Disaster can strike anywhere — and it doesn’t care who you are or where you live. That’s why you need to be prepared, because you never know when the force of a natural disaster will impact your life. Today, while the natural disasters we experience may not be a direct result of climate change, it’s very likely global warming will be the culprit of future weather-related events, according to NASA.
Global warming can strengthen hurricanes, as warmer sea temperatures and more heat in the atmosphere only increases the wind speeds of these sometimes catastrophic weather phenomenons. Increased risks of global warming can also usher in the risk of drought, intense storms and flooding as sea levels rise.
While you can’t prevent these catastrophes on your own, you can work to better prepare yourself against the inevitable. Here are four ways you can better prepare yourself if a natural disaster strikes near your home or community.
1. Identify Your Risks
Take the first step to prepare for a natural disaster by identifying your risks. Where should you start? Truthfully, you should know the most common hazards in your community, as understanding these potential risks can help you glean greater focus on your disaster plan. Then, ask yourself the following:
- Do you live in a flood zone?
- Do tornadoes frequent the region?
- What will you do in the case of a severe earthquake?
You need to have answers to these questions to formulate your disaster plans. Get started with a helpful online resource like the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes’ natural disaster risk map to determine which disasters pose the greatest threat to your state.
2. Create an Emergency Kit
When disaster strikes, you need to move — and be super quick about it. Indeed, there won’t be time to grab much of — or any — belongings or family keepsakes. But that doesn’t mean you should leave your home empty handed. Instead, according to information provided on Ready.gov, every home should have a basic emergency kit that includes:
- Water and food
- First-aid kits
- Whistles to signal distress
- Cellphones with an accompanying charger
3. Be Mindful of Your Inventory
A natural disaster can destroy entire homes and communities. And while documenting everything of value in your home may seem tedious and monotonous, it can pay off and help you get back to your everyday routine after a disaster strikes, as proper documentation will ensure fair insurance reimbursement. Additionally, your inventory documentation will make the recovery process more simple and be a big help when you need to apply for federal disaster aid. It’s also wise to check your home and car insurance policies to confirm your coverage before any major catastrophe strikes.
4. Practice Your Plan
There’s more to emergency preparedness than checking over your home. You’ll need to think about your car, too. How will you escape disaster? Is your vehicle suited for disaster conditions? Can you car’s tires stand up to difficult terrain?
Routine maintenance can keep your car or SUV operating efficiently so that changing a flat tire when disaster strikes will be the least of your worries. For example, TireBuyer.com offers a number of tire options, including the Falken Wildpeak H/T, from reputable retailers across the country. This way, you don’t have to lift a finger if your sedan or SUV needs a new set.
After ensuring your vehicle is in optimal condition, run through your emergency plan with your entire family. Focus on communication, speed and checking off each item on your checklist, which should include everything from switching off the utilities to grabbing your emergency kit before leaving your home.