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Over the past decade, a series of natural disasters have rattled the world and proven the importance of being prepared for anything. While there is nothing you can do to prevent a natural disaster, there are many things you can do to make the best of the situation once the storm hits.
A natural disaster can happen anywhere, anytime, but some areas are more prone to certain occurrences. Your first step is finding out the risks for the area where you live. Are tornadoes likely? What about floods? Preparing for an earthquake is quite different than preparing for a landslide. Educate yourself so you understand the warning signs of a natural disaster. Do not wait until an official announcement is made. A storm may cut out the power in the area, or you can be far from a radio or TV. Once you know what your risks are, you are ready to come up with a contingency plan.
The first step needed to survive a natural disaster unharmed is to have an evacuation plan that includes not only your family members but also your pets and your most valuable possessions, such as important documents. If you are required to leave home, make sure you know of places nearby where you can go with your pets. Do not wait until emergency rescue comes by or you will be forced to leave animals behind.
Assemble an evacuation kit and make sure it's on an easy-to-reach place. During a natural disaster, the last thing you want is to start running through the house gathering supplies. The most basic things can mean a lot during an emergency, so make sure your emergency kit includes a flashlight, canned food, a battery-powered radio, and a first aid kit. If possible, keep a sleeping bag within easy reach too. Stocking up on water is important, as you may have to wait out a natural disaster at home. You can also keep water purification tablets on hand in case you run out of clean water.
When it comes to dealing with a natural disaster, having an emergency plan in place can mean all the difference between simply surviving and making it through unscathed.
Catastrophes like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, violent crimes, and terrorism are so common and routine that many of us have become numb to the tragic news stories. Without a heightened awareness, focused concern, and effective planning, we have lost the edge that can save lives. Be safe. Be prepared. Plan ahead for the unexpected. How will you protect your family?
Part of the solution is rooted in common sense, but much more depends upon effectively applying learned survival skills. Citizens need a helpful reference tool--a "Swiss army knife" for handling today's threats.
James (Jay) Schaefer-Jones
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