Summer going into fall is one of the worst times for natural disasters in the United States. Hurricanes and other tropical storms can hit with a vengeance, but usually offer plenty of warning for people to be prepared.
Even if you don’t live near a tropical area, tornadoes and other severe storms can hit without warning at any time, and it’s best to stay 100% prepared at all times. Thankfully, technology is improving and weather prediction has increased accuracy as well.
Sadly, many Americans are not prepared for a big storm, earthquake, or other natural disaster to hit their area. Ipsos, a market research company, found that 51% of all Americans are ready for a major event, or the aftermath that comes after.
Of course, these numbers vary by state. Most Floridians, for example, are probably prepared for the inevitable. In fact, most natives who grew up in Florida hardly blink for anything below a Category 3 while anyone elsewhere would be shaking in their boots.
According to the survey:
“Respondents generally feel most prepared for disasters more typical to their state,” Ipsos says. “California residents feel most prepared for earthquakes (62 percent) and wildfires (44 percent); Florida feels most prepared for hurricanes (89 percent), and Texas respondents feel most prepared for floods (57 percent).”
Another survey conducted by Esurance said 80% of Americans are worried about an increase in storms, but only 25% are actually ready for it, which is a tough thing to reconcile. Only 17% of the country says they’re ‘well-prepared’.
Most people who claim they are ready just have some additional food and candles, but haven’t invested in necessary tools, like generators or storm panels. If a disaster strikes, you could be without food or power for days or even weeks.
If you’re unsure about your preparedness level, here are 5 steps you can take right now to keep you and your family safe during and after a natural disaster.
1) It’s a good idea to back up your records digitally or in the cloud.
If your house is destroyed, it’s possible your paper records will be too. Many keep their records locked up in a safe, but it’s still a good idea to scan everything you have, like birth certificates, marriage license, IDs, proof of ownership, and everything else you have to be safely stored where no storm can destroy it.
2) Take good pictures of your property and set up security footage.
Thanks to technology, a lot of people are setting up surveillance equipment around their home for cheap. Doing such a thing is a great idea so you can prove if a theft happens, or to see how your property looked before a storm to compare afterward. This will lower the chance your claim gets denied.
3) Use Wi-Fi
Most people don’t realize that one of the major structures that often get destroyed during a storm or natural disaster are cell phone towers. They can be out much longer than powerlines, and if you have a generator, as long as the cable lines (which are usually underground) are safe, you can still connect to the outside world.
4) Invest in smart technology.
Homes are getting smarter and you can get alerts to your phone that can save your life. Do your research on the various technologies and apps out there today.
5) Find a way to communicate with the outside world.
If a natural disaster hits your town, your family and friends will be worried sick about you. They may call law enforcement which would divert resources to find you when you’re safe. If you can contact family and friends and let them know you’re safe, it will help recovery efforts.
It will also pay to have radios, batteries, basic TV, and other things at the ready in the event of a disaster so you can keep up with everything going on, especially if you need to be evacuated.
Of course, these are only a few tips. Being prepared also includes having money saved, leaving if asked to evacuate, having a safe route out of town, and teaching kids about what to do during an emergency.