Why Should We Prepare for a Disaster?

Disasters affect thousands of people’s lives every year.  Every disaster has its own lasting affect on people.  People are seriously injured, some are killed, family pets lost, and property damage costs can run into the billions of dollars.

If a disaster should occur in your community, local government, and disaster relief organizations will try to help you. Unfortunately, these organizations often can't get to everyone as quickly as they want to, or they may need to focus efforts elsewhere. Therefore, you and your family need to be ready to take care of yourself until help does arrive.

Being prepared and understanding what to do in the event of a catastrophic event can reduce fear and anxiety. Diminish the potential impact of disasters by taking the appropriate measures to plan. If you are in an earthquake-prone area, you should secure items that could shake loose in the event of a quake. If you live in an area prone to flooding, relocate valuables to higher floors, install a sump pump with backup generator, flood proof, or elevate your home.

Once you have taken the necessary precautions, focus on what to do just in case an emergency situation occurs. It is imperative that individuals, families, and communities know what to do in the event of a natural catastrophe such as a hurricane or tornado. You should know how to respond to severe storms, or any disaster that could occur in your area, like hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme cold, or flooding.

It is vital that you and your family are able to evacuate your home, find refuge in public shelters, and know how to care for your own basic medical needs. In the event of a disaster, you should also be ready to be self sufficient for at least three days, five, if possible. This means having the means to provide your own shelter and warmth, first aid,  emergency food, water and sanitation.

While this article focuses on the physical hazards of disasters, there is also the emotional impact of losing a loved one, a pet, a home, or valued possessions.  When under stress, people can become irritable, fatigued, angry, or withdrawn.  Children and older adults are especially susceptible to post-disaster psychological effects. Seek out a professional counselor, if needed.

Share this information with your family; try to include everyone in the planning process. Teach children how to respond to emergencies, and give them an idea of what they can expect if there is an actual disaster.

Being prepared, rehearsed, and understanding what to do in the event of an emergency can often mitigate some of the damages caused by disasters. It could quite possibly, save a life.

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