Preparing for a Disaster in Advance Can Save Lives & Make a Big Difference in the Recovery Process
Being ready for a disaster can make a big difference in the recovery process. Disaster readiness across the United States depends on a variety of factors, including location, socio-economic status, risk perception, experience with past disasters, and having a disability. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Household Preparedness Survey:
59% of adults in the U.S. have pursued three or more 12 preparedness actions, such as knowing evacuation routes or signing up for alerts and warnings
44% have saved for a rainy day
44% of adults said they were prepared for a disaster
Everyone should have a Disaster Plan. Where can you start?
Two great places to start are Ready.gov and the American Red Cross. These sites give general and specific planning advice for surviving different types of disasters.
You can start with a Disaster Plan like this one offered by the American Red Cross, which includes free disaster plan templates you can download and print to discuss with your family.
This Emergency Ready Sheet by Disability Rights Texas helps people with disabilities keep important information in one place in case a disaster or emergency strikes.
This video by Disability Rights Texas covers what people with disabilities need to know to prepare for a disaster. Learn what to do before, during, and after a disaster. Watch the video
Safeguard Your Documents in Advance of an Emergency
Taking steps to safeguard your documents before an emergency strikes can save you a lot of stress and hassle.
One of the most common issues survivors face after a disaster is replacing lost or destroyed documents.
Why is it important to safeguard your documents before an emergency strikes? Legal documents such as rental agreements, ownership documents, financial records, utility bills, and personal identification documents are essential for many federal and state recovery programs. If you don't have these documents readily available, this may cause delays in obtaining assistance.
What should you do to safeguard your documents?
Take copies and keep them in multiple locations that are secure.
Save digital copies of your documents.
Use fireproof and waterproof storage containers or envelopes.
Don't stop with a disaster plan; make sure you have a kitusing this information from the American Red Cross. If you can't afford to make a complete kit, see the list here from Ready.gov, start with just a few items, and add to your kit until it's complete.
If you have a smart phone, use it to help keep you prepared by using the following applications:
If you don't have a smartphone, or want to save bandwidth by using text, FEMA can provide safety tips and find open shelters here. They can also send Wireless Emergency Alerts to phones that can receive them. Click herefor more information.
Popular Mechanics tells us how to survive anything. Fires and floods are the most common disasters. More people are vulnerable to flooding than they realize it. Find out your flood risk and get more information on the National Flood Insurance Program here.
Consumer Reports has another good general disaster preparedness article and gives ratings for many disaster related products.