The top disaster scenarios that kill people in the United Sates are floods, storms and earthquakes, wildfires and even epidemics. In disasters, most people killed – 63 percent – are due to storms. Most people affected by disaster at one time are those who are experiencing flooding. From natural disasters to terrorist attacks, there are things you can do to help keep you and your family safe. Here are six disaster preparedness tips to help you safely survive.
Disaster Preparedness Tips
1. Always Have Three Ways Out
No matter where you find yourself, you should keep three ways of escape in the back of your mind. Disasters of all types often come with little to no warning, and getting trapped is a major risk. Whether you are at home in your living room, at a meeting at work on the 30th floor of an office building, or at a concert to see your favorite band, you should always have three ways out. This is known as tertiary redundancy and is one of the most valuable disaster preparedness tips you can learn.
You have a primary, secondary and tertiary means of escape. Apply this idea indoors and out to prevent being trapped. If you find yourself in a situation with only one way out, your threat risk has elevated to unacceptable.
The reasons forts were popular during military engagements are because they provided protections and safety from the enemy. Fortifications provide protection during disasters. It is why fallout shelters were popular during the height of the cold war. It is why families have tornado shelters in Kansas.
Fortifications need to be designed according to your disaster risk profile. If you are in an area prone to earthquakes, you want to be in a building fortified to withstand a quake. If you are in a crime risk area, you want a safe room in your dwelling to be able to retreat to. In flood-prone areas, you need quick access to a shelter on higher ground, and a fortification that floats (a boat) would be beneficial. Overall, disaster preparedness tips often fail to mention how fortifications make you a hard target, which increases your chances of surviving disaster.
3. Skills Training
If you only remember one of these disaster preparedness tips, it should be this one. Skills training imparts to you knowledge that can be called upon in any disaster scenario or situation. A lot of skills training teaches you how to respond quickly and without having to waste valuable time considering what-if questions.
Probably the most valuable skills that can be used in every disaster situation are medical skills. Knowing how to maintain the ABCs (Airway, Breathing and Circulation) of life when doctors, hospitals and emergency services are overwhelmed or incapacitated can save your life as well as family members’ lives. Begin with Red Cross first aid and CPR training, and build your skill sets from there.
4. Redundant GO Bags
Whether you call them bug-out bags or GO bags, they are just a collection of necessary items in an easy-to-transport container kept in convenient locations. They contain basic survival items needed for your situation and location.
Your GO bag at work may contain, in addition to other items, sweats and pair of boots to be able to evacuate on foot without trying to do it in heels and a skirt. A GO bag in your car should contain clothing and footwear for the climate and terrain as well as a temperature-stable calorie source and potable water. Home GO bags should contain enough items to survive three days with minimal shelter and public grid sources. If you rely on medications, find a way to keep backups close by and safe. Do not forget to cycle them out for a fresh supply before expiration.
5. Carry a Light
On September 11, 2001 when the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, how much value do you think could have been placed on a tiny flashlight to help survivors navigate through the blackness, debris and smoke? Tiny, yet powerful, LED flashlights are reliable, bright and run a long time on a set of batteries. This makes them them one of the easiest disaster preparedness tips to carry out. There are even military grade tactical models that are battle tested. However, instead of plunking down all your money on one fancy light you might forget at home, a bunch of cheaper ones located in all the places you may find yourself in makes more sense.
Keep them in your car, at your desk at work, in your backpack, briefcase or purse, and maybe stow one in your pocket. Penlights that are actual pens and lights are still available and extremely valuable in a disaster situation. Alternate safe lighting for sheltering in place at home is beneficial too.
6. Maintain Emergency Backups
Professional operators, whether they be international spies or just savvy moms who want to have all their ducks in a row, have backups of important things available in case primary sources fail. You should have backup copies of everything from your banking information to insurance policies and birth certificates available off site from where your primary originals are stored. Some cash and other supplies kept off site from your dwelling can help you too.
If you keep important papers in a safe at home, then you should have copies at a trusted location outside of your geographic disaster zone. For example, if you live in a wildfire area, you do not want your backups kept at your neighbor’s house that is equally as vulnerable to fire as your house is. If you rely on medications, health equipment or other such things, maintain backups off site as well. Do not rely on medical services being available during a time of disaster.
These are fundamental disaster preparedness tips that deal with planning and skills more than gadgets. Disaster gear can be compromised in a moment. Your stored up supply of food and water can be instantly wiped out in a disaster. In conclusion, being able to move quickly away from a disaster area with just the basics is most helpful in most disaster situations.
Share your own thoughts and experiences with disaster situations. What do you think will get you through a disaster? Do you think you should rely more on gear or skills? Share your best disaster preparedness tips to help others survive.