Depending on where in the world you live, your home might be at risk of earthquake, fire, flooding, hurricane, tornado, tsunami, or other natural disasters. By making disaster plans with your family, you increase the chances that you will survive with the materials you need to subsist while waiting for rescue or escaping to a safer place. In most areas where a particular type of natural disaster is a common risk, local emergency authorities can provide you with additional help with disaster plans and sometimes even small survival kits, so make sure to ask the local police or fire department about disaster planning.
The key to escaping and surviving a disaster is planning ahead and remaining organized. Start by making disaster plans with the people in your life: make sure that all family members know what to do in the case of a disaster whether it is a fire, earthquake, or mandatory evacuation. Set up a central meeting place, or several, so that if you are separated, you can find each other. Also make disaster plans for your household pets: find out if a neighbor is willing to cooperate with you on disaster plans, perhaps exchanging keys with you so that if one of you is unable to get home during an emergency, the other can extract household pets and keep them safe for you until you are able to collect them.
It is also important to think about supplies when making disaster plans, and you should have basic kits for your home and all personal vehicles which include needed supplies for all family members, including pets. At the most basic, a kit should include plentiful water stored in sturdy containers, three days of non-perishable food for people and pets, a first aid kit which includes medications needed by all family members, bedding, sanitation supplies, and basic tools.
Basic tools include a wrench, hammer, paper and pencil, needle and thread, foil, matches, tape, compasses, pliers, batteries, a radio, flashlights, maps, and cooking supplies. For small pets, you may want to consider keeping Evacsacks for quick evacuation, rather than bulky carriers. Store fold down carriers in your vehicles so that you can transfer your animals to roomier quarters when it is safe. It is also an excellent idea to maintain copies of important documents like identifications, bank account information, and deeds to houses and vehicles, along with recent photographs of family members and pets.
In many areas, there are also city or state wide disaster plans which include evacuation plans and disaster preparedness education. Get acquainted with these plans so that you know where to take individuals in need of evacuation and you know which hospitals and roads are most likely to be open. Mark up a map of the area with available shelters and locations likely to be open to assist you: if you have pets, find out which shelters accept animals as well as people, or if a local animal rescue organization can assist you in an emergency situation.
In the event of a disaster, stay calm and stick to your disaster plans. Try to keep family members together, and make sure to leave notes at your home and meeting sites to help you find each other. While losing your home or needing to evacuate can be stressful, assistance is available whether you are a victim of a single home fire or a catastrophic earthquake. Work together with your friends and neighbors as a team to support and help each other, and you will survive to tell the epic story in years to come.