Posts tagged: how to survive disaster

How To Survive Any Disaster Part 2: How To Survive An Earthquake

Italy Earthquakephoto:

I tried to picture how I’d react if my house was just about to crash over me and my family.Just like most people, I’d probably freak out and do exactly what I shouldn’t: run down the stairs to get the kids and then go straight out the door and stop in front of the house, where approximately 100 things can fall on me, starting with the house walls and ending with the tree in my yard.

So what’s a man to do when he realizes he’s not actually as prepared for a disaster as Bruce Willis? Well, I don’t know what you’d do… but I started researching earthquake survival like there was no tomorrow. Here’s a brief of what I found:

What you should do before an earthquake:

– Get informed!Read more articles, books or courses on earthquake survival. And watch some documentaries about the biggest earthquakes in history. You’ll notice a whole lot of deadly mistakes you can avoid.

Tell your family all about earthquake survival. Of course, you’ll do everything to protect them if a disaster hits your area, but you’re not a superhero. There are times when you can’t reach your family to provide help. So help them help themselves. It’s the best thing you can do for your loved ones.

Bullet-proof your home. According to The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, here’s what you need to do to get a secure home, that won’t crash on you at the first shake.

• Bolt bookshelves, water heaters, and cabinets to wall studs.

• Anchor things so they don’t move or fall during an earthquake.

• Move cabinets and tall furniture to keep them from falling on you or other family members. Anchor them to studs in the wall with steel angle brackets.

• Put heavy or breakable things on bottom shelves. You can even put “fences” or restraining wires to keep items from falling off open shelves.

• Put child-proof or swing-hook latches on bathroom and kitchen cabinets.

• Use screw-eyes or tongue-in-groove hangers to mount mirrors or pictures instead of hanging them on nails.

• Be sure that ceiling fans and light fixtures are well anchored or have earthquake safety wiring.

• Anchor computers, televisions, stereos and like items with heavy duty Velcro, at home and at work.

• Strap your water heater to anchor it to wall studs. In California, water heaters being securely strapped is a building code requirement.

• Do not assume that anything is too heavy to move in an earthquake. When the ground is going up and down in waves, it bounces even the heaviest equipment into the air.

Enough survival techniques for today, hope you’ll start using them to protect your family against disasters. I’ll be back with more earthquake survival strategies next time, so make sure you don’t miss it! Might save your life one day.

How To Survive Any Disaster Part 2: How To Survive A Flood

How To Survive Any Disaster Part 2 - How To Survive A Flood

As promised, today we’re going to cover flood survival. This is the most frequent disaster in the US, so knowing the right techniques to anticipate and survive a flood is absolutely mandatory.

Now you may be thinking: “It’s the most frequent disaster in the US, surely I know how to protect myself from a flood!”, but I’ll let the facts speak for themselves: every single year, floods kill more than 100 people and cause more than $4 BILLION in damages (according to the Red Cross).

If people were really prepared the right way for this common natural disaster… do you think there would be so many losses (lives and valuables)? The problem is people live under the impression they know what to do in case of a flood. After all, the country is filled with those ludicrous leaflets that show you what you need to do when you hear the flood warning. My personal favorite: leaflets that look like a comic strip, to make it more “appealing”.

Let’s be serious, that’s all BS. The same outdated info on a tiny piece of paper. That’s not gonna save your family when a flood hits your town… So let’s get to “the real deal” and list some techniques you can actually use:

#1: Estimate Damages

According to Abhishek Agarwal, the survival expert,this is the first step you should take in planning your survival.

It shouldn’t take you more than an hour, so you can do it today, if you’ve got the time. Just imagine the worst case scenario: a major flood hit your town. Your house is under continuous attack by raging waters. What are its soft spots? List the places where water is likely to infiltrate inside. Write down what could happen when water gets into you house (you could get electrocuted, your floor might get swollen, you could lose your electronic devices, you may have pets trapped inside the house etc.).

Then think about the outside of your house. What happens if the tree in your backyard falls on your roof? What becomes of your garden if it gets soaked in water for a couple of weeks? Brainstorming with your family is the best way to cover as many things as possible.

Then, it’s time for financial assessment. Write down how much you’d have to pay if the worst case scenario actually came true. Then calculate how much it would cost you to prevent each problem. If it’s cheaper to prevent them, then start investing, little by little. Take your time and cover everything one by one.

#2: Be annoyingly curious

This means you should always keep a close watch on flood information, whether it’s on the Internet or your local planning agency. Actually, it’s best if you do your research both ways: search the net for the flood “calendar”, listen to the radio as often as you can and be the first to hear the flood warning… and go annoy the hell out of your local planning agency workers. Ask them as many questions as possible. You may not be their favorite guy there, buy, hey, better safe than sorry.

#3: Involve your community

A collective effort is generally more successful than an individual one. To make a stronger survival plan, you’ve got two options:

– If your community has an official survival plan in case of floods, make sure your strategies are aligned with it. Swimming against the stream is not exactly the best decision in this case, so ask your local agency all about the survival plan and take it into consideration when you start planning yours.

– If your community doesn’t have a survival plan in case of floods, make one yourself and share it with as many people as possible. When a flood is about to hit your town, they’ll come to you for help and you can work together to fight the disaster. Remember never to underestimate the power of a community!

#4: Always keep a 72-hour bug-out bag at hand

At the first sign of warning, your can jump into your car and take your kids out of town until it’s over.

ATTENTION: You should never leave your house when the flood has already started or is about to start! You should only flee your home a day before due date.

#5: Protect important documents

This is a crucial measure, as documents are pretty hard to replace (and quite expensive, too). Make sure your documents are locked in a waterproof container, somewhere at hand. During the disaster, keep them as close to you as possible, even if you leave town to your safe haven.

However, if another person (may it be family, neighbor or complete stranger) is in danger and needs your total attention, forget about the documents. After all, they’re just fancy pieces of paper, right?

Next on “How to survive any disaster”: earthquakes. Stay safe!

How To Survive Any Disaster

hurricane-isaac-pounds-louisiana-coastphoto source:

Part 1: How to survive a hurricane

Ever since Hurricane Isaac was rumored to hit the US, a lot of “How to survive Hurricane Isaac” article starting flooding the Internet (pun totally intended!). And I sincerely salute this initiative, as it could save millions of lives… if the articles were perfectly correct and not misleading, of course.

Now, I’m not saying ALL the information I’ve read in the past few days is wrong. I’ve read many useful survival strategies (some that I didn’t know myself), but I’ve noticed some rookie mistakes, too, and that worried me a bit.

I mean, if you really want to help someone survive a disaster, at least make sure you’re actually helping them and not making matters worse. Especially since people are most prone to deadly mistakes when they panic. And who doesn’t panic when everything’s on the line (your family, your friends, your pets, your home)?

In this kind of extreme situations, one tiny mistake is enough to crash all your survival plans (if you have them in the first place) and turn you into a living bait. So, at the risk of repeating myself, let me remind you of the Golden Rule of survival:

Always Be Informed!

And I’d also add: make sure the information you read is correct.

Now let’s get to some tips on hurricane survival. More exactly, to the mistakes you need to avoid if you want to get out safe and sound.

Deadly Mistake #1: I heard the warning, but I’m going to stick around till it the weather starts acting out.

This one is the first and most common mistake. People tend to take things less seriously than they should and not realize how much they put at stake for not fleeing the house when they should.

The moment you hear a hurricane warning, just pack up your stuff or take your ready-made bug-out bags and get out of town! Do not endanger yourself and your kids just because “the weather seems lovely”. In two hours’ time, the storm can devastate your house and you won’t even know what hit you. We’re talking about nature here and we’ve got enough proof of its force with Hurricane Katrina, so let’s not repeat that mistake again!

Remember: better safe than sorry.

Deadly Mistake #2: I’ve got time to prepare later, it’s not like it’s going to strike today, right?

Here’s something I’ve seen way too many times: you hear the warning on tv, THEN you go prepare. That’s a huge no-no because that’s when everyone else starts preparing, too. This means supermarkets will be cramped with people hurrying to buy food and water. And the best window protections will be already long gone when you get to the store.

You need to be one step ahead everyone else and already be prepared for any sort of disaster. All you need is a 72-hour bug-out for you and your family members, a 7-day stockpile, a small generator (usually, the grid breaks down during hurricanes) and strong window protections. If you plan ahead, you won’t have to break your bank account or fight for the last loaf of bread. Be smart and get ready the right way!

Deadly mistake #3: I’ll just tape the windows to make sure they won’t break

This is like saying a wooly hat will protect you in case of a car crash. If you want your windows to be 100% secure, get some rock-solid shutters. Just think about how much you risk if your windows crash: your whole home turns into a whirl that eats everything up. Including you and your loved ones.

And don’t just take my word for it. warned people about this silly habit of taping windows to make them hurricane proof. Apparently, it’s a common “protection measure”.

Deadly mistake #4: The weather’s getting really bad, I’ll drive out of town before it’s too late.

You’ve got two options here: you either flee your town right after you hear the warning, or you lock yourself in the house and make the last preparations for the hurricane. There is no other alternative. Especially not getting in your car and driving away when you’ve got a hurricane behind you. These things will hit you like nothing you could possibly imagine! If you’re unlucky enough to get right in the middle of things, you’re as good as dead.

So if you didn’t leave when you were advised to do so, then take this option off this list until the hurricane’s all gone and the roads are clear again.

Deadly mistake #5: It’s just going to come and go, like any other hurricane. Tomorrow it will probably be gone already.

Sure, that might be true, but you may still be stuck with torrential rain, floods, closed roads, empty supermarkets and (maybe) with some damage to your house.

So my ultimate advice is: never underestimate natural disasters such as hurricanes. Even if it’s not as destructive as first estimated (see Hurricane Isaac), it can still make a lot of damage. And you need to be prepared for everything, even the aftermath of a disaster.

So make sure you’ve got enough food, water, meds and power for a week or so. Just in case.

These are the most common mistakes people make when dealing with a hurricane. Next time, we’ll cover another disaster that frequently happens in the US: flood. So stay tuned and stay safe!