Every day many people go to work, take kids to school, farm their land, or go to a sports event. But sometimes the unexpected happens: an earthquake, a fire, a chemical spill, or some other disaster. Emergencies such as these change routines and people suddenly become aware of how fragile their lives can be. Catastrophes disrupt many lives every year and each catastrophe has its own lasting effects. Sometimes people are injured or killed, and sometimes damage to property runs into the billions of dollars.
If a catastrophe happens in your area, local government and catastrophe relief organizations
will try to assist you, but you still need to be prepared. Local responders may not
be able to come to you immediately after a catastrophe or they may need to direct
their attention elsewhere. People who prepare for an emergency can reduce the fear,
anxiety, and losses that surround the catastrophe. They can know what to do in the
event of a fire and where to seek protection from a tornado. These people can be prepared
to evacuate their homes, make their visits in public shelters more comfortable, and
know how to care for their basic medical needs.
Individuals can also reduce the impact of a catastrophe by taking preventative action such as floodproofing or elevating their home, or securing items that could shake loose in an earthquake.
These measures can sometimes help avoid the damage all together. You should know how to respond to severe weather or any catastrophe that could occur in your area. You should also be ready to provide for yourself for at least three days. This includes first aid, water, food, and sanitation.