Disaster Preparedness For Your Home
Natural disasters can strike suddenly and fiercely. When we are unprepared, it can wreak havoc on our homes and families. Without adequate supplies or a safety plan, natural disaster victims can find themselves starving or dehydrated, sick, or dangerously chilled. Even beyond this, insufficient planning can leave personal belongings ruined. A standard emergency kit should contain sufficient rations for every person in the household for at least three days. This includes clean water (for drinking and washing), non-perishable foods, and a first aid kit. Additional useful tools include a can opener, flashlights, candles and matches, blankets, portable radio, pocketknife, roll of duct tape, and extra batteries. Since ATM machines are often inaccessible during emergency situations, it is helpful to keep some cash on hand. Finally, a cell phone and charger should also be included to help contact others if necessary. By developing a safety plan for the household and stocking up on emergency supplies, people can give themselves the best chance possible for surviving a disaster.
Hurricane warnings are often issued early enough that people have sufficient time to fortify their homes and collect any necessary survival supplies. Those in a hurricane zone should regularly check the radio or weather reports. When a hurricane is forecasted, secure the home with storm shutters and strong plywood boards or straps to minimize the damage. Pick a safe underground shelter or evacuate the area in advance. Those planning to stay in the area should stock up on food, water, medical supplies and other emergency items. Plan to be secured within the shelter well ahead of the time when the hurricane is predicted to strike.
- Weathering a Hurricane (PDF)
- A Guide to Preparing for Hurricanes
- Hurricane Emergency Kits and Family Plans
- Staying Safe Before, During and After a Hurricane (PDF)
People who live in tornado zones should have a designated shelter area that they can easily go to when a tornado is spotted. This shelter should be properly stocked with an emergency kit and food rations. During a tornado, people should stay away from open outdoor areas, high indoor levels, and windows. If this is not possible, find cover behind large, heavy furniture or under a thick rug. The aim is to stay clear of places where debris and glass shards are likely to fly.
- A Brochure on Tornado Preparedness (PDF)
- Tornado Alerts and Seeking Shelter
- Tornado Preparedness Tips (PDF)
- Tornado Preparedness Guide for Families (PDF)
When a flood is forecasted, it is best to evacuate the area early on. People who cannot exercise this option should take shelter in a high level area. They should stock up on clean drinking water, canned or packaged foods that do not need cooking, and a standard emergency kit. The house can be prepared in advance with large amounts of plastic sheets, sandbags, or plywood boards to minimize water damage. Turn off the electrical supply in advance to avoid shocks and outages.
- How to Be Prepared Before a Flood
- Flood and Recovery Resources
- Flood Safety Tips
- Preparing for Potential Floods
During a hail storm, it is best to prepare by moving all personal belongings into a sheltered area. This includes vehicles, garden tools, and anything else that might otherwise be left outside. Windows can be secured with large wooden boards or by placing tape over the glass to prevent flying shards. During the storm, it is best for everyone to stay indoors. Keep a portable radio on hand to check the latest updates about the storm.
- Hail Storm Safety Tips
- Hail Storm Disaster Kit
- Hail Storm Facts and Safety Information (PDF)
- Staying Safe During Hail Storms
Weather stations are often able to predict snowstorms well in advance, giving people adequate time to prepare. As with hailstorms, it is best to stay indoors. Pets should also be brought inside. Snowstorms can often result in power outages. To account for this, keep a portable non-electrical heat generator on hand, along with plenty of warm clothes and blankets. Since snowstorms can last a long time and block roads, it is highly advised to keep a ready supply of food, water, and medication indoors. Do not head outdoors or try to drive during the storm. The poor visibility and extreme cold temperature can make it easy to get lost or disoriented. It is also advisable to know how to treat hypothermia and frostbite, in case anyone is affected by the temperature.