How to Keep Your Family Safe During A Natural Disaster

Natural disasters are becoming more common and more severe as a result of climate change. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the United States accounts for one-third (38%) of global economic losses caused by weather, climate, and water hazards. This only stands to continue as the effects of climate change become more pronounced.

As a result, it is increasingly important to be prepared for a natural disaster. It can strike or hit without any warning and often leaves devastation in its wake. Here are some tips to help you keep your family safe during a natural disaster:

  1. Know the risks. Familiarize yourself with the types of natural disasters that can occur in your area. Pay attention to weather reports and warnings. Knowing the risks will help you be better prepared if a disaster does occur. You can find out more information about the risks in your area from your local government or emergency management office.
  2. Have a plan. Make sure you have a plan for what to do if a natural disaster occurs. Your plan should include how to evacuate, where to go, and what to do if you are separated from your family. Practice your plan so that everyone knows what to do. You can find more information about making a plan on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website.
  3. Stay informed. During a natural disaster, it is important to stay informed. Monitor the news and weather reports to stay up-to-date on the situation. You can also sign up for alerts from your local government or emergency management office. This way you will receive updates and instructions even if power and other communication systems are down.
  4. Be prepared. Make sure you have an emergency kit ready in case of a natural disaster. Your kit should include items like food, water, first-aid supplies, and a portable power unit. If you’re not sure where to get a portable power unit, you can ask your local hardware store or home improvement center. This is an important item to have in your kit because it can be used to charge phones, operate medical devices, and provide light.
  5. Stay calm. If a natural disaster does occur, stay calm and follow the instructions of authorities. Do not try to go back to your home or property until it is safe to do so. Remember, your safety and the safety of your family is the most important thing.
  6. Evacuate if instructed to do so. If authorities instruct you to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not try to drive through floodwaters or go around roadblocks. This puts you and your family at risk. Obey all evacuation orders and instructions from authorities. Your plan, as mentioned above, should have details on where to go and how to get there if you need to evacuate.
  7. Help others. Once the natural disaster is over, you may want to help those who have been affected. You can do this by volunteering with a local relief organization or making a donation to one. The following organizations are often involved in relief efforts after natural disasters:
    • The American Red Cross– The American Red Cross provides relief to those affected by disasters. They also work to prevent and prepare for future disasters. To learn more, visit their website or call 1-800-733-2767.
    • The Salvation Army– The Salvation Army helps provide food, shelter, and other assistance to those affected by disasters. To learn more, visit their website or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
    • Habitat for Humanity– Habitat for Humanity helps build or repair homes for those affected by disasters. To learn more, visit their website or call 1-800-422-4828.
    • Catholic Charities USA– Catholic Charities USA assists those in need, regardless of their religion. They help with disaster relief, among other things. To learn more, visit their website or call 1-800-919-9338.

There are many ways you can help those affected by natural disasters. You can also contact your local government or emergency management office to find out how you can help.

Natural disasters can be frightening and destructive, but you can do your part to keep your family safe. By following these tips, you will be better prepared if a natural disaster does occur.

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