Protecting Your Home and Health: A Disaster Preparedness Guide

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.
  • 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.




  • 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.

Heat Waves

  • 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.



Winter Storms and Blizzards

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.