The occurrence of natural disasters is unavoidable, and most times very scary for those unwillingly involved. There is no way to prevent earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding and wildfires because they are all natural events, which occur outside of our will. Scientist are still working on ways to truly predict these natural disasters. Meteorologist for example, have created ways to predict, track and warn about hurricanes.
With this in mind the best protection during these events is preparedness. We teach our kids in school how to hide under their desks during tornadoes and to calmly go outside after a tremor. Adults have heard a time or two about boiling drinking water and safe food handling. But, is this considered protection or true preparedness?
The United States Environmental Protection agency (EPA) as well as the Federal Emergency Management system (FEMA) is doing their best to help people know what to do in the case of natural disaster. The EPA has a website which gives tips on how to respond during certain natural disasters, it can be found here: http://epa.gov/naturaldisasters/. The disasters listed on their website are drought, earthquakes, extreme heat, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, snow and Ice, volcanoes and lastly, wildfire. For each of these topics they give preparedness tips including topics such as drinking water, planning for debris, chemical storage, what to do during and after the incident. They also add links to each page, giving you access to other organizations who can also provide helpful information.
These organizations include The Center for Disease Control, CDC and FEMA. In order to be sure that all living in the United States are provided the same chance for preparedness education, EPA has all of this information translated into Spanish. EPA also makes Public Service Announcements regarding how to respond during natural disasters. They have a list of these announcements and have given the rights to teachers and anyone else to play them for others in order to better prepare the public. The hope is that people will listen to these announcements and read the information before it is needed.
Preparedness is not something you can do at the moment the disaster strikes. Preparedness is considered a state of constant readiness. This means before an event occurs, knowing and understanding the best way to react. The other organization which has much helpful information about natural disaster is FEMA. On their webpage http://www.fema.gov/fema-strategic-plan they express that their strategies for this year are to work with the community as a whole and to encourage learning and innovation.
FEMA also understands the importance of public education concerning preparedness. The public must take the responsibility to seek out the information needed. FEMA states that people should ask their local emergency agents about the specific hazards in their area. This includes disasters that have happened or could happen in order to assist people to make a specific preparedness plan for their homes and communities. This type of preparedness should be renewed every year. Hazards and risks change from year to year, but also because people tend to forget or lose their state of preparedness.
We cannot be completely protected from natural disasters, but we can prepare.