Disaster Preparedness: Mitigate, Survive, And Recover From Disasters

Disaster preparedness

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

In this article, we will discuss how to mitigate, survive, and recover from different kinds of disasters.

The first part is the mitigation. It means taking up measures to eliminate or reduce the risks of hazards through proactive measures. Authorities remind its citizens to orient themselves with these measures before a disaster happen.

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 happened. It includes returning to home, addressing medical issues, and helping others.

Check out here some tips on how to address disasters such as flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, and blizzard. 

Blizzard

A blizzard is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as severe snowstorms 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 with 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 occur frequently in Northern Midwestern areas, however, it can occur inland of the Western States and Atlantic coastal.

Surviving a Blizzard Inside the Home

If you are inside your home when 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 are 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 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 make sure 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.

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Earthquake

Earthquake is considered as the trembling or shaking of the earth, 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 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 make precautionary steps by alarming its constituents.

With this, plan an earthquake survival steps together with your family. Gather the necessary supplies and store it 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 aftershocks which are serious like the main earthquake.

If you think your home or your 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.

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Flood

Floods can occur whenever a body of water rises and cover a dry land. This phenomenon can be caused by heavy rain, hurricanes, spring snowmelt, storms, or dam failure.

When floods occur, it 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 risk to human beings and animals.

The land along streams, rivers, coastlines, and lakeshores are 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.

Thereafter, get ready 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 in 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 on TV, or get updates from the internet regarding flood condition 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 a safe drinking water for the family.

If you wish to get out of the house and transfer to a safer area, do not drive or walk through flooded waters. Stay off the bridges, storm drains, and irrigation ditches where it is covered by water. You might get stuck and drown in these areas.

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Hurricane

A Hurricane is a violent low pressure which is formed in the tropical Atlantic Ocean from months of 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 on coastal regions. However, coastal storms are not automatically considered as 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 5 hurricanes on average per year. 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 it 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 flood waters and drive directly to your home. Stay away from downed power lines and watch out for falling debris.

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

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Tornado

Lastly, a tornado is a circular and powerful wind storms. 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 its 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 a tornado.

Steps to Mitigate A Tornado

To mitigate the effects of a tornado, know first the risk of the area you’re currently living. 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 tornado and keep your important documents safe. Put the appliances on a 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.

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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 yourselves with the types of disaster that might hit your community such as blizzard, earthquake, tornado, flood, and hurricane. 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.