Experts tell us what's best to do to increase our chances of surviving a natural disaster.
This is the first of a two-part series on how to survive a natural disaster.
When you find yourself in an emergency, or if you're stranded in a region currently experiencing a natural disaster, what should you do? These three experts can give you answers: Weather Underground co-founder and meteorology director Jeff Masters; Outdoor Life Magazine's survival expert and survival manual author Tim MacWelch; and survival expert, extreme weather photographer, and tactical EMT Warren Faidley. These experts can tell us how we could best survive if we're unable to evacuate away from an impending disaster.
One important aspect of disaster preparedness is stocking supplies. According to MacWelch, however, disaster preparedness isn't just about stocking up on supplies. Our chances of surviving a natural disaster doesn't just depend on what we have in our kitchen cupboards. It's also about creating an emergency plan and knowing right away what to do in an emergency situation. This entails practicing survival skills before a disaster occurs. First aid training, learning how to cook without the usual implements, and several other useful survival skills might come in handy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of the basic supplies we need to have on hand. The CDC recommends stocking up for 72 hours, but the aftermath of a disaster may last longer than that. It might be better to stock enough supplies that can last a week.
It's also best if you have sources of power like solar panels. This way, you can have an emergency power source even when your city or town's grid is down. You can also fill your bathtubs, sinks, and unused water bottles with water so you'll have backup in case the water at your house gets turned off.
MacWelch also recommends getting a battery-powered weather radio so you can have access to vital information that can help you survive a disaster.
If you're stuck in a disaster zone, don't panic. While a healthy amount of fear is necessary to survival, panicking can make you do stupid, dangerous things. Thus, staying calm is important.
It's also important to distinguish between needs and wants. In a disaster, your needs are the only things that are important. Some people conflate their wants with their needs, chasing after comforts that just aren't easily accessible—or even necessary—in a disaster zone. MacWelch also reminds us that during the times of disaster, hygiene isn't a comfort but a necessity. After all, poor hygiene can cause the spread of disease, which is just an added headache in the aftermath of a disaster.
Photo via AP
Natural disasters affect our pets, too. So how do we keep our pets safe?
Faidley says that tying your animal up inside or outside the house during a natural disaster decreases their chances of survival. He recommends letting them roam free instead if you're unable to get them to shelter or a safe room. “It’s the very last resort, but animals are amazing at surviving storms,” Faidley tells National Geographic. A free animal has better chances of surviving a natural disaster and is much more likely and able to seek shelter for itself.
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