It seems that this year was one of the most awful ones for many fellow Americans due to some of the worst natural disasters ever recorded. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and many of the wildfires going strong even today showed us how helpless we are when facing Mother Nature’s fury. To help you survive natural disasters here are eight important things to consider.
Most natural disasters occur with little to no warning and most people fail to realize how quickly they can develop. Even when all weather stations send warnings, they underestimate the full blow or aftermath caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes, blizzards, floods and wildfires.
Perhaps the latest natural disasters we’ve all witnessed this year have sparked an important question in your mind: Is my family prepared to survive natural disasters?
To help you figure out what you should do if your region is prone to natural disaster, here are my recommendations.
Eight ways to survive Natural Disasters
1. Have a backup plan
Having an escape plan should be common sense, but having a backup plan for it is what will increase your chances of survival. If you are preparedness like-minded, you probably already have an escape or bug out plan. However, few people actually bother to have an alternative solution in case things don’t go as planned. No matter how tough you think you are, it will become difficult to think logically if you’re bug out plan fails or if you find yourself stuck. You will be confronted with a variety of emotions during natural disasters and having a backup plan will ensure your safety.
Suggested reading: Mistakes To Avoid When Bugging Out
Your bug out plan should have at least two alternative escape routes and out of town contacts in different regions. You will need a place where your family and friends can meet you if communications are down. At the most basic core, your evacuation procedure should cover alternative routes, resources and projection of resources loss, but also transportation and a second method of transportation.
I have a friend in Portugal and he told me that during the wildfires that hit his country this year a lot of people died meaninglessly. They didn’t plan for an alternative way of escaping their region and got trapped on the roads. All it took was an accident and more than 50 people were burned alive, trapped in their cars.
2. Dress for the coming weather
You should always dress appropriately for natural disasters because the weather can drastically change in a matter of hours. In colder climates, you should layer up and most importantly, you should include a waterproof hell. Getting wet can quickly lower the body temperature and you will succumb to hypothermia. You can always take clothes off if you get hot, but don’t assume you will find something along the way if you live your spare clothes behind.
People leave in a hurry and they assume that more clothing can be purchased after the natural disasters are over. However, it could be too late by then since you can’t precisely predict when a natural disaster will no longer pose problems.
3. It’s all about the water during survival
You can live from your body fat for quite some time, but your water requirements will vary based on your activity level and temperature during natural disasters. Even a single day without water can prove daily in an emergency situation. Not to mention that when you are stressed and you realize that you are not prepared for an emergency, you will tend to drink from any available source. A mini water filter is a compact and lightweight item that will save you a lot of trouble if you bring it along.
Drinking from unknown sources without taking precautionary measures is unwise. The water may seem safe to drink at first glance, but it may be contaminated by microbes. They are not visible to the naked eye and they can lead to gastrointestinal trauma and in some cases, even death.
It’s wise to store jugs of water everywhere you can and rotate them often to maintain freshness. If you don’t have enough storage space, get your hands on some last-minute emergency water storage solutions, like the WaterBOB. If you get warned by possible natural disasters coming your way, you should have enough time to gather potable water.
4. Assemble a proper Bug-out Bag
You may say that this is elementary and that everyone should know this. I completely agree that this is a necessary item to survive natural disasters. However, the problem with most bug-out bags is that they are incomplete, store-bought or outdated. People will make one, place it on hand and forget about it. It’s like an insurance policy and we don’t pay attention to it once we’ve made one.
Some of my prepper friends keep referring to their bug-out bags as living organisms. They state that every bug out bag grows with the person owning it and that each bag has special needs. Although this comparison may seem an extreme one, I firmly believe they are right. You shouldn’t forget to check your bug out bag every once in a while since you might want to update it.
If the kids are growing, you need new clothes for them. If you store water and food in your bag, you should check the expiration date. Most importantly, you should make sure that your bug-out bag is updated for every coming season. This article is an eye-opener for many preppers when it comes to their bug-out bags:
5. Ration your bug-out supplies
If you’re planning to bug out, you should also think about spare resources and ration them accordingly. It’s easy to plow through your food like it’s a holiday dinner in the heat of the moment. Since you never know how long adversity will last, you might want to think about rationing your supplies. This will ensure you have enough for the duration of the natural disasters.
To make sure you don’t run out early, you can also store some supplies in the trunk of your bug-out vehicle. Even if you’re forced to abandon your car, you can hide it on the side of the road and return later on to re-stock. Running out of supplies when you are bugging-out could mean the difference between life and death.
6. Don’t forget about pets and other animals
When Puerto Rico was hit by hurricane Maria a lot of animals died because people forgot about them. It broke my heart seeing horses tied to poles, drowning due to high waves hitting the island. While horses and other large animals are harder to be evacuated compared to cats and dogs, you should at least give them a fighting chance. If you can’t bring them along, set them free and let them fend for themselves.
Regardless of what disaster may strike the area I live in, I can’t think of living my dog behind and I can honestly say, I will do everything in my powers to keep it safe. A pet is an important emotional support (especially if you have kids) and it can make your life easier when things go south. Learning about how to save your pet during a disaster will provide some peace of mind and it will make sure your family is complete and ready to face whatever the future may bring.
7. Stay put if you missed your chance of bugging out
It’s all about timing and perspective when you’re bugging out. Most survival experts agree that the first hour is critical during the evacuation procedure. If you wait to see how the natural disasters will develop, you might as well hunker down. You will not be able to predict what lies ahead and taking unnecessary risks should be avoided.
Of course that this all depends on the type of disaster you are facing. If a wildfire is threatening your safety, you should follow the evacuation orders without a doubt. Regardless of what natural disasters you are fleeing from, there is always the urge to come back. People can’t help it and they want to check on their homes and belongings.
It’s smarter to stay in a safe place until the authorities inform everyone that it’s safe to return. Many people got electrocuted during floods because they returned home, trying to save their belongings.
Natural disasters can worsen and develop more rapidly when you least expect it. Be smart about it and don’t be caught in the open. Your life is worth much more than a couch or big screen TV.
8. Make yourself seen and heard
If you stay put and you no longer can evacuate, you should learn how to signal for help. Signaling for help properly will provide a huge support to the rescue teams and you will be saved faster.
For example, a flood situation may quickly develop and people are pushed higher and higher in their houses. Most of them seek refuge on a second floor, but sometimes that’s not enough. The tide may rise beyond your ability to escape and you will have to go on the roof to have a chance of making it.
I’ve seen people setting up tents on the roof while waiting for rescue teams and I’ve seen people taking refuge in their attic. If you plan to use the attic, make sure you have a way of escape without having to go back below. Keep some tools at hand to break out of your attic if you are forced to do so.
Use brightly colored pain to write SOS or HELP on the roof of your hose and flash colored clothes to raise awareness. Even a flashlight can be used successfully at night to signal for help during natural disasters. You can also use roadside flares (battery-operated ones) and all sorts of sound equipment to help being spotted by search parties. The goal here is to make a noticeable rescue signal before the natural disasters develop to the point of no return.
Waking up to natural disasters heading your way is not a pretty picture. People falsely believe that if their region is above sea level or in the mountains, they will eventually be OK. However, Mother Nature can prove us wrong as we have seen many times.
In some cases, the rising waters of a flood can cause more damage and take more lives than the actual hurricane that caused the flooding. Natural disasters are unpredictable, but you can plan and prepare for them properly without much effort. These suggestions should be considered if you want to have a fighting chance.