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Natural Disasters

It seems as though natural disasters are happening at a higher rate these days and they are increasingly more devastating. (Are You Prepared?)

No matter where you live, there is a chance for a natural disaster of some sort, whether it be an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, blizzard, severe heat wave, tsunami, avalanche, forest fire, typhoon, flood, or any combination of events.

As a homeowner, it is in your best interest to always be prepared for the worst, because when natural disasters strike, they happen at times when least expected.

Today, with so many people living in the suburbs, a commute may take an hour, sometimes two, on the best of days when traffic is flowing at a steady pace. On bad days, the time it takes to travel from work to your home may take three hours or more.

If a natural disaster strikes during rush hour and if bridges and overpasses are rendered unusable, you may find yourself in a precarious situation, that of being totally unable to get home, which does not bode well if you have young children 60 miles away that you can not get to.

On the flip side, you may be at home when the disaster strikes and you may be called to evacuate immediately. This may call for a quick plan of action, and you may be hard pressed to leave everything at a moments notice.

  • Do you know where your children are if they are out of the home and do you know how to contact them?
  • Do you have a prearranged location to meet, in case you cannot get to your home. You should have a primary and a secondary meeting place, just in case the primary location is not accessible.
  • Do you have a designated telephone contact person who is not an immediate household member? It is a good idea to establish a telephone contact person outside your local area, and one who is out of the state, too, because the only contact you may be able to make by telephone may be at a long distance number.
  • Your immediate family should have a list of telephone numbers of relatives and friends. A good idea is to type up the list on small wallet sized cards, take them to a printer, and have them laminated. All family members should keep the card on them at all times, in their wallets, handbags, purses, school lockers, and if you carry cell phones, the numbers should be stored in them.

One of the most important things that you should do to keep prepared for a disaster is to keep your car's gas tank over half full at all times. If there is a disaster, everyone is going to be in the same position that you are in.

Traffic will probably be heavy, and gas stations may not be able to dispense gasoline, especially if the electricity is disrupted. You do not want to run out of gas on the freeway, street, or road, thereby blocking traffic or causing an accident.

If a natural disaster takes place, or if an evacuation is ordered, whether you are at home or at work, proceed in a safe and orderly manner. Turn on your radio or television and follow instructions.

If you are at home, or at work, and if you are not directly affected by the event, stay inside and off the streets, until you are told that it is safe to move about. The less traffic there is will give fire, paramedic, police, the military, and other agencies more time and freedom to respond, thereby making their jobs easier and more effective.

Try to control any frustration or anger that you may experience because in many cases, frustration and anger cause more death and injury than the actual disaster itself.


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