Preparing for a Natural Disaster

Cyclones, floods, forest fires, tornadoes. Experts say natural disasters like this one are becoming more common due to climate change. As stressful as it may be, planning how you will react is important.

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Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes. Experts say natural disasters like these will become more common due to climate change. As stressful as that may be to think about, it's important to plan how you'll respond.

“The most common mistake one can make is thinking, ‘It won't happen to me,'” says Meaghan Enright, executive director of Love City Strong Inc., a disaster preparedness and response group in the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Unfortunately, we know that this just isn't the case. Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, and the more prepared you are, the better off you and your family will be during times of crisis.”


Here's where to start.

Know the kind of plan you need. “Start by talking about what types of emergencies are most likely where you live,” says Nigel Holderby, director of disaster public affairs for the American Red Cross.

For instance, are heat waves and wildfires a concern? Do you have annual blizzards? Knowing the types of danger you're likely to face can help you create the most useful plan.

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Get your family involved. “Talking about making preparations will help everyone know what to do and how to plan,” Holderby says. “Discussing ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children.”

As a family, decide things like:

Where to go if you have to leave your homeHow and where you'll meet up if you're separatedWhich tasks you'll each have (like making sure your pets are safe or listening to the news for storm updates)Who's your emergency contact (Choose at least one person who lives in a different area in case your phone lines are down)

Put these details into a family disaster plan. Save it on your computer, print a copy and post it in your house, and email a copy to a loved one, just in case.

Build an emergency kit. During a natural disaster, it's common to lose access to some things you depend on every day, from heat and electricity to gas or ATMs. Think about supplies you may need during this time.

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Ideally, you should put aside enough basic items to tide you over for 3 to 5 days. â€&# ...

Read original at WebMD - Better information. Better health.

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