Natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, lightning strikes, fires and other things can happen anywhere in the world at any time.
Knowledge, preparation and quick thinking are key to survival if you find yourself in the path of disasters like these. We will cover recommendations for surviving tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes and recommendations for gear that will help get you through any unforeseen events.
First on the list for disasters is to have an emergency kit, one large enough for your whole family. The kit should include as many of the following items as possible.
- First Aid kit
- Cash – if the electricity is out, ATM’s will not be available
- Any needed medications
- Flashlights and spare batteries
- Candles with a lighter/matches
- Generator if possible – electricity may not be available
- A battery powered radio and spare batteries so you can listen to advisory warnings
- Tactical boots and pants
- Water – at least one gallon or 2 liters per person per day
- Non-perishable food, enough for multiple days
Think through and agree with your family on an emergency evacuation plan should you find yourself in the middle of a disaster. Besides the items you’ll need to survive, choose a safe meeting place in case you need to leave home. Make sure everyone knows how to get there.
Cell phones will be your best form of communication and text will be more reliable than calls. Stay in touch with other families and let them know your situation. Technology can be a powerful tool, and should not be overlooked.
Tornadoes come in all shapes and sizes, from F0 (winds at 40 – 72mph) to devastating F5 twisters that can have winds up to 261 – 316mph. Regardless of the size, tornadoes are not to be dismissed. Most areas prone to tornadoes have warning systems in place. Know what these systems are and how the warnings are sent out.
Staying inside and sheltering in a safe, strong environment is important. Outside, winds will be strong, debris will be flying and the world as you know it will not be a safe place.
Tips on surviving a tornado
- Tornado warnings are real and should be heeded immediately. Stop what you are doing and immediately seek shelter.
- If you are at home, get to the basement. If you don’t have a basement, stay at the lowest level in a small, windowless room eg under a stairwell or in a bathroom.
- If you are in a hotel the bathroom is the safest option as it’s built with concrete walls rather than wood.
- Crouch as low as possible or lay face down to avoid any potential flying objects. Cover yourself if possible – blankets, pillows, mattresses, cushions et, are all good choices. If nothing is available, cover your head with your arms. If there is a heavy table, use it as a shield and get under it.
Hurricane’s vary between category 1 storms with winds between 74 to 95mph to category 5 killers with sustained winds over 160mph. Hurricane’s usually move slow and can be tracked day’s ahead of landfall. There is usually time to prepare but don’t delay and don’t underestimate the damage that comes with high velocity winds, flooding and possibly being cut off from your surroundings.
Stay tuned into local and national weather reports and get a jump on gathering needed supplies. Board up your home, secure out buildings and have a plan to provide for animals as well.
Even though there will be water everywhere, it won’t be clean water. The water you have stored will be your lifeline until the rains subside and help is available.
Tips on surviving a hurricane
- Monitor weather in real time with an app, local TV or radio
- Don’t be the guy who stays home when told to evacuate. Don’t delay and leave with the emergency kit.
- If you don’t have time to evacuate, stay indoors away from windows. If you have a curtain then close it which will provide small protection if the glass smashes.
- Do not go outside unless you have been told to do so. The eye of the hurricane is often the calmest with clear skies and light winds. A storm can take a whole day if not longer to pass.
Earthquakes are measured in magnitude and are actually fairly common, particularly around fault lines, coastal areas and anywhere shifting takes place along the earth’s crust. Many earthquakes can’t be felt at all, but for those that do rumble, these can cause from minor to major and catastrophic destruction. Earthquakes are hard to predict so being prepared at any time is important, especially if you live in or travel to areas that are prone to earthquakes.
From mild shaking to ripping, rolling, destructive quakes, earthquakes give little warning. Depending on the size of the earthquake, shaking may last only a few seconds. Larger earthquakes cause greater damage and if near coastal areas, can also trigger tsunamis. Regardless of the size, there is no time to gather your survival kit. When it hits, you have to be ready.
Tips on surviving an earthquake
- Remember the phrase “drop, cover, and hold on” – crouch down low, get under a table if possible, and cover your head and neck with your arms if there is nothing else
- Avoid doorways – doors may slam shut and cause injuries
- Avoid windows, bookcases, tall furniture and light fixtures. You could be hurt by shattered glass or heavy falling objects
- Don’t use elevators/lifts. If you are in an elevator, hit the button for every floor and get out as soon as you can
- Stay away from fallen power lines by at least 25 feet to avoid injury
- Do not enter damaged buildings, they may collapse on you
Wherever you are and wherever you go, hope for the best and plan for the worst. There is usually no excuse for not being prepared. It takes some thought and a bit of effort, and sometimes a little(or a lot) of outside help, but in the end, you’ll have what you need and you and your family will be safe.