5 Types of Natural Disasters That You Need to Know and Prepare for

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Natural disasters affect thousands and kill 45,000 people on average each year. Such major events hold the potential to wreak havoc, cause destruction, and lead to catastrophic losses. They disrupt communities and leave them struggling to recover.  

Natural disasters destroy property and infrastructure, and those who live through such an event often experience severe emotional distress afterward. They constantly feel on edge, have trouble sleeping, are saddled with worry, and experience feelings of anxiety. 

It’s not easy to bounce back from a natural disaster. Communities and families require help and support to move forward and cope. No matter where you live, everyone is at risk of experiencing a natural or man-made disaster.

It is a good thing we live in a modern, digital age. In today’s world, technological advancements have made it easier for people to predict natural disasters. While we can’t prevent these catastrophic events, we can learn more about them and prepare in advance to minimize loss and destruction. 

In this guide, we’ll go over the major natural disasters you should be aware of. 

Avalanche

Avalanches include the sliding, flowing, and tumbling of a large mass, which includes rocks, snow, and ice. They can also include boulders, trees, and debris. However, most avalanches usually have snow sliding and are different from landslides. 

If we’re just talking about snow, snow avalanches occur in areas with snowfall every year. Places in Northern America, the Himalayas, and the Alps are prime locations for this natural disaster. Where ever there is snowfall and a slope for an avalanche, there exists a risk. 

Those who go to mountainous or snowy terrains for vacations are always at risk. Communities living in alpine areas are under extreme threat from such natural disasters. People often get stuck under the snow, and large flows of snow can destroy entire towns.

In severe avalanche conditions, you should wear a helmet and an avalanche airbag backpack. Push machinery and shovels can help remove snow if someone is stuck under it. To avoid being swept away by the snow, you can try to hold onto large rocks or trees. If the snow starts taking you with it, deploy your portable air bag while using swimming motions to stay on top of the snow. 

Earthquake

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there has been an earthquake in every state in the US. While earthquakes are a global occurrence, in the U.S., Alaska is #1 for quakes and boasts some of the strongest earth-shaking on record in the United States. While the majority of people fear earthquakes more than any other natural disaster, heat or drought, severe weather, winter weather, and floods have killed more people than earthquakes; but that does not mean you can relax and ignore them.  

At the writing of this article, there aren’t accurate systems in place that can predict an earthquake with enough time for people to take immediate protective action. However, some systems can warn you of ground motion as soon as a quake begins and send alerts that a tremor is coming to provide vital seconds to prepare. for what is coming. In high quake-prone geographical zones, you should add coverage for an earthquake to your property’s insurance policy, but it can be a little pricey. 

Before an earthquake, it’s recommended that you secure all items in your house or office that could fall and cause damage. This includes bookshelves, cupboards, television, and mirrors. Take cover under heavy furniture and protect your head and body. Keep holding onto the object you’re under so you remain somewhat protected from falling debris. 

Flood

Floods take place all year round. Heavy flooding occurs in coastal areas or areas where heavy snowfall begins melting. Floods cause water damage and property destruction, costing millions every year. 

In the U.S., all states on the East Coast are prone to floods. Midwestern and Southern states like Kansas, Oklahoma, the Dakotas, and Texas frequently experience flooding. For Flash Flooding, technology might warn you a few minutes in advance. Flooding from severe weather is very common and can start within a few minutes of excessive rainfall. 

To prepare for floods, you can add flood insurance to your property and health insurance policy. Standard property insurance policies don’t cover flooding. Precautionary planning before a flood could save your life. Make sure you map out your primary and alternate evacuation routes as that is absolutely necessary as many roads could be closed due to flooding. A worst-case event would be for you to attempt to evacuate and realize you cannot. Remember to always let people know where you are, so help can get to you if needed. 

If you live in a flood zone or an area near streams and rivers, keep your essential documents in a waterproof bag and your important furniture and appliances several inches above your floor. 

Hurricane

Hurricane season in the lower 48 U.S. states typically the US starts begins in June and lasts until November. Some of the past hurricanes, like Delta in 2020, Sandy in 2012, and Katrina in 2005, have caused damage upwards of $22 million. Unlike some other natural events, hurricanes are very predictable and give those affected areas enough time to prepare and evacuate if necessary. 

Understandably, you can never be too prepared; therefore, it is essential to take all alerts, warnings, advisories, and announcements seriously. You can take precautionary actions to possibly save your life and limit damage to your property and assets by creating a personal emergency plan which should always include keeping your vehicle’s gas tanks full.

You should secure, i.e., tie down your lawn furniture and outdoor accessories or store them inside. If parts of your roof need repair or are being repaired, cover them with a tarp and secure the tarp. Board up your windows, shutters, storage sheds, and anything else exposed where necessary. 

Tornado

Tornadoes are one of the most frightening disasters. They can happen any time, anywhere, without anything warning. In the U.S., tornado season can take place from March until May in Southern states and late spring till early summer in Northern and Midwestern states. 

Hurricanes have been scientifically proven to spawn tornadoes once over land and are a common occurrence. If you do not have a basement, you should construct a FEMA safe room in your home according to FEMA P-320 or have an ICC500-compliant storm shelter you can seek shelter in. This will maximize your protection from a tornado. If time permits, disconnect the water, gas, and power in your home or building. FEMA safe room construction costs can range from $3000 to $10,000. 

The key threads in this and each of the events described is planning, communication, and taking action. For a budget-friendly safety technology or service to help you personally or your business in times of need, check out Counterspherics.com. They provide a Crisis & Incident Management & Support Systems (CIMSS) and service to help you prepare, act, and recover from emergencies, both natural or man-made.   

You can check out their video animated case study about the 2011 Japan triple disaster, and how a California university used their system to provide real-time alerts and instructions to their students and families in Japan on where to go, what to do, and how to get out of the country after the earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear disaster ravaged the countryside. Counterspherics Labs is constantly working on safety and threat management systems to help people and businesses in crises. 

You can reach out to them today for more info. 

About The Editors and Counterspherics®

Rushton Prince and Henrie Watkins are Safety and Disaster Preparedness experts.  Both have extensive backgrounds as First Responders, Safety Technology Implementers, Human Protection, and Occupational Health and Safty Trainers. 

Counterspherics, the company behind MERLENN® has been 22 years of experience in providing crisis response infrastructure and boasts a 100% customer satisfaction rate. To view illustrated examples of the software in action, follow Counterspherics on YouTube.