Emergencies can happen at any time and without warning. The good news is that you can be prepared for nearly any emergency by learning what to do in a natural disaster or severe weather. Make a plan, prep your go-bag, and communicate with your family or friends to ensure everyone knows what to do if an earthquake hits, a tornado touches down, or a hurricane is on the way.
Prepping for an emergency with supplies and plans can make all the difference in critical situations. Nonperishable food, water, a home backup system, and lights can keep you safe and comfortable, especially when the power goes out. Whether it's a small, rumbling earthquake or a massive hurricane, you can stay prepped for it all by understanding the risk of each natural disaster and how to gather what you need for each situation.
California has seen the most serious earthquakes in the U.S., but tremors can occur across the country at any time. Take cover during an earthquake, stay away from windows, and prep by securing top-heavy furniture. The National Safety Council recommends the following precautions that apply to many disaster situations:
- Make sure at least one family member knows first aid and CPR
- Have a family communication plan in place
- Have all family members’ and other important phone numbers written down or memorized
- Have an emergency kit in your car and at least three days of food and water at home
- Store all important documents like birth certificates, insurance policies, etc., in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box
- Know how to shut off utilities
Floods can happen anywhere at any time of year, and they’re the most common weather hazards in the country. They can occur within minutes or hours of a heavy rainfall, waters can rise as high as 30 feet or more, and densely populated areas have a higher risk, according to the National Security Council.
The NSC states that almost half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related. Turn around immediately if you’re driving and you approach a water-covered road.
Hurricanes are destructive forces of nature that can uproot any area. The good news is that they can be forecasted several days ahead of landfall, giving residents time to evacuate or take necessary precautions. Some tips on how to prepare for a hurricane include:
- Board up windows and secure loose items
- Have an evacuation plan in place
- Take shelter in a sturdy building and avoid driving
- Stay indoors until authorities tell you it’s safe to go outside
The NSC states that every single state in the U.S. has experienced a tornado. Tornado season runs between May and June in the Southern Plains, June and July in the central U.S., and earlier in the spring on the Gulf Coast. If a tornado is spotted near you, seek shelter immediately and stay away from all windows. You should also know the difference between a tornado watch and warning, where a tornado watch means that conditions are favorable, and a warning is when a tornado has been spotted.
Wildfires and fires at home can happen due to heat or negligence, and it’s crucial to know what to do if there is a fire in your area or home. Working smoke alarms are a must, and so is an escape plan for your family. Learn how to use a fire extinguisher, and have a plan in place should you need to evacuate quickly.
Winter Severe Weather
Winter weather can bring its own set of emergencies, from snow and ice storms to blizzards and extreme cold temperatures. It's essential to be prepared for winter weather, so you can stay safe and warm during and after a winter storm.
- Stay informed: Stay up to date on weather forecasts and alerts, so you can be prepared for any changes or shifts in the weather.
- Dress in layers: Wear multiple layers of warm clothing to help retain heat, including a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against the elements.
- Keep a winter weather kit: Assemble a kit with essential items such as food, water, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and extra batteries.
- Protect your home: Insulate your pipes, windows and doors to prevent them from freezing and keep a stock of de-icing salt to clear driveways and sidewalks.
- Take care when traveling: Before heading out, check road conditions and allow extra time for your journey. Always carry a winter survival kit in your vehicle, including blankets, food, and water.
Prep With Emergency Supplies
If you’re driving, you should have a properly inflated tire, jumper cables, a tool kit, first aid kit, water, and nonperishable food in case of an emergency. Goal Zero can also help with necessary items like our Torch 500 Multi-Purpose Light, Lighthouse 600 Lantern, and Lighthouse Micro Flash USB Rechargeable Lantern. Our smaller power stations and power banks, like our Yeti 200X, Yeti 500X, Sherpa 100AC, and Venture 75, can keep your phone charged while you evacuate, so you can stay in touch with your friends and family.
At home, you’ll want a different set of supplies that can last for several days in case of lasting storms and power outages. You should have one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, three days of nonperishable foods, a can opener, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, a first-aid kit, and a tool kit. Goal Zero Home Backup Systems can keep you from going without power for days at a time, too. Our 3000Wh Home Backup Solar Generator uses power from the sun to keep your home running, and our 7800Wh Home Backup Solar Generator does the same, but with more power.
Stay safe and keep comfortable with help from Goal Zero and a solid emergency plan. It will make all the difference in an emergency.