Natural Disasters and Emergency Preparedness

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Disasters are always unexpected. One cannot fully “expect the unexpected”, and in most cases, these events hugely change lives of many people. The hardest part, in most cases, is not the disaster itself, but what to do after it strikes. Most people lack the prevention, and resort to the cure, which is sometimes, almost unattainable due to the severity of the circumstances. It is therefore important to take into consideration the different ways on how to be prepared for disasters and emergencies.

​Emergency preparedness is very crucial for survival. As discussed by the American Red Cross, it is important that the household is prepared and informed at the time of an emergency. It is not guaranteed that all of the members of the family will be together in an event of a disaster, and it is very important to have a structured plan so that each one can be safe and will be able to locate one another. For instance, it is encouraged for the household to meet up and plan for the possible emergencies that are likely to happen in the vicinity of the area. It is also important to be updated to current news regarding the weather or other natural events to be able to plan accordingly. Delegation of tasks is also important for a more efficient way of handling emergencies. In some cases of sudden evacuation, plan ahead on the route that is easiest to take as possible, also prepare alternate routes just in case some roads are impassable. Practice evacuating the house twice a year. In case there are pets, plan ahead for them and take note of possible temporary animal shelters that are along the prepared evacuation routes. If the members are not together when a certain type of disaster strikes, it is important to always have a meeting place that is already set – right outside the house or along a specific place in the neighborhood. Having an out-of-area emergency contact person is also necessary for back-up (Disaster Preparedness Plan, 2016).

​It is also important to have the right supplies and materials before the actual emergency happens. Ready.gov, the official website of the Department of Homeland Security provided a list of the basic supplies that will be useful in a disaster. This includes water, one gallon per person each day, for at least three days; non-perishable food that’s good for at least three days; battery-powered radio for updates; flashlight and extra batteries; first aid kit; whistle to signal for emergencies; dust mask for protection from contaminated air; duct tape for shelter-in-place; moist towelletes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal hygiene; wrench or pliers; manual can opener; local maps; and cell phones with charger or extra batteries (Ready: Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed, 2016). Most people don’t take these preparations seriously before it is too late. After a disaster, the supplies are not always sufficient for everyone. It is better to be prepared and safe than sorry.

​It should also be taken into consideration that each preparedness plan would be different depending on the emergency. The plans mentioned above are basic and general principles, and it is important for the local government and community to cooperate to be able to come up with an efficient plan. Information dissemination is crucial for better preparation, as well as support and teamwork within the community. In times of emergency, it is better to work together than alone, and better to be prepared, no matter how early, because safety is never a certainty. Prevention is indeed better than cure.

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