Most people don’t believe that anything bad can happen to them until it eventually does and they find themselves woefully unprepared. Natural disasters can strike at any time and do an incredible amount of damage, destroying homes, cutting off communities, and taking lives.
This is why you need to have a strategy in place for surviving different disasters, but you also need to be prepared for the aftermath and trying to go back to your normal life. Here’s what you need to do during the first couple of days after a disaster.
Things you need to take care off in advance
Planning ahead is what will allow you to take action quickly during a crisis situation. Make sure that you have the following things covered before developing any sort of disaster survival strategy:
- Prepare jackets and sturdy shoes so that everyone can just grab them off the rack and keep going in an emergency.
- Backup all your important files on a hard drive or flash drive and throw it in your bug out bag.
- Put all your important documents, along with some emergency cash, in a waterproof folder.
- Prepare a 72h bug out bag and smaller survival backpacks for your kids and have them by the door.
These few things will make your life so much easier if a disaster strikes.
Make sure everyone is OK
The first thing to do is gather everyone in the same room, check if they are OK and tend to any wounds. If you can, give everyone a snack and a hot beverage lay out your plan and give everyone a job to do.
If there’s time put all the non-spoilable food in a big bag
In some cases, you may be able to weather the storm in your home and have enough time to rummage through the fridge and pantries for some extra food and anything useful that you can bring. If so, then pack all the canned goods and food that won’t spoil easily, and eat anything that will spoil but doesn’t need to be cooked. You want to start moving on a full stomach if you can.
Grab your clothes and bug out bag
Your main well-stocked bug out bag should be by the front door and easy to access, along with some warm clothes and hiking boots. It’s a good idea for your partner or another family member to have a bug out bag of their own, and you can have additional smaller bags with some clothes, blankets, snacks and a toy or two for your kids. A small toy will help keep your kids’ morale up during difficult times.
Notify the authorities of your situation
Call the authorities as soon as you can, tell them what happened, where you will be headed, and what the extent of the damage is. Ask for some advice and for any specific medication or items you may need but are unable to find on your own – life rafts, fresh drinking water, heart medication, insulin, etc.
Find other survivors
Try to get a few of your neighbors to rally up with you at a certain location because you can do a much better job of staying safe if you are in a larger group. You’ll have access to a much more diverse inventory of gear and food, you’ll have more bodies to carry stuff and build a fire, and you’ll have someone to talk to. Once everyone is there make a plan and head towards a safer place.
Set up a camp
In some cases, you may be able to hang out in your backyards or somewhere close to your homes, but you may also need to drive or walk to a different location. If there’s been a lot of destruction and you were forced to leave your homes, look for a safe area nearby where you can set up a camp and wait for help to come.
You’ll need to set up a basic camp and you’ll want to get a fire going as soon as you can. Delegate tasks according to everyone’s strengths.
As long as you have a few things prepared and can keep your wits about you, the first 48 hours after a disaster will be an opportunity to set up camp and wait for help to come.