Natural Disasters and Preparedness

Last week, Ruth wrote about the horrible flooding in her area that left many dealing with destroyed homes, and even some fatalities. Natural disasters are horrible things. When the earth gets off kilter, winds rave, fires ravage, rains crash down, ย and the happenings destroy much in their paths. Like some of the commenters on Ruth’s post, we live in a relatively “safe” area when it comes to natural disasters. We’re not near oceans where hurricanes dwell, or near volcanoes where lava erupts, or in an earthquake zone.

However, our Midwestern area is known for tornadoes and mega thunderstorms. When we moved out to the country from suburbia, we had no idea what damage storms caused out here. In the country, the wind is stronger due to the scarcity of buildings and people.

I’ll never forget the first BIG storm that hit out here after we moved in. The strong walls in our old Victorian home hid most of the noise from us as the storm raged during the night. About 3 a.m., the kids woke me up and we all sauntered downstairs – it just feels safer when a big storm is raging.

As we sat in the living room we looked out the big bay window, which was half-covered with branches. Since we’d just moved in a few months earlier, we were still getting to know the layout of our nearly 8-acre land. “I don’t remember a tree being outside that window. Is there a tree outside that window?” we wondered to each other.

When the pitch black night wandered away a few hours later, we’d find out that there was indeed a tree outside of the bay window, but it hadn’t been there the night before.

As we went out to peruse the damage the storm had done to our yard we found downed trees EVERYWHERE. Thankfully, the damage to the house and outbuildings was minimal, but the mess was HUMONGOUS.

We spent a good two weeks cleaning up trees, branches and leaves, as did the rest of our neighbors. It was horribly hard work, but we were thankful to walk away with ourselves, our house and buildings intact. Not everyone did.

When natural disasters are coming, you can’t usually stop them but you can do much to prepare. Here are some tips.

To Leave or Stay?

Depending on the type of disaster, you may need to leave your home or to stay in it. My advice: If the authorities tell you to leave, leave. You don’t want to put yourself or the authorities in a position where your lives are at risk because you didn’t heed their advice and now they’ve got to come rescue you out of a situation that is life-threatening for all.

If you have to leave, do a quick pack of your most treasured possessions (for me that would be pictures), your identifying documents (passports, birth certificates, etc. Ours are all in an easy-to-grab gallon zip lock bag), some basic necessities and any cash you have on hand. Then get the heck out of dodge.

If it’s best to stay, make sure you’re in a safe place in your home or wherever you’re at. If a tornado is looming, head down to the basement. If flooding is a risk, get to a higher level in your home. If you are not at home, STAY where you’re at until the threat subsides. Don’t try to beat the storm home.

Prepare as Best You Can

If you’re staying, do what you can to prepare. If a storm is ensuing, put all patio furniture, outdoor toys, etc. in the garage or other area to keep them from blowing into windows, etc. Put your storm windows up or board the windows if necessary. If flooding is a risk, surround your house with sandbags and get all important belongings out of the basement or up on blocks or shelves. If wildfires are near, douse your home and roof with water to help shield it from fire risk. Give yourself and your home a cushion against the risks if possible.

Be Properly Insured

Proper insurance is a must when it comes to natural disasters. Talk to your homeowners insurance provider about potential natural disaster risks in your area and whether or not you’re covered for them. If your current insurance company isn’t willing to cover certain natural events, check with other insurance companies to see if they will.

If you’re a renter, make sure you carry renter’s insurance that will cover replacement of your belongings in the event of a disaster.

Keep Your Head on Straight

In the prepping world, we know that emotional preparedness is just as important ย as physical preparedness. If you can’t or aren’t willing to adapt to the situation, you’ll have a tough time knowing how to properly prepare for or respond to a natural disaster.

Be Financially Prepared

Like with all things in life, natural disasters are better handled when money isn’t an issue. Get your debt paid off. Build up your savings account. Keep some cash at home for emergencies and be properly insured. Knowing that you are doing everything you can to keep a natural disaster from hurting you physically or financially will go a long way in helping you overcome the situation.

What other tips would you add to help people prepare for a natural disaster?ย 


18 comments on “Natural Disasters and Preparedness

  1. We would be most likely to have tornadoes here in Iowa. Like you, we live out of town and have been shocked at the amount of wind we experience out here. Two days after we moved in, we had a winter storm that blew several shingles off the roof. Thankfully our basement is almost entirely underground, so we have a safe place to go. Great tips, Laurie!

  2. Yes! Nobody thinks a disaster is going to hit them until it’s too late. Our area is prone to flooding, so we always keep bug-out bags, generators, food/water, and other emergency supplies on hand. You never know what’ll happen!

  3. We also live in the Midwest where tornadoes are a possibility and basement flooding is common. We have a back-up sump pump battery since the power often goes out during thunderstorms when there’s also likely to be heavy rain. However, that battery only lasts so long and we’ve been discussing possible solutions while also acknowledging that in some situations, there just might be nothing you can do to completely prevent flooding.

    As usual, great tips for being prepared in every sense. I agree that making sure your insurance covers common natural disasters is wise!

  4. Oh man, I love that tree story! I can just see the same thing happening at our place!

    Like the others mentioned, the Midwest can experience tornadoes and flooding. Our home is equipped with a whole house generator so we are able to ride out most any type of electrical disturbance. We do not have natural gas, so our propane tank needs to be kept at relatively full level for emergency preparedness.

    Another great topic that applies to all people everywhere! And yes, pray out loud in Jesus name!

    1. A whole house generator is a fantastic idea. Rick wants to get one of those at our house. Our neighbor has one and they are usually quite unaware of power outages. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m not even Christian but a born-again friend decades ago told me to “plead the blood of Jesus”. Works for me.

    It helps to have all your account numbers, log-in and password details on a thumb drive. Grab it and go. Also, make sure you have a pet carrier in a handy place if you have a pet. I have one in the garage but I also have another soft one that folds in an upstairs closet.

    1. Love the idea about account numbers, logins and passwords, Mrs. G! And great advice about the pet carrier too. We have them readily available.

      Cool story about the blood of Jesus: Back in suburbia one of my BFFs lived three doors down from us. As a tornado was heading right for us, ol’ Jess went out on her front porch, watched that tornado coming toward us, and said “In the Name of Jesus I command you to turn and go away.” We watched on the radar as that thing took an immediate 45 degree angle turn and went toward a neighboring town, ceasing to cause any more damage. It was COOL. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I love your tree story. “Is there a tree outside that window?” Nature is pretty powerful when trees are moved! “Keep your head on straight” made me think that if you have plans and preparation in advance, you’re more likely to have your head on straight. Otherwise, the deer-in-headlights phenomenon sets in.

    1. So true about the deer-in-the-headlights phenomenon. It’s easy to panic if you’re not prepared to adapt.

  7. We have a lot of big trees around, so we keep an eye out for trees or branches that might need to be removed. No need to have extra hazards around during high winds or ice storms. We also make sure our cars are as far back from the trees as we can get them.

    Another thing we have is an inverter, which will allow us to run a little electricity into the house powered by the car. It’s a lot easier to hook up than a generator. So we gas up all the cars before really bad weather’s supposed to hit, which will allow us to run a space heater or at least one lamp. We also make sure we have fresh LP gas tanks to run our gas logs and our grill if we lose power for a while.

  8. I know a few people who always said we were safe from tornado destruction being in the middle of the city. Until a tornado took out all the trees and many roofs along a major boulevard a few years ago!

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