It doesn't matter where you live; sooner or later, a disaster will leave you without power, water, or access to buy more. A natural disaster like a hurricane, snowstorm, flood, tornado, or earthquake could happen. Or a man-made disaster such as a power grid failure that requires you to stay in your home for a few days or weeks. The world is a harsh place, but there's something we can do. First, we can prepare for the disasters most likely to occur in our area.
Your first step in disaster preparedness should be to determine what types of emergencies are in your region. Then, take a few minutes to review the types of disasters in your area. Having this information is particularly important for a natural disaster. For example, if you live in Florida or the South Easter US coast, you should prepare for hurricane season. You should get ready for big snow storms if you live in the North East or south of the Great Lakes. If you're in the Mid-West, or South West, chances are you'll come across a tornado or two. In California, you may prepare for earthquakes.
Next, think about possible man-made disasters. For example, if you live near a dam, you may need a plan of action for flooding. If you live near a nuclear plant, you should think about a way to get out quickly if something happens at the plant. You get the idea. What disasters we prepare for will be different for many of us, and what sort of emergency plan you have will depend on those variables.
Once you have the disaster list you need to prepare for; you may need to consider if and when you would try to prepare to stay at your home safely and when to evacuate. Some decisions may be out of your control, a mandatory evacuation, for example. However, many times the decision is up to you. Here is a checklist to help you prepare. Disaster Kit
Think about what makes sense to you and your family. If you stay put, you can take care of issues as they pop up and avert damage. For example, if a tree limb knocks out a window, you can board it up to avoid the storm. Sometimes, getting out of the disaster's way may be safer and more convenient. For those cases and mandatory evacuations, think about where you would go.
Do you have family or friends where you can stay? If that's not an option, look into an area you may want to travel to and get the numbers of a few hotels. Things move fast when a storm hits and evacuations begin. You don't want to waste time trying to make those decisions and lose out on a hotel room for yourself and your loved ones. Shelters should always be a last resort. Trust me; it's not the most comfortable place to make it through a disaster.