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How To Be Prepared For Natural Weather Disasters

Updated on February 27, 2010

Preparing for catastrophic weather is a little like doing your taxes: There's no pleasure in it, but the potential consequences of failing to prepare are a lot more painful than the activity itself.

People need to take the weather seriously. First, you've got to keep yourself informed. Having a weather-warning radio is absolutely critical for everyone living in an area that's susceptible to severe weather. Second, keep yourself prepared.

Severe weather disasters such as hurricanes and avalanches affect only certain areas of the United States. But tornadoes have touched down in all 50 states, and severe thunderstorms are a possible threat in many parts of the country. So don't make the mistake of thinking "it can't happen here."

What you learn in this Hub could save your family and your home.

Preparing for Your Family's Safety

If a natural disaster does strike, everyone in the family will feel calmer and better able to cope if you've already discussed what to do in case of emergency and formulated a disaster plan.

Here's How to Go About It:

  • Begin by doing some research. Do you know what disasters are likely to affect your community? Call your regional Red Cross chapter or local emergency management office to find out and to request information on how to prepare. Ask what kind of warning signals are used and what they sound like. And find out what the agency recommends you do with your pets in the event of an emergency (animals may not be allowed in emergency shelters).
  • Talk to those in charge at your children's school or daycare center and at your workplace to find out what disaster plans have been made. Ask whether your children's teachers are using the Red Cross Masters of Disaster curriculum, which includes disaster preparedness information tailored to kids from kindergarten through eighth grade. If not, the school system can buy the curriculum from any Red Cross chapter.
  • Based on what you learn from local agencies, and what you read here, develop a disaster plan and hold a family meeting to explain your preparations.
  • Talk about what kinds of disasters are most likely to occur in your area, but do so calmly, without frightening your children.
  • Make sure everyone understands the difference between a watch and a warning. A tornado watch, for example, means that there's a possibility tornadoes will form. A warning is more serious, indicating that a tornado has been sighted or picked up on weather radar.
  • In case of disasters such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, during which you're safest inside, designate a well-protected room as a shelter and make sure children understand that this is where they need to be when severe weather warnings are issued.
  • In case of sudden emergencies, such as fire, choose a spot outside your house where everyone will meet. Also choose a meeting place outside the neighborhood, in case family members can't go back home. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of this "safe spot."

Continued In How To Be Prepared For Natural Weather Disasters Part 2

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