Are You Ready for Disaster?

		Are You Ready for Disaster?


Written by
Monday, December 27, 2021
Are You Ready for Disaster?

Are You Ready for Disaster?

No matter where you live in this great nation, you’re susceptible to natural disasters—from hurricanes, tornados, or storm surge to wildfires or flooding.

What can you do when disaster strikes?

Put your pre-disaster plans and precautions in action!

Without forethought, you, your family, and your home can be at the mercy of the elements:

Flooding can happen anywhere!

The recent overwhelming atmospheric riverdrenched Washington State and British Columbia with torrential rain and storms. The resulting flooding, mud slides, power outages, evacuations, and wet everything drove people from their homes and caused human and animal loss of life. Destruction on a terrifying scale! Flooding, the most common natural disaster, can also result from snow melt, storm surge, and dam overflow.

Fires and droughts are seasonal norms!

Lingering drought and heat islands hit many regions hard each year. Wildfires explode in these dry areas. Blazing wildfires sweep across forests, wilderness, and communities with devastating loss of life and with overwhelming property destruction.

Disaster realities exceed past climate experience!

These massive natural disasters continue as frightening examples of how our experience with local weather may not prepare us for what is coming next. Experts warn that the extreme weather hitting us now will seem mild in comparison with what lies ahead as climate change rolls on.

Foresight beats regretting in hindsight. Emergency preparedness can save lives and reduce damage.

You don’t have to figure out emergency preparedness alone. Many community and government agencies and organizations have invested a lot of time and creativity to make it easy for you to be prepared. For example, the national public service campaign READY.gov, and its Spanish language version LISTO, are “designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters.” To assist you in making a family emergency plan and supply kit and sharing your efforts with friends, READY offers 18 Social Media Disaster Preparedness Toolkits to choose from, including the Flood Toolkit, Wildfire Toolkit, and Winter Weather Toolkit.

Ten Preparedness Steps to Take Now

1. Anticipate Your Flood Risk

Your risk involves previous flood patterns and projections of flooding based on changing weather patterns. Where will the water go if nearby lakes or rivers overflow or if the ground becomes too saturated to absorb more water? Investigate FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center, the Emergency Alert System, and NOAA Weather Radio to learn what support is offered. Sign up for the local warning system. Pay attention to the weather.

2. Flood insurance

Flood insurance coverage is not automatically part of your homeowner’s policy, so ask your insurance agent about it. In high-risk areas, homes and businesses with government-backed mortgages must have flood insurance. FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is available through a network of over 50 insurance companies.

3. Keep Water Away From Your Home

  • Regularly walk all the way around your foundation to ensure grading, or the slant of the land, is taking water away from your home.
  • Also walk the property line. Neighbors may be building, paving, or disrupting drainage, so that more water ends up on your property. My neighbor added an elevated artificial lawn to their rear garden and my patio became a pond when it rained.
  • Regularly clear gutters and downspouts to keep water at least 3 to 6 feet away from foundation walls.
  • If you have a sump pump, check it regularly to be sure it will work when you need it. Does the sump pump have battery back-up if the power dies?

4. What’s Precious?

Other than the living beings who share your home, what really matters to you? Family photos are high on most people’s Treasures List. Don’t store precious things in the basement where the risk of water damage is highest.

5. Waterproof Protection

Store important papers, photographs, and documents in waterproof containers. Also make a digital copy of everything vital and store that information in a secure online location and on a memory stick somewhere off the property.

6. Create a Family Escape Plan

Where will you meet if disaster strikes and you are separated from family and your home? Be practical. If roads are flooded and power is out, how will everyone get there? Cell phone service may be down, so have the family practice possible routes to your meet-up location in advance.

7. Who needs what?

  • Prepare for the specific needs, including medication, of each family member and pet. If you have farm animals, how will they be kept safe?
  • Cell phones and important equipment require batteries and specific chargers.
  • In case disaster becomes widespread, prepare your family to fend for itself for the first 72 hours. Pack 72-hours worth of food, water, and additional supplies in your Emergency Kit.

8. Expect your Phone to Fail You

List all the things on your phone that you cannot manage without and create a paper version as back-up. For instance, a paper (ideally waterproof) map, essential phone numbers you do not have committed to memory, prescriptions, identification, banking information…. Back-up vital information regularly in case your phone becomes waterlogged or lost. Rely on a hand-crank radio and flashlight to keep you informed and safe when all else fails.

9. Your Car As An Emergency Shelter

If you have to flee the flood, could you survive in your car or truck for a day or two? In cold weather? In the car, keep a phone charger, an appropriate 72-hour kit, blankets, candles for light and heat, matches, emergency signaling devices, writing materials, playing cards….

10. Stay Smart

  • No barbequing in the covered porch, house, or garage. Every year, people who do this indoors die of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not drive on flooded roads or bridges. Flooding can make them unsafe.
  • Do not unnecessarily put first responders, emergency workers, and community volunteers at risk.
  • Emergency preparation is a year-round, 365-7-24 concern. Adopt the tried-and-true motto, “Be prepared!”




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