What natural disasters are most likely to affect you and your family, and are you ready for them? Walk through this simple exercise, and you’ll soon have a master disaster plan in place. First, check out the top disasters that affect the United States.
- Droughts/water shortages
Other possible disasters include landslides, sinkholes, tsunamis, heat waves, and volcanic eruptions. Take a minute to rearrange these disasters in the order of most likely to least likely where you live. My list looks like this.
- Heat wave
- Drought/water shortage
- Tornadoes (In my case, our wild thunderstorms sometimes toss out a microburst or two.)
- Wildfires (Not in my neighborhood but highly likely if we were vacationing in the mountains.)
- Blizzards (Again, only if we were up north in the mountains.)
- Hurricanes (Not a chance. Ever.)
Once you’ve identified the most likely natural disasters that might affect you, determine your level of preparedness for at least the top three. The beauty of having a preparedness mindset is that the steps you take to prepare for one type of disaster overlaps and helps you prepare for others.
In my case, a long-term heat wave might result in a power outage. This is my very top concern since it takes two to three weeks for the human body to naturally adjust to higher temperatures. Back in 1995, 700 people died during the five day Chicago heat wave. Imagine how many more people in the Phoenix area would die during a hot summer heat wave without air conditioning, swamp coolers or even simple electric fans. So, our summertime practice is to keep most of the windows covered on hot days and have battery-powered fans on hand. Our portable swamp cooler could run on a generator. I’ve stored water, which is a huge help in staying cool, and our gas grill outside would be helpful in cooking, especially all the meat that would be in our freezer. We might also have the ability to escape the heat by traveling to the mountains for a while. (You’d better believe during the first few minutes of a power outage I’d be checking to make sure it wasn’t an EMP!)
I have plenty of water stored, but long-term droughts have wiped out entire civilizations! It’s not possible to store enough water to last for months or years, and drilling a well on our property isn’t feasible. Our best bet is to relocate to an area not susceptible to this particular disaster. Just a week ago, our local newspaper published a story stating that nearly every county in Arizona is facing a water shortage. When that happens, our first steps will be the logical ones: stop watering the yard and garden, stop washing our vehicles, limit the amount of laundry we do and how often we flush the toilets. I was encouraged to see that our state has a Drought Plan already in place, but I’m not depending on any authorities to do what’s best for me and my family.
It sounds strange that floods would hold such a high place on my list considering that droughts are a real and present concern, but the fact is that in the desert, even a little extra rainfall can result in flash floods. I’ve seen our riverbeds go from dry to roaring rivers, and all that water has got to go somewhere! Our best bet in being prepared for floods is always keeping a close eye on weather reports and being ready to evacuate, with a destination in mind! I can’t overstate how important it is to stay informed.
What are the most likely disasters in your area, and how well prepared are you?
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