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Disasters are catastrophic events, such as earthquakes, floods, fires, hurricanes, or bombings, that can seriously alter circumstances in a short amount of time. Most can be dangerous and create life-threatening situations both during and following the event. Although no disaster safety plan is foolproof, being amply prepared for likely disasters can help keep people safe during and following an emergency.
When considering disaster safety, remember that precautions can prevent dangerous problems from arising during a disaster. In regions where earthquakes are common, furnishings, like high dressers, mirrors, and shelves should be carefully secured to walls and the floor to prevent them from falling in case of an earthquake. Many people who live in areas where tornadoes occur have underground storm cellars that can protect people from the violence of the storm. Understanding the weather and geological situation of the region can help families and individuals take adequate precautions for the most likely disasters.
In some severe catastrophes, disaster safety steps extend far past the immediate event. After a disaster, roads may be damaged or impassable, normal communication lines may be unavailable, and services like electricity, water, and gas may become compromised. Providing for basic needs that may arise after a hurricane, earthquake or other disaster is an important part of disaster safety.
Some safety experts recommend having a survival kit prepared in the event of an emergency. This kit can be tailored to fit individual needs and supplies will alter for different people. At minimum, disaster safety kits typically include non-perishable food rations, clean water for several days, and some means of warmth, like blankets.
Other supplies to consider putting in a disaster safety kit include basic medicines and first aid supplies, such as bandages, antiseptic creams or ointments, pain relievers, and sterile gloves. Having solar or battery-powered radios and flashlights may also be greatly helpful if power lines are down. In some cases, a disaster safety kit may also include flares or reflectors to attract emergency personnel and alert them to a person's presence. By carefully maintaining and regularly updating an emergency kit, the safety of a home or office's inhabitants can be greatly increased.
For families with children, safety experts say it is very important to explain disaster safety and have a comprehensive plan in place that the children can understand and follow. In case of fires, children should be aware of escape routes and have a set meeting place near the house, as well as near school, where the family can meet in case of emergency. Children should also be aware of where disaster supply kits are stored around the home, and also be made aware of what type of disasters may occur in the region. Consider conducting drills a few times a year to reinforce good emergency procedure tactics around the home.
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