Published On: Sat, Dec 16th, 2017

How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster

Hurricane Irma, wildfires in Colorado, the record heat wave…this year was full of natural disasters. Water or fire has not destroyed your home yet, but it is hard to gaze into the future. That is why every American should have a plan how to preserve finances while experiencing a natural disaster.

Nowadays it is much easier to predict disastrous hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. We know which regions are apt to winter storms, and we are informed beforehand whether a tornado is going to bring its wrecking power.

But despite advance warnings, we are still not ready for disasters. We do not want to believe it can affect us.

According to Time Magazine poll, 56% of people surveyed told they survived a natural disaster. But only 16% reported they got prepared for the next one. The objection seems to be a lifestyle.

Shelves at ShopRite in Montgomery, NY, USA, emptied of bottled water on eve of Hurricane Sandy 28 October 2012 Daniel Case photo

Get prepared for natural disasters


  • Savings for rainy days

Surprisingly we do not take the obvious actions. Not only a disaster itself can cause damage, but also the aftermath of it. Your boss may close the company for some time or forever. Your immediate family may be injured and you may need money urgently.

It is not necessary that ATMs or banking centers will work after a natural disaster.  Even if you stay with your relatives or friends, you cannot be there your whole life. You should start a new life and have some emergency funds for this. It is necessary to get as much cash as possible. You can take a loan beforehand to make your financial ends meet. Why can’t you apply for loans, when some people use quick installment loans with bad credit and have a number of credit cards? You have the right to get safe and there is nothing wrong in asking for financial support, just remember being cautious.

  • Stay tuned

Try to get the latest information about the state of affairs on the radio, television or via social media. It is better to take hold of calls: the telephone lines will be overloaded. They will be necessary for emergency communication. Until the moment you return to a safe place, stay as noticeable as possible. The best variant is to be in the zone that is monitored by local authorities.

  • Obtain the insurance

The time of natural disaster is not the best time to ensure the house, as it is either expensive or already inaccessible. Note that some insurance plans do not cover natural disasters. For example, flood insurance is usually not included in the standard set, so it must be purchased separately. If you are injured and have no work, have you obtained disability insurance? These safety preparations seem to be needless costs until you vitally need them. Discuss these issues with your spouse, boss and insurance agent.

  • Create an emergency plan

One of the most important lessons of Hurricane Katrina was the following: all your family members should know who to contact with to be safe.

Children should be able to reach out to adults, even if they have to be evacuated separately from their parents. Rehearse everything, have spare action plans ready. If you have small children, write something like a commemorative card and give them in case you have to separate. If your elder children have cell phones, make sure they know your contact details and other important numbers.

  • Digitize the file cabinet

Our world becomes digital, soon we will not need paper copies. If you still have not made the digital version, get all the key documents and scan them. There are some communities that can take care of it or you can buy your own scanner for $50.

Once you have digital copies of key documents, save them to pan drive or CD and pass them to a relative leaving outside of your area. You can write a password to make sure they are fully confidential. Saving them in the cloud is one more possible way.

  • Stock up on food


  • Canned food is the only choice during a natural disaster.
  • Prepare all the raw meat that you have and freeze it. This will help you keep cool other food. In addition, frozen meat can be used for food with a minimum effort.
  • Find canned food that you can eat without milk or water.
  • If you decide to stay at home, fill a full bath of water. The average bath will hold a water supply for 3 days. It is possible to wash off a toilet with a bucket.
  • Check how much water you have in the boiler. Bear in mind that a conventional 150-liter hot-water boiler can give a person enough water to survive for a month!
  • On average, a person needs 3.5 liters of water per day. Dogs need half less. Cats even less.
  • You should have a brazier and fuel for it so that you can cook and warm the food up. Small containers with propane can also be used as heaters and lamps.
  • Pack all the ice that you have in the freezer into plastic bags. Fill the whole place in the freezer with such packages.
  • Collect the things need

Put everything you need in case of evacuation into a special box. Passports, birth/ marriage/ divorce certificates, weapons documents, copies of insurance, credit statements, documents for home and car and so on.

  • Remember that digital media may break. Take both originals and copies. Digital media are just for convenience, and originals are for reliability.
    • Do not forget documents related to military service, as well as gunslinger documents, too.

Author: Helen Hepburn

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