of your house
- If the house begins to come apart during the storm, shield yourself with blankets, couch cushions and mattresses; or hide under a solid bed
- Stay away from driving; a car is not protective!
- Do not be duped by the eye of the storm; there will be lull lasting from minutes to an hour before the wind picks back up again, going in the opposite
After the Storm
- Remain where you are until emergency services give the all-clear signal
- Continue to listen for updated information
- Do not go out “sight-seeing”; this will not only put you in harm’s way, but could potentially be detrimental to rescue work that may be going on
- Attempt to report any downed cables and broken sewage, water, and gas mains
This isn’t quite the lonesome train whistle that Johnny Cash sings about, but it’s identical to a train whistle nonetheless. The maker of the sound is one of nature’s most violent storm systems. A tornado is a funnel-shaped structure that moves with around 200 mph whirling winds. The pressure of such a storm has the capability of picking up small structures and anything at all that is bolted down.
Unlike hurricanes, tornadoes typically only travel up to ten miles before the finally give up. This does not mean that a tornado’s power isn’t beyond extravagant and these natural disastes shouldn’t be taken lightly.
- You will be best protected in an underground shelter or basement. If this is not available to you, find the strongest point of your house. Lay down in a bathtub or under a sturdy table and cover yourself with cushions and blankets and mattresses.
- Stay away from windows!
- As the cell approaches, open all the windows on the opposite side of the storm and close those that are facing it. This helps to equalize the pressure inside, preventing the structure from collapsing or the roof being ripped off.
- If you are outside, do not try to run away from the storm. Do not attempt to drive from it; you will put yourself at risk. If you see no shelter around, lie down in a ditch or depression in the ground and cover your head.
Earthquakes are more capable of doing extensive damage over a large area in a short amount of time than any other natural disasters. Being that the average earthquake only lasts several seconds, it is the after-effects that wreak the greatest havoc.
Earthquakes are known for setting off chains of natural disasters including tidal waves, tsunamis, landslides, mudslides, volcanic eruptions and avalanches.
- Check your home for cracks in the ceilings and walls; these will indicate weakness
- Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at their mains in case of damage during the earthquake
- Be sure that any shelves are safely secured to the walls. Keep heavy items lower to the floor
- Everyone in the home should be well aware of what to do during emergencies
- Keep a routine check on emergency supplies
- If you find yourself outside, get away from power lines, buildings and high structures. Get into the open
- Take cover against an inside or strong internal doorway
- In a crowded place, do not make a dash for the door. Everyone will be doing this, imagine the stampede!
- If you are in a tall building, get under a sturdy desk, staying away from windows and walls
- Do not seek shelter in basements, cellars, subways or underground tunnels
- If you are in a car, simply stop driving. Do not get out! Also do not stop on bridges, beside buildings or trees
After The Fact
- Clean up any household cleaning products that may be hazardous Watch for glass and debris that may cause injury
- Check gas lines and water lines. Report any damage immediately. If you live in a zone prone to earthquake an automatic gas shut off valve is a sound investment.
- Do not contact emergency services unless there is a true emergency; no need for tying up lines that could potentially be needed to save lives
- Again, do not go out sightseeing
Suggested reading: How To Survive An Earthquake
As we have recently witnessed in Hawaii, volcanoes can wreak some immortal havoc. Fierce explosions of piping hot lava, gasses, dust and rock can cause terrible damages.
- Distinct rumbles from the volcano or the ground
- Earth movement
- Pumice dust in the air
- The smell of rotten eggs near rivers
- Leave immediately
- Know alternate routes; as some ways may become difficult to travel
- Stay upwind of the volcano if ash and gasses are being expelled
- Wear snug fitting goggles
- Keep an eye out for mudflows
- Do not shelter in buildings unless it is an. Absolute last resort
While floods are not seemingly as dramatic as a vicious tornado, they are the cause of some horrendous statistics. There are a multitude of causes for flooding, any which can strike nearly anywhere.
- Know if you reside in a flood zone
- Be aware of weather reports
- Sandbag exterior doors and window sills
- Move emergency supplies, pets, valuables and any other needs to the upper floors (this includes spare clothes and shoes)
- Stay tuned-in to weather reports
- Keep a constant eye on the rising water outside
- Do not drink floodwater
- If told to evacuate, take it very seriously
- If someone’s life is in danger, get onto the roof and signal for help
- Refrain from going outside until otherwise advised
- Do not be tempted to paddle in the floodwater as diseases can be contracted through the water
- Beware of glass and debris that may be scattering the ground under flood water (wear sturdy shoes)
- Check your houses drains carefully for blockage
If you are outside and you can feel your hair begin to stand on end, you can bet lightning is about to strike near you.
- Drop to the ground immediately and put your hands and knees to the ground. The hope is that the charge may bypass your heart by running through your limbs to the ground
- Stay clear of metal objects and structures
- Also stay away from a tree that may be standing alone, as it may act as a conductor
- Stay away from hilltops
- Find sanctuary in a low area with thick brush
Water, being the direst thing for human health, plays a major role in day to day life. Living long without simply can’t be done. Droughts are increasing in severity and these natural disasters are harder to fight.
- Refrain from wasting water
- If the local authorities say to not drink from the tap, don’t
- Do not use the toilet, though keep some water in the bowl
- You may have to settle for an outdoor latrine or a compostable toilet set up
- Re-use water as much as possible
- Try to eat foods that have a high moisture content
- Do your best to practice good hygiene despite the lack in water
Related article: Growing Food When Drought And Heat Are Constant Problems
History has proven that nearly any location can suddenly. Be hit with extreme cold and blizzards. Naturally, in some regions, this section will not apply. For those of you who know, a little preparation can go along way towards staying out of that winter bite.
- Check and re-check your home’s insulation
- Check for drafts around doors and windows
- Be sure your electric blankets are working good
- Make sure your heat source is serviced and in good shape
- Have plenty of food stored and ready. Food is the fuel our bodies need to keep running.
- Be sure to have plenty of cold weather clothing
- Stay tuned into weather reports
- Have emergency supplies at hand
- Stay in one room (where the most heat stays) and try to seal it off
- Still, allow ventilation
- Drink plenty of hot teas or coffees or cocoas and hot soups
- Shut down water mains if your pipes freeze up
- Refrain from opening your freezer or refrigerator is power goes out
If You Must Go Outside
- Wear appropriate clothing. Several thin layers are more effective than one thick one
- Do not go too hard; excessive physical activity mixed with extreme cold can literally kill you
- Stay away from any booze
- Beware of hypothermia, and know how to respond correctly to it
Concluding on natural disasters
No matter how extremely severe the disaster, always remember that panicking will get you nowhere but in trouble. It leads to disorganized thinking. Simply take a few breaths and get yourself under control. You must remain able to make logical assessments of the dangers going on around you during natural disasters.
Stay clear and don’t panic, you may just survive the ordeal!
This article has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.