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Preparing For Natural Disasters

Updated on March 13, 2012

Prepare For a Natural Disaster?

A natural disaster by definition is a hazard which occurs naturally and not by acts of human beings, examples such as Avalanches, Blizzards, Cyclones, Earthquakes, Floods, Landslides, Heat Waves, Storms, Tornadoes, Tsunamis, Volcanic Eruptions, Wildfires and even Famines. To be officially classified as a natural disaster it must make a profound environmental effect, extreme financial burden or substantial human loss of life.

Now that you know the definition of a natural disaster, how prepared are you if one happens in your area? Don't panic if you are not, the following are all great ways to have you prepared in no time.

Top Five Worst Natural Disasters Since 2004

The following are the top five natural disasters since 2004 and all have had significant impact on the environment, the people and the policies on how natural disasters are prepared for and handled around the world in the future.

#1 2010 Haiti Earthquake

On Tuesday January 12th, 2010 there was a 7.0 magnitude earthquake 16 miles west of Port-au-Prince which is Haiti's capital city. The damage to Haiti was more severe because Haiti was already a third world country and did not have many structures that were built to withstand a earthquake let alone a major earthquake with a 7.0 reading. Adding to the damage, there were over 50+ aftershocks over the next 12 days that measured 4.5 or greater. The death toll estimates are over 316,000 and there were also more then 300,000 injured and the true death total may never be known since thousands of people were buried in mass graves by government workers. Aid workers had a incredibly difficult time getting around in the country because of the destruction or getting the much needed medical supplies approved by the government and this also made a huge impact on how many lives were able to be saved.

#2 2004 Indonesian Earthquake and Tsunami

On Sunday December 26th, 2004 there was a 9.1 to 9.3 magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean which was just off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. This huge earthquake caused a tsunami that devastated Indonesia and caused a estimated 230,000 plus people to lose their lives. The tsunami's from this quake had waves that have been estimated to be above 30 feet tall and that reached up to 14 countries. The result of this death toll made the 2004 Indonesian earthquake and tsunami one of the deadliest natural disasters in history and the earthquake itself with a 9.1 to 9.3 magnitude has been given the title of the third largest on record. Worldwide contributions totaled more then $14 billion dollars and there were significant changes made to how the world handled tsunamis warnings and alerts.

#3 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

On Friday March 11th, 2011 there was a 8.9 magnitude earthquake 231 miles northeast of Tokyo, Japan. This earthquake was the fifth largest in the world and the largest to ever hit Japan. The earthquake caused a tsunami which hit the Japan coastline in under a hour from the initial quake. Because of the earthquake and the tsunami the Japanese government declared emergencies for the nuclear power plants along the battered coast city of Sendai. The death toll of this natural disaster is estimated to be near 20,000 but the true death toll may never be known because of whole towns being washed away in the over 30 foot tall waves of destruction. Japan did not suffer a bigger blow from these horrific chain of events because of the great preparedness in building structures that are able to withstand earthquakes and by sounding alarms that a tsunami was coming thus giving some people the chance to seek higher grounds. *at the time of this writing this natural disaster is still underway so the death toll may be even higher and the nuclear radiation event is still unfolding.

#4 2008 Cyclone Nargis

On May 2nd, 2008 a cyclone made landfall in Myanmar causing total destruction and a death toll of over 90,000 people. This death toll may be much higher but the Burmese government was incredibly hard for the world to deal with to get any aid workers in to completely assess the damage of the true amount of the dead. It has been reported that the government also stopped keeping track of the dead after they reached the 138,000 mark to minimize the political fallout from their actions or lack there of in accepting aid from foreign countries. Damage estimates were over $10 billion dollars which made this the most damaging cyclone to ever be recorded. Relief was also slowed because of a record breaking 7.9 magnitude earthquake in China ten days after the cyclone hit.

#5 2008 China Sichuan Earthquake

On May 12th, 2008 there was a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan which is a province of China. This earthquake known as the "Sichuan Earthquake" or the "Great Sichuan Earthquake" and caused a death toll of over 68,000 people and also injured more then 374,000 people. An estimated 4.8 million people were left homeless which could be much higher in numbers since 11 million people resided in the affected area prior to the earthquake. This major earthquake was the deadliest quake to hit China since 1976 and caused several very strong aftershocks of over 6.0 magnitude. This remains one of the worst natural disasters to ever happen in China and the government has since announced it would spend a whopping 1 trillion dollars to rebuild the damaged areas.

Tornadoes Cause Serious Damage!

Tornadoes are a serious threat, just take a peek at some of these eyewitness videos posted on YouTube.

Top Five Items to Have In a Home Emergency Supply Kit

Every home should have a home emergency supply kit in case of a disaster or other emergency type situation. We should have all learned a good lesson by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and it is wise to be prepared for such an occasion.

#1 Water

By rule of thumb you should have a gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days. This is relatively cheap and easy to store in a basement or the back of a closet.

#2 Food

You will want to stick to non-perishable foods and have a three day supply per person in Kit. Keep in mind that this is survival food and don't go overboard with too much food, everyone can get by with a much smaller amount then the everyday norm unless there is a health problem like diabetes. You will also want to make sure to have a cheap can opener to open the food and a few plastic bags for refuse.

#3 Basic First Aid Kit

The home emergency kit should always have a basic first aid set at the minimum in case anyone in the family has cuts, scrapes or burns. Make sure it has bandages in all different sizes, thermometer, dressings, sterile gloves, medications and a tube of triple antibiotic to prevent infections.

#4 Batteries and Flashlights

Once a year you should change the batteries in your kit to maintain their freshness and make sure to have at least two working flashlights also. Another item to consider is tape and plastic which there are many uses for if need be in a emergency.

#5 Basic Tool Set

You may need to turn off plumbing or other utilities in an emergency so it is a wise idea to have a wrench, screw drivers and some duct tape in your kit.

Hurricanes Are Dangerous!

Hurricanes are so very dangerous, just take a peek at some of these eyewitness videos on YouTube.

Top Five Ways to Stay Safe

Being prepared and having a plan for most emergency situations is the best way to start being safe. These five things are in my opinion the best ways to start being safe.

#1 Plan Ahead

Get out a whistle and stop watch and have a safety drill at home once every six months with your family. Explain to everyone in the home the type of emergency, how to get out and where to meet on the outside of your house. You never know when an emergency will strike and being prepared is a key element to your families survival.

#2 Pack a Emergency Kit

Make a list of the most important items you would need in case of an emergency and place these items in a container clearly marked with "Home Emergency Kit". Let everyone in the house know where this kit is and place it in an easily accessible by all place.

#3 Home Security System

If you can afford a home security system, that is a great idea and a good investment. If you can not afford the extra expense of a security system, act like you do have one. Buy a sticker, magnet or sign that says "This Home is Secured" or "Beware of Dog", there is no harm in telling a small fib if it helps keep the intruders out. The statistics show that most criminals will bypass the secured home and move on to the easier home down the block.

#4 Fire Safety

Let fireman and police know that you have animals by getting a sticker for a window that says "Save my Beagle". Keep in mind that while you may be at work, your little dog is at home and has no way to escape an electrical fire.

#5 Smoke Detectors

Check your batteries and check them often. A good rule of thumb is check them on the 1st of every month as you change the calendar ahead a month, this is a great way of remembering. Checking all the smoke detectors in the house is a five minute process and it could save your life or someone you love someday.

Quick Safety Tip

If you have pets, make sure that they also have a home emergency kit for their survival since they are a big part of your family.

Five Things Parents Should Teach Their Children About Natural Disasters

The world seems to have one natural disaster after another lately and that makes this the perfect time to teach your children about what it means to be prepared for any such emergency that hits close to home. Depending on a child's age there are always great ways to get children involved and make sure that they feel confident about what the family would do if there was ever a natural disaster in their little corner of the world. This is also a great time to build character in your child by teaching them how to handle themselves in a crisis situation and that is a valuable lesson they can use over and over in life. If there is one thing that we all know for sure it is that there will always be natural disasters and that man even with all the great technology available today still has very little to do with accurate predictions of them.

#1 Prepare Ahead of Time

Even a very small child can be prepared ahead of time for a emergency by talking to them about where to meet in case of a emergency, how to dial "911" for help and where to find the home emergency kit. Children feel much more safe if they are able to ask a slew of questions, receive good information and have clear directions on where to meet up with their parent if there was ever a emergency that had them leaving the home fast, such as a fire. Children also love to help and feel involved to get them into the process by running safety drills at your home or helping you with the supply list of what is needed for a home safety kit. Also, let your child include a comfort item that makes them feel safe even if you think it is not a necessity because it will ease their mind about if that time ever comes. This is also a great time to talk about what your family will do if any such natural disaster happens while they are at school or home alone, lay out clear plans on who will pick up the children or what they should do if they are home alone.

#2 Remain Calm

Even adults have a difficult time remaining calm during a natural disaster, just imagine how children feel especially when they see their parent overwhelmed and scared for the first time in their lives. A good time to talk about unknown such events is before they happen, let your child know that if any such natural disaster ever happened it is important more then ever during that time to listen to you and any other emergency personnel that may try to help them and remain calm. Explain to them that nothing good can come from panicking and that remaining calm will help them remember all the good information you gave them. This is also the time to go over all the ways of being noticed in a emergency such as waving something from a window or spelling S.O.S. with household items.

#3 Help Others

Another talk to have with your children is one about helping others that are going through a natural disaster. This is a great way to teach your child about compassion and giving. Children want to help and get involved so the next time there is a natural disaster try to get involved in some way and bring the kids. Teaching your children to be compassionate is one of the greatest things you can do as a parent and you just never know when that compassion will do a full circle and come back to them when they need it most.

#4 Having Integrity

One of the worst things seen during a natural disaster is people looting and down right breaking laws that they would never normally do if there was not a emergency situation going on. Every parent should set a good example and teach their children that just because there are no windows on a store that does not mean they can have what they want. Make sure that your child knows that there are a select few that will always break laws and do the unthinkable during a crisis and how this kind of behavior should never be tolerated.

#5 Help is on the Way

One great thing to teach your children is that no matter how bad the situation is or what kind of natural disaster that they or your family face that help is always on the way. Planting a seed of hope in little minds is the one sure thing that you can count on during a real emergency or crisis. There truly are amazing stories out there of survival and the one thing they all have in common is "hope", a person old or very young can run a very, very long time on a ounce of "hope" so make sure to plant that seed now.

Earthquakes Are Dangerous!

Earthquakes are so dangerous, just take a peek at some of these popular earthquake videos on YouTube.

The World is Becoming More Prepared For Natural Disasters

Are You Prepared?

Because of the top five worst natural disasters listed above there has been numerous advancements in the world to deal with such disasters and many new ways in which structures are made to withstand such events. The world tsunami warning systems have been drastically upgraded and now give people much more notice then ever though this still may never give enough people the precious amount of time needed to get far enough away. All anyone can do now to prepare for the next natural disaster by building better constructed buildings, listen to the warnings and taking the necessary precautions that are recommended when any such event arises.

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