Prepare for hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters with these expert tips

Brett Robertson is an assistant professor of Communication at the University of South Carolina. This story originally featured on The Conversation.

© U.S. Coast Guard The Coast Guard helped evacuate families and their pets during Hurricane Irma in 2017 in Florida.

When disasters hit, they can mean days to weeks without power, and sometimes they allow just enough time to grab a bag of supplies and go. Now is the time to prepare, well before the disaster is on your doorstep.

I study ways to improve disaster communications. Here’s what you need to think about.

While some hazards, like windstorms, happen in every region, certain disasters are more common in specific geographic areas. It’s important to know your risks.

The American Red Cross has a tool for determining common disasters in your area, like hurricanes along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from June through November, and wildfire season in the West, that seems to last all year now but worsens as winds pick up in late summer and fall. Each hazard requires different preparation steps.

States with the most disasters that caused over $1 billion in damage, by disaster type. Graphic: Climate.gov

Figuring out the specific threats to your own home requires more work. Homeowners are often unaware of just how susceptible their property may be to flooding.

To figure out your basic risk, start with Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps, but be aware that new construction can change how water flows and that flood risks are rising as the planet warms, particularly along the coasts but also from more extreme downpours. State and local emergency management departments’ websites may also have tools for reviewing localized hazard resources.

When a disaster strikes, you may have to get by without power, safe running water or help for several days. An important safety measure is to have emergency supplies on hand and in a safe place where you can easily get to them.

A disaster supply kit contains basic items that your household may need. Ready.gov, the US government’s disaster preparedness website, suggests packing the following items:

Water: one gallon per person per day for several days.Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, such as canned meats and fruits.A battery-powered or hand-crank radio.A flashlight.A first-aid kit.Plastic sheeting and duct tape that can help provide protection.Also: extra batteries, a whistle, dust masks, moist towelettes, basic personal hygiene items, blankets, extra clothing, garbage bags, a wrench or pliers, a manual can opener, local maps and a cell phone with chargers.

In addition to the items suggested by Ready.gov, there are other considerations that are useful when creating a supply kit.

For example, gather prescription medications and have an up-to-date list of the medications everyone in the household uses. This can be especially important for older adults and people on a life-sustaining medical treatment. With the pandemic ongoing, include extra face masks—you might spend time in a public disaster shelter.

Pet owners may also want to consider creating a separate disaster supply kit for their animals. These supplies include veterinary records, pet food and a can opener, food and water bowls, and medications.

Battery packs and portable USB power chargers are useful additions for a disaster supply kit when the power goes out. When Hurricane Harvey flooded in Houston in 2017, people used their smartphones to post pleas for help on social media. Phone batteries can run down quickly, though, so be prepared. And make sure the portable charger is charged and ready to go.

Warnings and news reports don’t always reflect the risks at the edges of a storm or other threats, so be prepared even if you don’t appear to be in the center of the forecast storm track or expected direction of the wildfire.

Several types of disasters may require evacuating your home, and you may only have a few minutes to prepare. Having emergency supplies ready to go is important if you need to leave right away.

These bags are different from household disaster supply kits because you might need to carry the bag on foot.

Typically, you would include food and water, a small battery-powered or hand-crank radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, a small first-aid kit, copies of crucial documents, local maps and a phone charger and battery pack.

Before a disaster forces you to move fast, make a plan for where you could go. Find destinations in several different directions in case one of the routes is blocked, and make sure everyone in your household and your emergency contacts know the plan.

Households should have conversations about disasters, including discussing their evacuation plan, who to contact, where to meet if separated, and where the emergency supply kit is stored.

September is National Preparedness Month, but the risks continue year-round. Winter storms that can knock the power out just round the corner. Talking about disasters before they strike and planning ahead can make the process go more smoothly amid the chaos when a disaster arrives.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

A new Senate report calls on Australia to overhaul finance and tax regulations to become a global crypto superpower

© Provided by Business Insider Australia Australia must reshape its finance and tax regulations to harness the “enormous” economic potential of crypto-assets, a Senate committee has found. The Senate Select ... Read more »

Lisa Rinna: Scott Disick's DM Drama Played a Part in Amelia Hamlin Split

© Provided by US Weekly Lisa Rinna Confirms That Scott Disick’s DM to Younes Bendjima Played a Part in Amelia Gray Hamlin Split Spilling the tea! Lisa Rinna shared new ... Read more »

Woolworths demands ALL 170,000 of its Aussie workers get Covid jab

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Woolworths and Coles staff will be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the coming months. The mandate enforced by the nation’s biggest ... Read more »

How mum comes stops herself from mindless snacking once and for all

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo A mum has come up with an amusing strategy to stop herself from mindless snacking every time she feels the temptation to reach ... Read more »

Chrissie Swan to host 'Would I Lie To You?'

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Channel Ten has announced it will produce a local version of the hit UK reality show, Would I Lie To You? The network ... Read more »

Ask LH: Is Coffee Becoming More Expensive?

There has been some talk around the coffee community recently about the potential increase in coffee prices and this, understandably, has caffeine addicts spooked. Sorry to be the bearer of ... Read more »

NASA's Lucy asteroid probe settles into Earth-orbiting cruise as engineers tackle solar array glitch

Days after NASA’s new mission to a mysterious group of asteroids launched, spacecraft personnel continue battling an issue with one of the vehicle’s two massive solar arrays. © Provided by ... Read more »

Search for Cleo Smith enters sixth day

As the search for missing four-year-old Western Australian girl Cleo Smith enters its sixth day, hopes have begun to fade of a positive outcome. Although efforts intensified over the last ... Read more »

New centre to prevent child sexual abuse

A major trauma support organisation will run a national child sex abuse prevention centre aimed at warding off shocking crimes and helping survivors. © Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS Scott Morrison has ... Read more »

Pig Kidney Successfully Transplanted Into a Human Patient For The First Time Ever

With over a hundred thousand people waiting for an organ transplant in the US alone, scientists are racing to find options besides human donors. Now for the first time, a ... Read more »

Criminals behind Sydney double shooting 'will end up in jail or dead', Police Minister says

© Provided by ABC NEWS Women comfort each other at the scene of the shooting in Guilford yesterday. (ABC News) NSW Police Minister David Elliott says those responsible for yesterday’s fatal ... Read more »

Qld records one new local COVID-19 case

Queensland has recorded one new locally-acquired case of COVID-19 in a man who has been infectious on the Gold Coast for 10 days. © Albert Perez/AAP PHOTOS Queensland has recorded ... Read more »

NSW has 372 new COVID-19 cases, one death

Less than two weeks after NSW began emerging from months of lockdown there has been a spike in local cases of COVID-19. © Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS NSW has recorded ... Read more »

Date Gladys Berejiklian to front ICAC revealed, John Barilaro and Daryl Maguire also called

Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian will be called before the state’s corruption watchdog during a public hearing next week. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian ... Read more »

Supermarket giants announce vaccine mandates

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths have announced they will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for workers – but some states are so far exempt. Today, Coles announced that in coming months, it ... Read more »

ACT records 28 new cases, 21 hospitalised

The ACT has recorded 28 new cases of COVID-19, with 21 people in hospital. © Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith has announced a vaccine mandate for some ACT ... Read more »

Paris Hilton recalls being 'strangled' and 'slapped' as she pushes for 'troubled teen industry' reform

Paris Hilton is calling on US President Joe Biden and Congress to take action against the “troubled teen industry”. The former reality TV star, 40, revealed last year that she ... Read more »

Government to establish broad inquiry into anonymous fee donor rules after blocking Christian Porter's referral to inquiry

© Provided by ABC NEWS Christian Porter’s (left) legal fee donation will not be investigated, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison will establish a broader inquiry into the issue. (ABC News: Tamara ... Read more »

Meth worth millions hidden in digger

Three men have been charged after authorities found more than a quarter of a tonne of methamphetamine hidden inside an excavator sent from Hong Kong to Australia. © Tracey Nearmy/AAP ... Read more »

Cops uncover monster 300kg stash of ice worth $184million

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Police have uncovered a monster 295kg stash of the drug ice which was sent to Sydney hidden inside a digger imported from Hong Kong. ... Read more »

Santos gas sales reach record high amid global energy crunch

Santos, one of the nation’s largest oil and gas producers, has hit a record-breaking $US1.14 billion ($1.5 billion) in quarterly sales revenue as a worsening global energy crunch sends commodity ... Read more »

Three spreadsheet tips to make beginners feel like pros

Let’s all come together and face it: spreadsheets can be scary. Sure, adding borders and painting cells different colors is easy, and maybe you even know how to use basic ... Read more »

Work It Out: What It's Really Like to Be a TV Writer in Australia

We all love watching TV, so doesn’t it sound like a dream to land a gig as a writer for your favourite show? The film and television industry is a ... Read more »

Berejiklian to appear at ICAC next week

Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian will give evidence next week at the Independent Commission Against Corruption © Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian will give evidence to ICAC ... Read more »

‘The longest road has been journeyed': Victoria hits 70 per cent double dose vaccination target

© 2021 Getty Images People enter the Vaccination Centre at Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Victoria has hit 70 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage, the Prime Minister has announced, hours ... Read more »

What is CRISPR?

© Provided by Live Science null What is CRISPR? CRISPR is a powerful tool for editing genomes, meaning it allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. ... Read more »

Naver's Q3 net up nearly 40% on pandemic-driven biz

Naver’s headquarters in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province (Korea Herald DB)Naver Corp. said Thursday its net profit jumped 37.1 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier largely due to a ... Read more »

Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk are still 'in the honeymoon phase'

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Even after three years of marriage and a global pandemic, Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Brad Falchuk still consider themselves ‘in the honeymoon phase.’  The couple, ... Read more »

Exports rise 36 percent in first 20 days of Oct.

SEOUL, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports rose 36.1 percent on-year in the first 20 days of October on the back of robust demand for chips, petroleum products and ... Read more »

New Relic appoints ex-Dell CTO as Chief Architect for APJ

Marelas has held senior roles at EMC, Telstra, Symantec, VERITAS Software and Storage Technologies. Read more »

Chyka Keebaugh teases a return to RHOM

© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd Chyka Keebaugh became an instant fan favourite for her calm temperament and nurturing nature on RHOM. The Melbourne mother-of-two, who first appeared on ... Read more »

"History." All the best reactions to the first episode of The Bachelorette 2021.

To catch up on all The Bachelorette Australia 2021 recaps and gossip, check out Mamamia’s recaps and visit our The Bachelorette hub page. © Getty Images “History.” All the best ... Read more »

Epsilon signs long-term manufacturing deal for Cannim's Jamaican cannabis products

Epsilon has signed another major deal as its world-leading GMP manufacturing facility in Southport continues to attract the attention of medicinal cannabis powerhouses. © Stockhead Australia Epsilon Cannim Global cannabis ... Read more »

Covid 'Plan C' that would BAN households mixing 'are being discussed'

© Provided by Daily Mail Ministers are threatening to reimpose Covid restrictions under a potential ‘Plan C’ which would see mixing between households banned as well as mandatory facemasks, orders ... Read more »

STEPHEN GLOVER: How I pine for a Tory government

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a real Tory government rather than the neo-Blairite confection that has been served up by Boris ... Read more »

The Google Pixel 6 release date is October 25 but its new wireless charger will be late

If you’ve been eager to pair your pre-ordered Google Pixel 6 or Google Pixel 6 Pro with the rumored revised Google Pixel Stand, rejoice: a listing for the 2nd Generation ... Read more »

Vic has 2232 virus cases, hits 1000 deaths

More than 1000 Victorians have died from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the grim milestone coinciding with Melbourne’s last day under its sixth lockdown. © James Ross/AAP PHOTOS Victoria has recorded ... Read more »

Is the Forza Horizon 5 Welcome Pack DLC worth it?

© Provided by Windows Central Best answer: Yes, the Forza Horizon 5 Welcome Pack DLC is worth it as an affordable boost to your game start. This simple DLC provides ... Read more »

E-sports partnership formed to boost Thai tournaments

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn (centre) and Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) governor Kongsak Yodmanee (the first from left) at the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony with Garena ... Read more »

Huge changes to Viennetta ice cream cake that has customers delighted

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Australian brand Streets has made a huge change to its iconic Viennetta ice cream cake that will sure delight nostalgic shoppers everywhere. The ... Read more »