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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Be Prepared! Natural Disasters And What To Do

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By Grace Chen

Natural disasters can be very frightening. They often occur with little to no warning and can cause devastation to property and loss of life. So, just how do you prepare your family for the times when disaster could strike? Here is a look at some of the most common natural disasters and what you can do to prepare.

Earthquakes - If you are in an area of the country where earthquakes occur, you will want to be prepared. Tether heavy furniture to the wall to prevent tipping, and be aware of other safety hazards in the home. Make sure that all family members know where there is a safe place in each room as well as outside. Have an emergency kit with food, water, first aid, and other disaster supplies in an easily accessible location. Make sure that everyone in the family knows of how to contact or meet up with one another afterwards should you get separated during the quake.Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

Extreme Heat/Drought - People living in the desert, as well as those in places where the summer can get hot, should be aware of what to do on days of extreme heat. Protect your home with window air conditioners, heavy draperies, and heat reflectors. Stay inside as much as possible and drink plenty of fluids. Keep first aid supplies on hand to treat sunburn, heat exhaustion, and other heat related illnesses. Avoid going out during the heat of the day whenever possible.

Flood - Floods can come up quite suddenly and cause a large amount of damage and injury. Make sure you know your area’s alert systems. Stockpile emergency supplies like fresh water, nonperishable food, and first aid supplies to use if you become trapped in your home. Know where evacuation routes are and have a plan in place in case family members become separated. You may also want to look into flood insurance, since many homeowners’ policies do not cover flood damage.

Hurricane - Those who live along the coast need to be aware of hurricanes and the damage that they can inflict. Know where the evacuation route is for your city and have a safe place inland where you can go. Make sure family members have a plan of action in case they should get separated and keep emergency supplies on hand in case you get trapped by the storm. Make arrangements for pets in case you have to go to a shelter, and secure all belongings that are outdoors such as boats, antennas, lawn furniture, and other items.

Tornado - Some people live in locations where tornadoes are quite common. If this is the case, you should conduct tornado drills in the same fashion that you would a fire drill to make sure that everyone in the family knows where the safe area of the home is. Have disaster supplies on hand as well as an emergency plan should you get separated. Learn warning signs that can signal a possible tornado and get indoors or to a safe place as soon as you see them.

Wildfire - Wildfires are unpredictable and can pose a significant threat. Be sure that everyone in the family knows and follows safe fire practices. Create a safety zone between your home and easily burned vegetation, and removed dead and dying plants and trees. Have an evacuation plan in place as well as emergency supplies ready should you need to leave in a hurry.

Preparing for a natural disaster can help keep you and your loved ones safe and eliminate some of the risks of damages to your property.

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