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5 Steps to Prepare for a Natural Disaster

In order to stay prepared for extreme weather brought on by climate change, you should take these five steps.


Kate Dischino

Vice President of Emergency Programs, Americares

Storms like last year’s Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change and many communities face a prolonged recovery from back-to-back disasters. On the heels of last year’s record-breaking hurricane season, forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association are predicting yet another above-average season with 15 to 21 named storms, including three to five major hurricanes. 

At the same time, severe drought and extreme heat are fueling wildfires throughout the west, sending families fleeing and leaving communities in piles of charred ruins. And intense flooding on the scale we have seen in Germany and China is increasingly becoming more common. With global warming, we are likely to see more intense and frequent heatwaves and more moisture in the atmosphere, leading to flash floods and severe weather events. 

As we see more unprecedented weather events affecting disaster-prone regions and beyond, here are five steps you can take to be ready before disaster strikes.

1. Make a plan

Every family should have an emergency plan that includes a meet-up location to reconnect should you become separated. Keep a contact list of important phone numbers in your phone as well as in your wallet in case you cannot charge your phone. 

2. Build a kit

Pack an emergency kit with enough food and water for at least three days (one gallon per person per day); first aid supplies; a change of clothes for each person and COVID19 protective supplies. Be sure to include the needs of pets and those with special diets. 

3. Keep medication on hand

Always have at least a seven-day supply of medications on hand and keep it in a go-bag or emergency kit. Pharmacies and doctors’ offices may be closed in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and running out of critically needed medicines can lead to a health crisis during an already difficult and stressful time. 

4. Make copies of important documents

Keep digital copies of your insurance policies, health insurance cards, vaccination cards and prescriptions on your phone, in the cloud or a USB memory stick. 

5. Stay informed and connected to your community 

Many counties, municipalities, and police departments have local alert systems you can sign up for in advance. Get to know the community organizations that can provide food, water, medical care, and other assistance should your family need help in a crisis. 

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