How to be better prepared for natural disasters

Antoinette Lavoisier

(Photography by Getty images)

This week in Texas the weather is perfect like it's known to be. Last week due to the weakening of the polar vortex Texas experienced an ice storm that shook up the entire state. This is something that doesn't happen in Texas. Texas is known for it's hurricanes and sweltering hot temperatures in the summer not snow and ice . Despite the weather being mostly in the 70's this week many people still do not have electricity and or water. It's still very hard to go to the grocery store and buy enough items to make a complete meal because the shelves are mostly bare .People have been reduced to buying whatever is available to sustain their families. The freak ice storm in Texas is a lesson to us all that we must be prepared for anything because you just never know what will happen. Here are 5 ways to be better prepared for natural disasters, even the unexpected natural disasters .

1. keep drinking water stored away.

In the event of a natural disaster rather it's a hurricane, earth quake, or snow storm clean drinking water is likely to be lost.
Hurricanes  contaminate the public water supply, especially if a tidal surge or flooding comes with it. Drinking contaminated water can cause illness. In the area hit by a hurricane or tropical storm, water treatment plants may not be operating. If they are, storm damage and flooding can taint water lines. During earthquakes an influx of sediments from the surrounding area can impact water quality for surface and ground water systems.The water level may either increase to the point where water is flowing at land surface or decrease to the point where wells becomes dry. During snow and ice storms water pipes can become frozen and burst. Ice Jams can also ocur. Long cold spells can cause rivers and lakes to freeze. A rise in the water level or a thaw breaks the ice into large chunks which become jammed at manmade and natural obstructions. Ice jams can act as a dam, resulting in severe flooding. We all need water to survive so in case of emergency always keep at least a week worth of water stored for your family.

2. stock up on candles .

Natural disasters are also likely to knock out the power. Hurricanes come with high winds and tornadoes that take down power lines and destroy power transformers. Earthquakes shake up the ground causing powerlines to fall down. Ice and snow storms freeze powerlines resorting in outages. If you lose power and do not have enough candles for yourself and your family to see it will be very difficult to get through any natural disasters. Try to keep at least four 12 hour or more candles for each room. Oil lanterns may be used as well and is more cost effective. Just be very careful with oil lanterns as they are known to cause fires if knocked over or used improperly. Use your candles or lanterns only when necessary and for a limited amount of time. You will also want to keep flashlights and batteries on hand that you can find quickly incase you lose power suddenly. Another great idea that is often overlooked by many is solar power phone chargers or charged batteries to charge your phone. In the event of an emergency you will need to stay connected to your family, friends, and employer.

3. invest in camping items to cook food without electricity and collect fire wood.

Not all of us are campers or even outdoor people but in a natural disaster we will still need and want to prepare hot food for our families. If you don't already have a barbecue pit or something to cook food on outside invest in a camping stoves that can be heated with propane. Propane can also be used for camping heaters to warm your family if you are experiencing an ice or snow storm. If for some reason you do not have any camping stove or barbecue pit then stock up on wood. You can buy it on sale at the end of winter season or collect your own wood throughout the year during pruning or land clearing. You can use firewood to heat your home or build primitive structures to cook food for your family.

4. Stock up on non-perishable food before your entire community needs it.

When there is a natural disaster approaching crowds of people flock to stores and begin to panic buy. Unfortunately this reaction leaves many people that need it without food. Panic buying can be avoided if we stocked up on these items before a state of emergency. During your regular grocery shopping add none perishable items for future emergencies and store them away in a safe dry place. If something should happen you and your family will be ready.

5. Have a first aid kit on hand and sanitation supplies .

In the event of an emergency you or a family member can get hurt. You may be unable to get to a hospital depending on the impact of whatever natural disaster you are facing so you want to be prepared to provide treatment yourself. You will also need sanitation supplies like toilet paper, soap, disinfectants and trash bags. The last thing you want during a natural disaster is to get sick or get an infection. Stock up on these items before you need them as well.

It's unfortunate that sometimes even when we know a natural disaster is approaching we can never be too prepared for it. Still we must try to be as efficient as we possibly can to keep ourselves and our families safe.

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