Consider how every time there is the threat of snowfall, people flock to the store to buy milk and bread. If you postpone your own trip, you arrive to find barren shelves and typically go home with some sort of makeshift meal that will help you wait out the storm. For smaller occurrences this may be a method be work for you, but natural disasters don’t always leave you time to prepare at the last minute.
Being prepared for natural disasters can, at times, be the difference between life and death. Knowing how to prepare and what actions to take can keep you, your family, and your tenants safe. With some information about the different natural disasters that may be a threat to you and our handy preparedness infographic, you’ll be ready for whatever weather heads your way. Preparing your property and your tenants is imperative; passing on information about storms cannot only help keep them safe, but also make them aware of how to protect the rental in the event of bad weather.
Earthquakes can occur at any time during the year and happen without any sort of warning. All 50 states are at some kind of risk for earthquakes, but risks are much higher along big fault lines like the San Andreas fault (which you know if you’ve seen Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movie San Andreas). There are typically aftershocks that follow, allowing for even more damage to occur.
- It is always a good idea to secure items that may fall and cause injuries during an earthquake. This includes everything from shelving units to things that hang over beds.
- In the event of an earthquake, be sure to drop, cover, and hold on. If you are in a moving vehicle, stop at the earliest opportunity and stay inside. Try to park away from big buildings or trees that could fall on the car.
- Even though the earthquake ends, that doesn’t mean the danger is over. These events can trigger landslides, avalanches, and tsunamis. They also leave a considerable amount of damage in their wake.
As proven by the massive flooding in Texas, it is never a bad idea to be prepared to deal with a natural disaster. Flooding can range from a few inches of water to enough to reach the top of a house. This type of natural disaster can happen during any season, and it is important to take flood warnings very seriously.
- Avoid walking or driving through a flood by all means necessary. You can be knocked down in as little as 6 inches of water, and one foot of moving water can sweep away a car. Bridges can also become unsafe in these events, making it dangerous to drive over them.
- Get to higher ground immediately if you cannot evacuate. Water can be filled with dangerous debris, which can lead to injuries.
- Be sure to unplug appliances if you and the area are still dry to avoid electrocution. Avoid still waters, as they can be electrified.
Hurricanes typically do come with a little bit of warning, usually with at least 36 hours. With peak hurricane season running from May to November, being prepared for these storms could save lives. Heavy rain, high winds, storm surge, tornadoes, and flooding can all be present during these disasters, and can reach areas over 100 miles inland.
- If ordered to evacuate, do not try to ignore this order. Know the local evacuation routes and have a plan of where you’ll stay.
- If your area isn’t told to leave, still be prepared for the impending storm. Storms can be unexpected and even change course, so there is never a guarantee of safety. There is also a danger of losing power for several days. Consider purchasing a portable generator.
- Make sure to close your storm shutters and stay away from windows, as broken glass could lead to injuries.
- Use a television or radio to stay updated on the weather and find out when the storm has passed.
Landslides can occur after heavy rains, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, or even human modification of land. They can also happen anywhere, making them a threat to almost everyone. Mud and debris hurdles down a slope, collecting even more elements as it moves. If no one recognizes the warning signs, there can be very little time to prepare.
- If there is a severe storm in your area, do your best to stay awake. Numerous landslide-related deaths occur because people were sleeping.
- Avoid rivers and low areas. Aim to find higher ground.
- Get away from the path of the landslide as quickly as possible. If caught in it, you can get trapped under the mud or injured by debris.
- If you cannot escape the area, curl up into a tight ball and cover your head.
Tornadoes are most common in the Midwest and Florida but can happen anywhere. They can occur at any time during the year but are heavily concentrated in the spring and summer months. Tornadoes can strike with very little warning, not leaving much time to prepare for them in the moment. With a mixture that can consist of heavy rain and hail in addition to the high winds, tornadoes can leave a path of destruction in their wake and whip around debris.
- Know the difference between a tornado watch and warning. A watch means a tornado is possible, but a warning means that one has been spotted.
- If you have a storm shelter or safe room, be sure to go and stay there in the event of these storms. Stay away from windows and get to the lowest level possible.
- If outside, try to find a sturdy shelter to take cover in. Do not try to outrun a tornado in a car if in a congested or urban area.
- If stuck in a compromising position, cover your head with your arms and a blanket if you have one on hand.
Winter storm warnings are typically issued within 12 hours of the storm, leaving little time to get prepared. It is imperative that you stay inside during this inclement weather, and only venture out in cases of absolute emergency. If you get stuck outside, you must find dry shelter and cover up all exposed body parts.
- Warmth is key during these storms. Be sure to wear warm clothes and bundle up.
- With heaters and other devices on to create heat, be aware of fire hazard. Keep all heating devices away from drapes and furniture.
- Have alternatives to electricity powered devices. You never know when the power may go out.
- Beware of frostbite, hypothermia, and carbon monoxide poisoning; both are extremely common in the winter.
A wildfire can occur anywhere at any time, although they are more likely when there has been little rainfall. These fires can spread quickly, and the smoke can pose a health risk for people far away from the flames. Prepare your property so that the damage can be minimized in the event of a wildfire, and the flames will have a harder time reaching the house.
- In the event of a wildfire, be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
- Wear a dusk mask to minimize damage from inhaling debris and smoke.
- Beware of burns. Should you be burned from the fire, be sure to cool and cover the wound in order to reduce the chance of infection.
- Use your phone, television, or the radio to stay up-to-date on the situation. Just because you don’t see any flames doesn’t mean that there are no hot spots or other dangers.
As natural disasters can knock out powerlines and cells towers, make sure that you and your family have some sort of emergency communication plan. As natural disasters can occur at a moment’s notice, there is no guarantee that everyone will be together. By having an emergency plan, everyone will know where to seek safety and how to get in touch.
It is imperative to have an emergency kit ready for if and when disaster strikes. If you’re not sure what to pack in your kit, download our infographic to make sure that you don’t miss out on the essentials! Your emergency kit will help you and your family deal with a storm during and after the event. Not having the right items prepared could hurt you in the long run.
Protect both your tenants and your property by passing along the essential information about natural disasters. Possessing this knowledge can help them take the necessary actions to create an emergency kit and safeguard the property that will act as their shelter during a storm. You never know when an unfortunate weather event will strike, and being prepared can make all the difference.
Do You Have an Emergency Plan in Place?
Check Out These Other Great Articles!
About the Author
Olivia Creighton is the Marketing & Communications Assistant here at the Resident Screening Blog. She recently obtained a degree in Media Communications from Webster University. In her spare time, she binge watches Stranger Things and works towards procuring her Master’s.