How To Prepare For Natural Disasters And Hazards

Natural disaster & hazards can lead to terrible consequences if not fully prepared. Here are general suggestions on how to be properly prepared to weather nature's upheavals.

Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes can be devastating. Even more devastating are the consequences of not being fully prepared. Below are some of the general suggestions for disaster preparedness.

Always keep a supply of food and water available. Choose foods which do not require cooking or refrigeration. Also keep on hand covered containers which may be used to store fresh water. After a flood, discard any food that may have come in contact with flood water. Boil any water for ten minutes before using.

Always keep a battery-powered radio to keep abreast of any warnings or weather alerts. Have several flashlights readily available. Keep a supply of batteries on hand and store in a waterproof container.

Keep important papers and insurance policies in a safe place where they will be easy to find if home must be evacuated. If pets must be left behind, make sure that they are put in the safest place possible with a supply of food and water. If not required to evacuate, keep indoors and stay tuned to news and weather programs for updates on conditions.

When returning home after evacuation take special care. Live power lines may be hidden under standing water or debris. Do not use open flames when entering the home since ruptured gas lines might be leaking. Be careful when walking since walls and floors may be unstable.

Below are more specific safety suggestions for each of these types of natural disasters.


If time permits, clean all bathtubs and sinks with bleach and then fill with fresh water. Move as much furniture as possible and valuables to a higher floor, if possible. Turn off electricity and open windows to allow water to move freely through the home. This will help to keep the home from being carried away by high flood waters.

Immediately move to higher ground and stay there until waters recede.


If inside when an earthquake strikes, stay away from all windows, chimneys and tall furniture. If your home has a heavy desk or stairway, take shelter under them. If outside during an earthquake, try to move to an open area. Avoid high buildings, walls and power lines. If in a car, try to drive to an open area.


A tornado or hurricane watch is an alert to conditions that indicate that one of these storms may occur. When alerted, stay tuned to local weather information for instructions and updates. If there is a sighting, take shelter immediately in a basement or room near the center of the house under some heavy piece of furniture. Make sure that some windows are open but do not take shelter near them.

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