Protecting Your Home and Health: A Disaster Preparedness Guide
Every part of the country faces threats from at least one or more types of natural or man-made disasters. Earthquakes, which are primarily known to plague the West coast, can bring down the strongest buildings and destroy roads and infrastructure. Hurricanes are severe windstorms that mostly occur along the East coast, and can wipe out large swaths of homes. Flooding, the most common type of natural or man-made disaster can destroy homes, buildings and infrastructure. Wildfires can be caused by lightning or human behavior. Like flooding, wildfires can occur anywhere, destroying homes, infrastructure and even forests. Tornadoes are severe windstorms like hurricanes, except smaller and faster. They inflict concentrated, heavy damage across a smaller area and typically occur in the Midwest. Heat waves, which typically occur during the summer season, are weather events marked by temperatures far above average, often exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat waves can destroy crops and raise the threat of wildfires. In addition, this type of weather event presents the threat of death by heat stroke to animals as well as humans. All of these disasters also threaten to inflict a severe loss of wildlife and human life in their wake. While the predictability of these disasters is unreliable, particularly when it comes to earthquakes, it is possible for people to prepare ahead of time. Preparation is necessary in order to reduce both the severity of damage to property and the likelihood of fatal injuries.
- Ohio Department of Public Safety: Are you Ready for a Flood?: This Ohio website is designed to help readers prepare for the possibility of flooding. It does this by listing things that the reader should know and prepare for. Getting and maintaining flood insurance and knowing common flood terminology are just some of the items that are discussed.
- Volusia County, Florida: How to Prepare for Floods: A flood preparedness guide that tells the reader how to prepare for a flood. This includes what supplies should be on hand in the event of flooding and preparing a plan. The guide also lists what should be done during a flood and after.
- National Geographic: Flood Safety Tips: National Geographic lists safety tips that are helpful for flooding. The tips include what to do well in advance of a flood occurring, when a flood is imminent, during a flood, and after it. Each tip is listed in bullet point format.
- Floodsmart.gov: Before a Flood: This web page explains what families should do before a flood hits. The article is in three sections. The sections include Safeguarding Your Possessions, Prepare Your Home, and Develop a Family Emergency Plan.
- United States Search and Rescue Task Force: Flooding: A page listing the names of different types of flooding, such as river flooding and flash flooding. It also gives advice on how to stay safe before, during and after a flood.
- National Weather Service (NOAA): Hurricane Preparedness – Be Ready: A web page that highlights actions that people should take to prepare for a hurricane. These actions include gathering information, making an emergency plan and creating an emergency supply kit, and understanding what to do in order to recover after a hurricane.
- Centers for Disease Control: Key Facts About Hurricane Readiness: A PDF document that discusses how to prepare for a hurricane. This includes information about evacuation preparedness.
- Lafayette, Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness: What to Do in Case of a Hurricane: An article that discusses how to stay safe during a hurricane by explaining what to do before, during and after the hurricane. It also explains to the reader what hurricanes are.
- University of West Florida: Hurricane Safety Tips: An article that provides readers with tips on how to stay safe in the event of a hurricane. The article starts by explaining exactly what a hurricane is. It also includes a chart that categorizes hurricanes. Additionally, the chart provides information about damage, sustained winds, and storm surge for each category.
- Florida International University: Get Ready for Hurricane Season: A PDF document that reviews information about hurricanes and safety advice. The document includes related terms, a hurricane scale, planning tips, insurance, protection and advice about elderly, pets and evacuations.
- US Department of Education: Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning – A Preparedness Guide: A PDF guide that gives the readers facts about tornadoes, including an illustrated explanation of how they form. Preparedness and safety tips are also included in the guide, which also covers information about thunderstorms and lightning.
- Purdue University: Tornado Safety Tips: A PDF safety and fact sheet about tornadoes. Readers will find a list of the necessary supplies that are needed in the event of a tornado. Readers are also given information about tornado watches and warnings. Danger signs and what to do when at home, work, school, or in the car are also discussed.
- The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research: Tornadoes: An article that explains what tornadoes are. The article also explains the differences between tornadoes, such as weak versus violent tornadoes.
- Iowa State University: Summary of Tornado Safety Rules: An article that includes a section for tornado safety rules and a section for tornado safety guidelines. Each section includes a numbered list of relevant information.
- University of Wisconsin Extension: Tornado Preparedness and Response: A PDF document on preparedness and response strategies for families. The reader is given advice for before, during, and after a tornado. The document also discusses food safety following a tornado and information about lightning.
- University of Idaho: Earthquakes: An article that provides readers with information about earthquakes. It includes how earthquakes are measured and preparing for an earthquake. The readers of the article will also learn what to do when they are inside a building during an earthquake.
- FEMA: Earthquakes: This web page discusses earthquakes and includes a tabbed section about safety. Depending on the tab, the reader can view information about what he or she should do before, during or after an earthquake. There is also an additional tab with more information regarding quakes.
- University of California, Irvine: Top 10 Tips for Earthquake Safety: A PDF document from the University of California Police Department website. The tips are divided up into sections.
- Stanford University: Earthquake Preparedness Information: A PDF leaflet that provides readers with evacuation instructions, medical emergency information, and general earthquake preparedness information. The leaflet also gives the reader information that is specific to the campus.
- Red Cross: Heat Wave Safety Checklist: A PDF safety checklist from the Red Cross. The checklist is meant for keeping readers safe and healthy during a heat wave. Information is also provided to help people recognize and care for heat related emergencies.
- Environmental Protection Agency: Extreme Heat: A page on the EPA website that is designed to help people prepare for and stay safe during extreme heat conditions. Concerns such as pets and power outages are also discussed.
- NHS Choices – Heat wave: be prepared: An article that discusses and explains heat waves. Readers of the article will learn why it is a problem, who is at the most risk of having problems from heat waves, and tips on how to cope with them.
- United States Army: Heat Wave: A PDF document that reviews heat waves, how to prepare for them and what to do. Heat related emergencies are also included in the document.
- Colorado State University: Protect your Home, Property and Forest from Wildfire: An article that discusses how to protect a home and property from wildfires. The page includes links to FireWise guidelines for people living in Colorado’s foothills, mountains, and grasslands.
- UC Berkeley: Steps you can take to protect your home during wildfire season: An article from UC Berkeley News that discusses steps to prepare a home during wildfire season. The article includes three steps with detailed information.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Coping With Wildfires: An article about coping with wildfires. It discusses protecting family and homes, and also discusses wildfire that threatens communities. Evacuation and disaster relief are also a part of the article.
- New York State Government: Thunderstorm Safety Tips: This web page explains the difference between a severe thunderstorm warning and a severe thunderstorm watch. The rest of the article focuses on preparing for storms and how to stay safe during and after the storm strikes.
- Discovery Channel: How to Stay Safe During a Thunderstorm: An article that discusses how to stay safe during a thunderstorm. The safety advice is given for people to who know a storm is coming. It also advises the reader on staying put following the thunderstorm.
- Bainbridge Township Fire Department: Thunderstorm Safety: An article that provides information about thunderstorms and lightning. Preparedness information is for during and after the storm. Information about safety indoors and outdoors is also provided.
- Government of Monroe County, Michigan: Thunderstorm/Tornado Safety: An article about thunderstorms safety. Readers are advised on what to do when the storm approaches, how to prepare for it when it threatens, and what should be done after it is over.
Winter Storms and Blizzards
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center – Winter Storms: The Deceptive Killers: A PDF about winter storms. It is filled with informative information about winter storms, snow, ice, and winter flooding. The article maps out what type of winter storms most often hit the different parts of the United States. Information on how to prepare for winter storms at home, work, on farms, and even in cars is discussed.
- West Virginia University Extension Center: Winter Safety Tips: Readers of this page will find a bullet pointed list of winter storm terms. Winter storm tips are also listed with links that will take the reader to further information on each of the tips.
- Vanderbilt University: Winter Ice Storm Safety Rules: Safety rules for ice storm safety are listed on this PDF document. The rules are for before the storm and during it.
- Andrews University Office of Campus Safety: Blizzard Procedures: An article that reviews what should be done in the event of a blizzard. The type of clothing that should be worn during a blizzard is listed, such as a hat and water-resistant boots and coat. The remaining information is regarding blizzard procedures.
- Kingsborough Community College Department of Public Safety: Winter Safety Tips: A PDF document of winter safety tips that can be implemented in advance. The article also includes the importance of having a family disaster plan and winterizing the home.
General Disaster Preparedness
- Preparedness Essentials: An article on how organizations and businesses can be prepared for an emergency. It includes a five step preparedness process.
- USDA Emergency Preparedness: Keeping Food Safe During and Emergency – Be Prepared for an Emergency: A fact sheet from the United States Department of Agriculture website. The fact sheet discusses ways that people can keep food safe during an emergency. It also includes a chart of how long food items should be kept without refrigeration before they are thrown out.
- Preparing for an Emergency: The Smart Thing to Do: A PDF brochure that explains why it is important to prepare for a disaster. The brochure will also help families to prepare by giving advice on how to make an emergency kit, a communication plan, and an evacuation plan.
- Prepare Yourself and Your Home for an Emergency: An emergency preparedness checklist. Items needed for an emergency are listed by category and includes a “completed” check box.
- A Disaster Kit for Staying at Home: This PDF document explains the importance of being prepared at home for a disaster. The document explains what items are needed and how much is required to sustain a family until help arrives. This includes food, clothing, medication, baby items and emergency supplies.