How To Prep For Your Region’s Natural Disaster

Hurricane season is creeping up. For most people outside of the coastal south and island nations, that phrase didn’t used to mean a whole lot–but as New Yorkers now know, things have changed.

At the risk of fear mongering, it’s safe to say that one can never be too prepared for a disaster–especially when the devastation of such powerful climate events has the propensity to go severely underestimated.

Below is a categorized list of preparedness measures for denizens from the West to East coasts, and everywhere in between. Spoiler alert: water and food are must haves.



If we’re being honest, tornadoes are arguably the most visually terrifying natural disaster known to humankind. Using the Fujita scale, tornados are measured from anywhere between F1 to F5–the latter being the most destructive–and can clock wind speeds anywhere between 78 to 318 miles per hour.

In 2013 an F4 tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma, leaving 24 dead in its wake and decimating over 1300 homes, schools, and hospitals. Needless to say, preparedness is key.

Before the storm, recommends:

  • Making an emergency kit (flashlights, food, water, medicine, first aid)

  • Designating a safe location (basement, safe room, storm shelter)


What to do during the storm categorized by shelter type:

Structure (hospital, nursing home, high rise, residence)

  • Go to predesignated area; safe room, basement, storm cellar. If you seek shelter in a basement, recommends finding an interior room (away from outside walls) like a closet, on the ground floor.

  • Put on sturdy shoes

  • Do not open windows

If caught outside, offers little in the way of fool proof advice. Some suggestions include:

  • Finding a nearby car and driving to a safe shelter

  • Huddling inside a car and buckling into a the seat after covering yourself with a blanket, coat, or cushion

  • Find a lower area and cover up also adds that most tornado fatalities are caused by flying debris.



Hurricanes are slow moving, but thave devastating impacts on the often wide radius that they cover. As is the case with all disasters, it’s never too early to start preparing.

Before storm:

  • Prepare an emergency kit (detailed above)

  • Create contact cards for your family (name, number, who to reach if lost)

  • Know the elevation of your property–this will help determine how your home will be affected during the storm

  • Identify levees and dams in your area

  • Board windows using storm shutters or exterior strength marine plywood

  • High rise residents are recommended to take shelter on a lower floor since wind increases with height

During storm:

  • Listen to radio or TV broadcasts

  • Turn refrigerator to coldest setting and keep door closed as long as possible

  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes (fill the bathtub or sink)

  • Shelter in small interior room on lowest level is preferable



For residents of the West coast, wildfires are an unfortunate reality of the geography. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the 10 year average acreage consumed by wildfires is about 5.5 million. For those living in forested areas, fire preparedness is a must.

Before fire:

  • Design your landscape and home with the most fire retardant materials possible (alternatively one can spray their homes with fire retardant chemicals)

  • Regularly clean roof and gutters

  • Inspect chimneys twice a year (clean at least once)

  • Install dual sensor smoke detectors on every floor of your house

  • Plan your water needs (Hoses, aqueducts, gasoline powered pump)

 During fire:

  • Arrange temporary housing

  • Wear protective clothing (Heavy shoes, cotton or wool clothing, smoke shield for face)

  • Shut off any natural gas or fuel at the source

  • Place lawn sprinklers on roof and douse areas for as long as possible (be aware of any water restrictions that may be ongoing)Move all flammable furniture away from windows

  • Move all flammable furniture away from windows

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