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Disaster Preparedness a Must - Hurricanes, Fires, Floods, Tornadoes and Earthquakes Do Happen!

Updated on October 12, 2017
Cyndi10 profile image

The former executive director of a successful nonprofit agency now content specialist, Cynthia writes about a variety of topics.

Disaster preparedness can be crucial when a tornado is spotted.
Disaster preparedness can be crucial when a tornado is spotted. | Source

Don't Just Think About It, Do Something About Preparing for Natural Disaster

While many people think about disaster preparedness, they usually think a natural disaster will happen to someone else, so they never get past thinking about natural disaster preparedness. As recent storms like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have shown us, being prepared for disasters is a must, not just something to think about.

Earth is a violent planet in nearly every part of the globe, in all seasons. It has destructive tornadoes in spring in the US, frightful hurricanes and cyclones in the summer and fall in the Pacific and the Atlantic, blizzards in winter and earthquakes and raging fires at any time in many countries. When people do take action, it is often because they are forced to and the storm is on top of them, and, unfortunately, by then it may be too little too late.

Television, with real time and minute by minute global reporting, shows us how quickly we could become part of a natural disaster.

Still, with all the attention disasters receive in the media, according to a survey by the 2009 Citizens Corps a sampling of 4,461 U.S. households, only 44% reported having an actual disaster plan in place and only 57% had supplies set aside in case of emergency.

Random acts of nature at any given time are good reasons for disaster preparedness plans to be in place long before they are needed. To help bring attention to the necessity and urgency, each year, the United States sets aside one week in the spring to highlight the need for everyone to make or review their personal emergency disaster plans in case of tornadoes. In September 2013, the United States set aside the entire month to alert the population of the need for disaster preparedness.

Practical Disaster Preparedness Tips

  1. Have a way for the family to gather if they are in separate places when disaster strikes. Have a designated meeting spot that everyone is aware of It may be that you will only be able to locate everyone virtually or there may be not way to contact others if all communication is down. Consider as many scenarios as possible when making your plans. The earthquake in Japan and the tsunami that followed demonstrated just how easily families can become separated for days before they are able to contact each other. Those days were agony for anyone who experienced that kind of disaster.
  2. Having a designated meeting spot during for is also important in case of a fire. That may prevent someone running back into a burning building to search for a loved one.
  3. Learn the emergency plans for your children's schools and the plans for the place of employment for both you and your spouse. Share these plans with other family members.
  4. Do you live in an area that is regularly prone to violent storms or tornadoes, and you have no storm cellar or basement? Consider putting in a safe room. Short of that, a windowless, interior room is the next best option. If you need to use that interior room, be sure to grab something to shield yourself and your loved ones, such as pillows, a mattress, if that can be managed, even heavy quilts and put on any kind of helmet you may have.
  5. When flooding and the threat of flash flooding is the emergency, get to higher ground as soon as humanly possible. You may not have time to grab much of anything in a flash flood, but with today's weather technology, it's possible to know when that threat exists and you can be ready to take action.
  6. To survive a disaster that cuts you off from the rest of the community, such as a snow or ice storm, the general advice is that your plan should include having on hand enough supplies, food and water to last at least three days. More is better as the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have demonstrated to clearly. Enough water for you and the rest of your family should be calculated at a gallon of water per person, per day. When you have ample warning of the storm, fill prescriptions if you are running low. With the new storms we seem to be having now, always have at least a two week supply.
  7. Include your pet as you plan for food, water and sanitation. Hurricane Katrina resulted in the forced abandonment of many pets.
  8. Have lots of hand sanitizer in your kit if flooding may be an issue or you anticipate being cut off from fresh water as the people going through the aftermath of recent hurricanes. With hand sanitizer you will at least have a way to clean your hands and other parts of your body to help prevent infection or spread of disease.
  9. Consider purchasing a generator if the area you live in is prone to electrical outages during a storm. Immediately prior to snow events or hurricanes, sales of generators may go up.Be prepared, buy ahead of any predictions. If you are forced to use the generator, use precautions. In addition, remember that it takes gas to run them and if the electricity is out, so are the gas pumps! Fill up spare containers advance.
  10. Have insurance documents and other important papers accessible and stored in waterproof and fireproof containers. For extra precaution, store copies in your bank's safe deposit box. There may be a small charge for this (and sometimes, no charge) but for peace of mind, it is worth it to know that you will have access to your documents. For added security, scan them and store them in the cloud.
  11. Have your cell phones charged and your gas tank full. Put your cell phones in plastic bags to keep them dry. Your flashlights (or other portable light source) should be ready with lots of extra batteries. Consider investing in hand cranked or solar chargers. Also have emergency cash on hand. If the electricity is out, so are the ATMs.
  12. Consider purchasing or assembling your emergency kit that is appropriate for the types of disasters you area may be prone to. Have a weather radio or even a battery operated tv.
  13. Last, something you may not think about, have your car keys handy. Also have your credit cards and your identification such as driver's license and social security card in plastic bags and on your person.


Although not stressed as much, it is advisable to include in your disaster preparedness plans a review of the steps you have taken to protect and save your family mementos, pictures and documents. Measures should be taken to protect those items that mean a lot to you are irreplaceable. This could include your writings as well as your photos, videos and small family heirlooms.

Just as I have, I'm sure you've seen interviews with disaster survivors. They effusively give thanks and gratitude for being alive, but they also lament the loss of those family mementos that can never be replaced and will be missed. The scenes repeat over and over, as victims pick through their belongings and sadly settle on those few ruined photo albums. Your heirlooms, whether they are pictures, jewelry or some other items, are a connection to your heritage and can be very important to the healing process after a disaster. They can help psychologically ground you in the face of so much chaos.

Thankfully, with today's technology, you can save the pictures or videos of the birth of your children, your family reunion including the speech your ninety year old grandmother made and any multitude of events that make up your life and you captured on film. Find out the best way to use the cloud to store your pictures and videos. Transfer copies to your computer and keep it handy.

If saving your writings is a concern, keep them safe in the cloud as well. If your computer is a laptop, keep it close, if you can, and when you have been given forewarning about and impending possible disaster.

Safety is paramount when weather events are predicted or even when disasters, such as fires, happen without warning. Having a disaster plan can mitigate some of the hardship and dangers that are inherent in disasters.

Hurricane Season 2017

This has been a tremendously devastating season for people in the path of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. It is difficult to assess the damage that has been done and what impact preparation may have had. Pictures that have come in from Puerto Rico, the island of Barbuda, Dominica, St Croix and others have shown unprecedented devastation. It is hoped that preparation helped individuals to mitigate their losses at least some. On the other hand, as with fires that develop suddenly, sometimes you can only get out with your life!

Resources for Disaster Preparedness

© 2014 Cynthia B Turner


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    • Cyndi10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia B Turner 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Shyron, Yes, we can be gone in the blink of an eye. It is good to have a plan to also save our mementos and writing when we are able to survive. Thank you so much for leaving a comment.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Cyndi, I am not worried about the storms, I know that it can be the most beautiful day and I can be relaxing in a lounge outside or anywhere, when my time on earth is up, I am gone. But.... to avoid being injured, I thank you for the useful ideas.


    • Cyndi10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Mel, I'm glad you think you would find the hub useful and maybe even will nudge you to getting a little prepared.:) We have a lot of tornado threats in the area during the spring. Nothing like the midwest, but enough to make you think of having some things together and in place. Take care.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      6 years ago from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado

      I am sad to report I am not among the 44% who are ready for disasters, but your hub certainly would be a good guide to use for getting ready for the unexpected. Great job!

    • Cyndi10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      I agree, it is bad to lose your intellectual property. I don't leave any of my devices hooked to electricity when a storm is brewing. Lightening somehow gets around surge protectors. Be creative!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      6 years ago from West By God

      Me too. I have lots of stuff on my computer and would die if I lost it all. I have been there though and lost everything once. We were having a thunderstorm and we saw the lightening and before I could shut my computer down (Microsoft is so slow to do that too) the lightening went through the telephone lines and fried my computer.

    • Cyndi10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Lady Guinevere, I have not gone back yet, but will check it now.

      Thanks so much for leaving a comment about being prepared for disasters. Many people don't think it will happen to them. It seems to be the way we are wired. I try to follow what I've written, but I'm not sure I have all bases covered. There is a lot of my writing that is not on the computer and I would hate to loose it.

      Take care!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      6 years ago from West By God

      Thanks so much for this hub. It is wise to be prepared for anything. I did leave a response to your comment on my hub about gardening anywhere. I do not know if you got it or not.

    • Cyndi10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Sherry, I hope that the season is a very mild one if there has to be one at all. Cloud storage can make a huge difference when it comes to pictures and other important documents. Technology today make it possible to hold onto a few things when faced with a disaster.

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Take care.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Fire season is beginning in California. My family lost all of our photos in a fire when I was a child. Cloud storage is a great idea for backing up those precious memories.

    • Cyndi10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Genna, We do seem to be experiencing so many more disasters. We all should be prepared even if the area we live in has not been prone to natural disasters in the past. Hopefully some of the suggestions will help. Visiting the Red Cross site is also a plus. Take care/

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      This is a very timely hub given the natural disasters we seem to be experiencing at an alarmingly increasing rate. You have provided very sensible and helpful info. Thank you.

    • Cyndi10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      There definitely seems to be a change in the weather. That's one of the reason I wrote the article. It seems that these storms are intensifying and spreading over larger areas when they happen. Waiting and denial does not keep disasters from occurring. Everyone should have a plan of some kind. Thanks for reading and sharing.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      6 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      There seem to be a distinct change in the weather pattern over the last few years. This is a very useful hub, we don't think about disasters until it's to late. I saw a documentary about the Japanese tsunami recently, even as the water poured inland to surround the people, they still couldn't take in how dangerous the situation was, unfortunately, for many, by the time they realized the danger, it was far too late. Excellent write, up and sharing.

    • Cyndi10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Hello MG, Yes. Being prepared is one way to help lesson the effects of a catastrophe a bit and most of all, possibly keep you safe. Glad you found it useful.

    • Cyndi10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Frank, Good to see you too. I haven't been around as much, but coming back.

      Thanks for taking a read. You are so right. The weather is so extreme lately. Very scary. Take care!

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 

      6 years ago from UAE

      Disaster management is the most important thing these days. Good you highlighted it

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      this country is having all types of weather.. tips and hubs like this one are so important thanks for sharing Cyndii and good to see you :)


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