Preparing for a Natural Disaster or Pandemic: How to Keep Your Family Safe

flooding covering a street sign

Preparing for a natural disaster or pandemic can make keeping your family safe easier than you think. As long as you plan ahead and follow recommended guidelines, you can survive and thrive during the most difficult times.

At Cash Factory USA, we want to make sure you’re ready for anything. With some of these top tips and important strategies, you can move ahead more confidently in an uncertain world. Read our suggestions for some of the more common problems that may be heading your way.

Stocking Up

Depending on what you’re preparing for — natural disaster or pandemic — you’ll be stocking up with different items for different lengths of time. The current recommendation when preparing for a pandemic is two weeks of non-perishable food and essentials. Natural disasters may dictate having enough supplies for up to a month. We suggest buying some of the following essentials, including:

  • Canned foods
  • First aid items
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Prescription medications
  • Over the counter medications
  • Water

While many people right now are going out and buying entire shelves of these items, you don’t need too much of any one item. Everyone else also needs to buy supplies and there’s no need to panic. Buy just the right amount for your family and leave the rest for others to avoid going over your budget and preventing friends and family from getting what they need.

Keeping Clean

cleaning and disinfecting counters

Keeping your space clean and your children healthy is really important in the case of a pandemic. Today’s coronavirus is one of the principal problems on everyone’s mind. Protect yourself and your family by following basic hygiene rules, including:

  • Washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds or more
  • Disinfecting surfaces that see a lot of contact
  • Not touching your face
  • Distancing yourself from others by at least 6 feet
  • Self quarantining if you feel ill

Following these guidelines while preparing for a pandemic does more than just protect you — it also slows the spread of the disease to prevent hospitals and medical facilities from being overwhelmed. Do your part to help the world when you encourage everyone to take these basic steps.

Paying Bills

Many people are concerned about paying their bills and surviving on a diminished income when preparing for a natural disaster or pandemic. Work and schools may be closed and you could be wondering where that next paycheck is going to come from. We suggest starting to look for alternative jobs that you can work online instead of finding a part-time job where you actually have to physically go to work. You can also start looking at ways to save on grocery shopping and even meal prep with your kids for a fun bonding activity that also saves money.

Preparing for the Worst

photo of a wildfire

There are a number of disasters that could be coming your way, and each one requires different types of practice and provisions. Here are some of the top tips for preparing for each kind of natural disaster.

Fire

When you’re getting ready to protect your home and family from wildfires, you can only do so much. Minimize the risk of fire by clearing your gutters, trimming any leaves and trees near your house, and clearing your lawn of dry debris. All of these can act as kindling and bring the fire closer to your home. You can also prepare for this natural disaster by staying away. If your area is at high risk, consider relocating your family until you can be sure it’s safe to return.

Earthquake

The best way to ensure you’re ready for an earthquake is to train yourself and others on the appropriate actions to take when an earthquake hits. Always look for the best places to drop and cover in each room and secure any heavy items and breakable objects at all times.

You may also want to create a communication plan with any family members out of state and discuss where to meet should you get separated. The government recommends you make a supply kit with enough food, water, and supplies to last at least three days. You may also want to include a flashlight, whistle, and fire extinguisher.

Flooding

cars under water in flooding

Preparing for a natural disaster that includes flooding is a little easier than an earthquake. You usually have a bit more warning before a flood and there are emergency alert systems to let you know when it’s time to leave. Sign up for EAS and NOAA to stay informed, learn and practice your evacuation routes, and gather easy to carry supplies in case you need to leave at any moment. You should also keep your most important items in waterproof containers and stock up on batteries, medicine, and critical equipment.

Know the signs of imminent flash floods, like heavy rain and lack of trees that act as a barrier to flood waters.

Illness

Preparing for a pandemic can be more difficult than for a natural disaster because illnesses can take many forms. On the most basic level, you need to store additional non-perishable food and water and ensure you have at least three months of prescription medication and nonprescription drugs. Get copies of your medical record for personal reference and talk to your family about the best ways to mitigate the spread of disease.

Teaching Kids

little boy studying

Making sure your children know how to respond during a natural disaster or pandemic is one of the most important ways you can protect them. They need to know what to do in case tragedy strikes when you’re not there. Preparing for a natural disaster or pandemic with your family means telling your children about the preparations you’ve made and reinforcing the contact information, meeting places, and escape routes that they need to know.

Don’t Forget Pets

Pets are part of your family too! Don’t leave them behind when disaster strikes. Preparing for a natural disaster means finding a way to accommodate your dog, cat, or other furry friends when you leave your home. Find pet hotels that can take them in or explore hotels and Airbnbs that are pet friendly.

Preparing for a natural disaster or pandemic doesn’t have to be scary. Getting ready in advance minimizes panic and ensures everyone’s safety and security. Learn more about specific events when you visit city and state websites for more disaster preparedness.

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