Superstorm Sandy was a sobering wakeup call to make sure we’re all prepared to survive a natural disaster. Because no matter where you live, there’s a risk for disaster.
In the past decade, all 50 states were hit by federally declared disasters, including storms, floods, tornadoes, fires, and earthquakes. But surveys show that fewer than 10% of us have made even the most basic disaster-preparations. So, here are the 3 things you need to do:
- Create an Emergency Kit. You can buy one from the Red Cross, but it’s easy to assemble your own. You basically need a 2-week supply of nonperishable food and water, for your family and your pets. You also need a 30-day supply of meds, and a first-aid kit. Plus, flashlights and batteries, copies of your medical information, a cellphone with a charger, and a battery-powered radio. You can find a complete list of necessary supplies at emergency.cdc.gov..
- Have an emergency plan. You need to figure out things like the evacuation routes. And where you’d meet, and who you’d call if you got separated from your family. Also, if you live in a house, learn how to turn off your power, water, and gas.
- Know where to find life-saving information. For example, know which local radio stations and websites authorities will use to share updates.
There are also several new disaster apps for smartphones. They can give you early warnings, and lifesaving advice:
- Disaster Alert. It’s free for iPhones and Andriods. And it gives you a list of all the active hazards around the world, including hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, volcanoes and man-made disasters.
- Disaster Readiness. In the event of a large-scale disaster, the telecommunications system could be severely damaged, and the Internet could be inaccessible for days. The $2 app is a downloadable emergency preparedness library that can be accessed offline. It contains 175,000 reference guides for dealing with disasters like wildfires, flash floods and terrorist attacks.
- GoToAID. For many people, their first reaction to an emergency is to panic. But focus is crucial in the first moments of a crisis. So this $5 app guides you through first-aid procedures, for humans and pets. There are also guides for disaster readiness, and tools and checklists to help prepare you for the worst. The app also stores emergency numbers, helps locate local relief centers, and has an emergency pulse locator beacon. The GoToAid app is only available for iPhones right now.