Bushfires, flooding, hurricanes. There's no shortage of the amount of natural disasters we've been seeing on the news in recent months. Mother nature is an uncontrollable force, and when she decides to unleash, there's no holding back.
When it comes to being prepared for a natural disaster, there's a few fundamental rules that you need to know. Because natural disasters are dangerous. If you want to survive, you need to understand what you're up against, and the right ways to behave. Otherwise you may be risking your life, or the lives of your loved ones.
Follow these rules and you'll have the best chance to survive.
Don't underestimate what you're up against
On a calm summer's day, it can be easy to forget the destructive capability of a tropical storm. Never, ever, be cocky about what you're up against. Hurricanes tear houses down. Fires can burn you out, and if you're stuck facing rising flood waters, you're basically screwed until the rescue teams come in. Without food, water and supplies, you're going to have a bad time.
What I'd recommend here is doing a little research of the different types of natural disasters that may strike in your local community, and ensure you've got a plan for each. Perhaps you need a stockpile of food if you're planning to hunker down, or an escape route if evacuation is your best option. Just don't underestimate what you're up against. Sometimes turning tail and leaving is your best option.
Keep your family together at all times
This really grinds my gears, but in Hollywood, every time there's a crisis, a killer, or just bad things happening in general, the characters all split up. Never, ever, do this. There's strength in numbers, and with you all working together you've got a much better chance of survival. Of course, you're going to have to focus on ensuring everyone who needs help gets it, like any elderly neighbors, or people with special needs. And don't ever leave anyone behind. There's no excuse for that.
What I'd recommend is to ensure that everyone in your family understands your survival plan, so that if they're unlucky enough to be somewhere else when a crisis hits, like travelling interstate, or even just at a different location in the city, they know where to go to find you. Without a plan in place, it becomes very difficult to reconnect and group up again.
Prioritize the gear and supplies that will help you survive
Now I'll admit, I'm more than a bit mushy when it comes to my family, but the nature of a natural disaster means that people behave irrationally. You want to save all of your personal belongings, like your favorite clothes, gifts and other items, and of course all of your children's toys, pictures, and everything else in your home that has sentimental value.
But that's the problem. If you're packing up your entire home like this, it's going to set you back hours, and you're not going to make it very far when you do eventually get out on the highway.
What I'd recommend is to keep your bug-out-bags packed and ready to go, in a nice tactical backpack like these. I've also got a couple of larger boxes with additional gear that goes in my car. I've got mine organized in tubs in my garage, that I can simply grab, throw in the trunk of my car, and we're out the door in under 10 minutes. Of course, this does mean we're leaving most of our sentimental items behind, and is why I've got my pictures backed up and on a hard drive, and we've chosen to include a few key items in our packing list so we're not leaving "everything" behind. Just make sure you've got enough camping supplies, food, water, clothing and communications gear to last a week or more on the road. You never know just how bad it's going to be.
Don't let yourself give in to fear and panic
Once the news outlets start telling the general public to evacuate if they want to stay alive, you can expect that people will begin to panic. But this is the last thing you want. Getting caught up in all the potential "what-if" scenarios here isn't going to help your family survive, it's too late for that. If you freeze up, or have a panic attack, you're only going to slow your family down.
Instead, your focus should be on the action steps you need to take to survive. Focus on the current task at hand, which may be packing your car, collecting your gear, and getting on the road. Try not to think about all the bad things that could happen, your mind should be in the present, so you're ready to react to what's happening around you, and give your family a chance to survive.
Never stop learning and preparing
Now mother nature is a force, but she's not unbeatable. The key in this last section is to ensure you're constantly learning, improving, and making plans to deal with the potential emergencies that could strike. The best way to ensure the safety of you and your family is to stay informed, follow the news and start making preparations as soon as you see anything concerning start to happen.
But don't just keep it to yourself. The best way to overcome a natural disaster as a community is for the general public to be prepared, so talk to your friends, family and neighbors about the different disasters that could strike. It may be a difficult conversation, and in my experience, it's usually easier to start these talks when there's a similar crisis happening in another part of the country on the news. Because it's far easier to convince someone to start preparing when they can see the outcomes of not being prepared on the nightly news.
Of course, the fundamental lesson when it comes to natural disasters is they are survivable. So long as you've got a plan for what you're up against, work to keep your family together and are able to make smart decisions about when to evacuate and with what. Starting these preparations now will make all the difference, and give you an edge over the rest of the population who is simply relying on the government for a hand out. I don't know about you, but when it comes to the life and well-being of my family, I would never risk that in the hands of anyone but my own.