What to Expect When Natural Disasters Strike
What to Expect When Natural Disasters Strike
Natural disasters like tornadoes, blizzards, floods, and hurricanes occur all over the United States. The good news is, that as destructive as the disasters can be to your family and property, you generally get a warning from meteorologists. Advantaclean has gathered some tips and tricks to help you prepare for the disaster, endure the natural disaster, and deal with the results of the natural disaster.
How To Prepare For the Natural Disaster
One of the most important things you can do is create or buy an emergency kit. It’s best to create the emergency kit before the threat of a natural disaster occurs. An emergency kit is meant to last and nothing in it should expire quickly, so it’s better to have it done and need it in 6 months (or never at all) than to need it together in 48 hours when all your neighbors are scrambling to get the same products. No matter if its a tornado, blizzard, flood, or hurricane the emergency kit works great for every situation.
- One gallon of water per person per day to last you three days
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food (canned goods, nuts, protein bars, etc.)
- Battery or hand-crank powered radio and an NOAA Weather Radio
- Cell phone with power banks and chargers
- Battery or hand-crank powered flashlight
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Sleeping bags
- Pet supplies
- Dust masks to filter the air
- Tarps and tape to create makeshift shelters
- Heat reflective emergency blanket
- Moist towelettes, feminine products, garbage bags, and zip ties for sanitation purposes
- Local maps in case you need to evacuate with unfamiliar roads
- Paper cups, plates, bowls, and plastic forks and spoons
- Can opener
- Essential tool kit to help turn off utilities if need be
- Whistle for each person
- At least one change of clothes for each person (including warmer layers)
- Boots for each person to protect their feet
- Copies of important family documents
I Feel Prepared...Now What?
Once you have received a warning that a tornado, flood, hurricane, or blizzard is a possibility, you have a few options. If a hurricane is coming, you generally have the ability to evacuate if your area is going to be hit hard. Grab your emergency kit and evacuate if you feel you could be in danger, or if you have been asked to do so. If you have a flood warning, you should seek shelter on higher ground, upper floors of a home, or evacuate.
No matter the kind of natural disaster, if you decide to stay at home, you need to have your emergency kit handy and there are a few things you can do while you wait out the natural disaster.
Grab your emergency kit and head to a lower level of the building or home, making sure there are no windows or doors for the winds to break and the room should not be able to flood. Turn on your TV or radio in the shelter and wait for news and storm tracking. Hurricanes can bring flooding and you need to use the same safety tips for flooding in this situation. If you need a generator, make sure it is grounded and fully outdoors to avoid any dangerous situation that could arise from using the generator.
Seek shelter immediately! A car cannot outrun a tornado, so your best bet is to get into a shelter or to cover your neck and head with your arms or coats/blankets. Once you are in the shelter with your emergency kit, you need to cover yourself with pillows and blankets in a windowless room to protect yourself from any possible debris. Keep the radio on so you can get updates on the tornado and what your next steps might be.
Flash floods and other flooding disasters do not need much water to be dangerous. Do not leave your pre-determined safe area whether it’s in an upper floor of the home/building or an area of higher ground where the floodwaters can’t reach. It’s important to keep your radio on so you can hear the weather reports and any instructions you might need to get through the flood. Never go into a closed attic space when waiting out a flood because you can get trapped in a place without windows and you should only go on a roof if you have absolutely no other options for safety.
Be careful if you aren’t in your predetermined safe spot for flooding. If you get caught in lower areas where flooding is likely, do not go into the water. It takes 6 inches of water to knock a person down and only a foot of water to move your car. Instead, sit in your car and only leave the car if the water starts to rise above your waist. It is very important for you to never wade through the water because you can easily get caught on something or any down power lines can charge the water, making it very dangerous for you to be in it. You should stay far away from bridges during floods because rushing water can destroy the bridge or take people and cars over the edge.
If you are stuck on the roads when a blizzard strikes, you need to stay inside your car. Do not exit the vehicle. Make sure your radio is turned on so you can hear more about the weather conditions and any important alerts.
If you are home or indoors for the blizzard, make sure your emergency kit is handy. You should have warm clothes on and please limit your time outside. If you must go out to start a generator, make sure you are fully covered and watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. You should never heat your home with a gas stove and a generator should always be outside. Use your phone to check on neighbors and make sure they are doing well.
What To Do After a Natural Disaster Happens
Make sure to check in with family and friends to let them know that you are safe. Most phone towers will be tied up with people trying to call, so you should try to send a text or use social media to let people know you are ok. After you have alerted people that you are safe, you need to be careful where you go from there. If you are in your home, you need to make sure the floors are sturdy. The streets might be flooded or have downed power lines, make sure to stay away from the water and to not touch any wet electrical equipment.
If you are trapped in the shelter, use your phone to call emergency services, yell, or try to find something like a pipe to hit and make a ton of noise.
If you evacuated from your home, make sure you only go back when you have been given permission by the authorities. Take as many pictures as you can to send to your insurance company. Be sure to wear jeans, boots, and gloves when cleaning up the debris because animals could have sought shelter in your home or things in the house cause you harm from being broken.
Water damage can be extensive and expensive, but hiring a water mitigation specialist like AdvantaClean can help you with insurance and assessing the water-loss damages. When you begin cleaning up your water damage, make sure it is professionally done and fully treated to avoid mold growth.
Be aware that not all water damage cleanup is equal and those who are not certified in water damage cleanup might not do a thorough job, which means mold could start growing. If you are concerned about potential mold growth, call AdvantaClean for a free visual mold inspection or to have us do some mold tests. Don’t let mold ruin your health on top of the stress of fixing a building or home affected by a natural disaster.