Disaster preparedness

A disaster comes in many forms, and it can be natural or artificial. However, all of its forms require preparation and immediate action to save lives.

This article will discuss how to mitigate, survive, and recover from different kinds of disasters. The first part is mitigation. It means taking up measures to eliminate or reduce the risks of hazards through proactive measures.

Authorities remind their citizens to orient themselves with these measures before a disaster happens. Second, the survival portion pertains to taking necessary steps to protect the lives and properties when disaster strikes. It involves gathering emergency supplies, food, water, communicating with the authorities, monitoring the weather, and seeking shelter.

Lastly, the recovery phase means living after the disaster passes your community. It is a gradual process, but it starts with having the right mindset to start anew after a disaster happens. It includes returning to home, addressing medical issues, and helping others.

Check out some tips on addressing disasters such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards.


A blizzard is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as a severe snowstorm with strong winds. The National Weather Service states that blizzards have winds of about 35 miles per hour or more. Apart from strong winds and snowstorms, blizzards are accompanied by extreme temperature and limited visibility.

Blizzards can affect several infrastructures and disrupt the way of living for weeks or months. It can last from 4 hours to 4 weeks. In the United States, blizzards frequently occur in Northern Midwestern areas. However, it can occur inland of the Western States and Atlantic coastal.

Surviving a Blizzard Inside the Home

If you were inside your home when the blizzard happened, then make sure to stay inside. Close the windows and doors and turn on your warmers if you have no heating devices, stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors or windows.

Wear layers of lightweight, loose, and warm clothes. Wear a hat and socks too. Monitor the blizzard condition in your area using the TV, radio, or internet. If the electricity is cut, you can use a battery-operated device to monitor the weather.

Surviving a Blizzard Outside the Home

If you were outside your home when a blizzard occurred, make sure to find a shelter immediately and be dry. If possible, cover all parts of your body with clean and dry clothes.

Avoid drinking alcoholic drinks and put your best efforts not to fall asleep so you can ask for help and be rescued immediately. Meanwhile, if you are stuck inside your automobile, don't panic.

Run the engine for about 10 minutes each hour for heat. Open a small portion of the window to have fresh air and ensure that the exhaust pipe is not blocked. Open the dome light or tie a colored cloth on your door so rescuers can notice you. It is advisable to stay inside the car during this type of disaster, and you can stretch from time to time inside to keep your blood circulating.

As soon as the strong wind stops, get out of the car and raise the hood to indicate trouble so rescuers can see you immediately. If you are outside and it is impossible to find a shelter (building or car), then prepare a windbreak or snow cave protection against the wind.

Try to build a fire so your body and environment will be warmer. Put rocks on the fire to absorb heat. A fire can also attract attention and call for help as well. Finally, avoid eating snow even if you're hungry or thirsty, for it will only lower your body's temperature and cause hypothermia.

If you don't have anything to eat and drink, you can melt the snow first before you drink it. Check the other resources for more information:


Earthquake is considered the earth's trembling or shaking, which is caused by volcanic forces or shifting and breaking of rocks underneath the surface. It can be categorized as small, major, moderate, or great based on the Richter scale.

In the United States, the West Coast has a great risk of an earthquake where tectonic activity happens along the San Andreas fault. However, areas such as Memphis, St. Louis, Missouri, and Tennessee can also experience earthquakes since they are located along major faults.

Tips to Mitigate Earthquake

Before this type of disaster happens, the authorities would usually take precautionary steps by alarming their constituents. With this, plan an earthquake survival steps together with your family.

Gather the necessary supplies and store them in a safe and easy-to-reach spot at your home. Bolt the bookshelves and latch the cabinets. Move the furniture away from the windows or glass panels (doors, walls) and remove wall decors or hanging masterpieces on walls and ceilings.

Surviving an Earthquake

During an earthquake, and if you are indoors, get under a sturdy table and hold on. Avoid staying near the windows. Stay put because there might be serious aftershocks, like the main earthquake. If you think your home or building is unsafe, get out and stay on the open field.

Make sure not to use the elevators and use the stairs instead. If you're outdoors, stay away from falling debris, power lines, and trees. If you are inside your car, drive to a clear spot and stay inside. Don't stay under the bridge or overpasses. Read these links for more information:


Floods can occur whenever a body of water rises and cover dry land. This phenomenon can be caused by heavy rain, hurricanes, spring snowmelt, storms, or dam failure. When floods occur, they can bring damage to personal properties and infrastructures.

Flooded areas can be an issue in the transportation system and other public utilities. It can cause soil erosion, deforestation, and other problems in the environment.

Furthermore, floods can cause great risks to human beings and animals. The land along streams, rivers, coastlines, and lakeshores is at great risk of flooding. However, there are inland areas today that are affected by floods.

Flood Mitigation Tips

To mitigate the threat of this disaster, know beforehand the flood risk and elevation of your area. You can learn such information in your local state. After that, get ready for a flood escape or evacuation plan. If possible, invest in flood insurance to cover your personal and real properties. Keep the important documents, emergency supplies, and food and water in a safe box.

Make sure to move your furniture to higher levels, sandbag the doors and windows, and fill the gas tank of your car.

Ways on Surviving Flood

When you are stuck inside your house during floods, make sure to listen to the radio, watch TV, or get updates from the internet regarding flood conditions in your area. If the flood is getting worst, evacuate immediately and follow instructions coming from the authorities.

In addition, avoid drinking water from the wells. Boil your water first or use a water filter to produce safe drinking water for the family. Do not drive or walk through flooded waters if you wish to get out of the house and transfer to a safer area.

Stay off the bridges, storm drains, and irrigation ditches where it is covered by water. You might get stuck and drown in these areas. Check these links for more information:


A Hurricane is a violent low pressure formed in the tropical Atlantic Ocean from June to November. The winds of hurricanes are about 75 miles per hour or more. Hurricanes are accompanied by rains that could turn to storm surge, especially in coastal regions.

However, coastal storms are not automatically considered hurricanes per se since they do not originate in the tropics. In the United States, the Gulf of Mexico and Southeastern seaboard are struck by more than five hurricanes annually.

It causes billions of dollars of damaged properties every year.

Mitigating Hurricanes

To lessen the effects of hurricanes, it is advisable to know the location of your area first. Create a plan that will determine the evacuation routes and temporary shelter when a hurricane strikes.

Prepare the emergency supplies, food, water, communication lines, and others. Fill your car's tank, recharge your generator, withdraw some cash, and charge your gadgets.

Make your home flood-proof by putting the important documents on sealed and waterproof envelopes, rearranging furniture location and putting it above the ground, and fixing electrical wirings.

Trim the shrubs and the trees so they won't fall on your house and damage it when strong winds and rain pour.

Surviving Hurricanes

If you are outside during a hurricane, make sure to get inside your house or building immediately. Close the windows and doors and stay put inside.

Relax and gather some food, water, and other emergency supplies. If you're inside your car, make sure not to drive on floodwaters and drive directly to your home. Stay away from downed power lines and watch out for falling debris.

Stay put in your shelter and listen to the advice of authorities on when it is safe to go outside. If the condition of where you're staying is getting worst, evacuate and follow the instructions of local officials.

For more information, check out other resources here:


Lastly, a tornado is a circular and powerful wind storm. It is characterized by strong winds of about 200 miles per hour or more.

It can measure in width from hundred yards to more than one mile. Furthermore, Tornadoes can be classified by their wind speed and damage.

Tornadoes can occur throughout America. However, areas in South and Midwest America are more prone to tornado activity.

Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Nebraska, Florida, and Georgia are at risk of tornadoes.

Steps to Mitigate A Tornado

To mitigate the effects of a tornado, know first the risk of the area you're currently living in. Then, prepare a plan with your family when a tornado strikes.

Gather all emergency supplies, food, water, and power supplies. Get your home ready against tornados and keep your important documents safe.

Put the appliances on higher ground, fix the electrical wirings, trim your trees and bushes, fix the doors, windows, and roofs.

Surviving a Tornado

When you're inside your house when the tornado strikes, make sure to get away from the windows. You can get under sturdy furniture such as the table or go to the basement.

If you don't have a basement, get inside a closet, bathroom, or hallway of the lowest level of your house. If you're inside your car, drive to the nearest building.

Don't try to outrun a tornado. Stay inside your car and wait until the tornado stops. Check these resources to learn more:

Final Thoughts on Disaster Preparedness

Indeed, disasters are unpredictable. Sometimes, you can't predict when earthquakes will come. However, there are several measures to take to minimize its damages in our lives.

Educate yourself on the types of disasters that might hit your community, such as blizzards, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes. Learn about the risk of your location and familiarize yourself with the evacuation routes of the government.

Equip yourselves with the basic survival skills and remember that disaster preparedness is everyone's responsibility.

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