In the wake of Japan: Prepare yourself for a natural disaster

Millions of people all of the world woke up this morning to learn of the devastating natural disasters in Japan. If you have not seen or heard about what everyone is talking about, here is the low down: off shore Japan was hit with a 8.9 magnitude earthquake. It is one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded. After the initial earthquake, many, many after shocks (like 50) continued to terrorize the region. But the worst of the natural disaster is when the tsunami hit, killing hundreds as the giant waves swept through the nation. Many are still missing.

The waves from the tsunami have pushed waves to the western side of the United States, causing many to evacuate. My friend who lives on a military base in Hawaii declared on facebook that she had evacuated before the tsunami sirens went off (to beat the crowds, of course) and was sleeping on the floor of some church more inland. But at least she was OK.

Which made me think, we cannot prevent natural disasters. They are one of the few things we have zero control over. While some might be predicted a short amount of time before they hit, many hit without any warning. And all without any prevention.

So if we can’t prevent disasters, are we just out of luck? While we can’t prevent, we can prepare the best we can. Here are some ways to prepare for a natural disaster, because in most cases all you can do is prepare the best you can.

* Prepare a evacuation plan. It does not matter what the disaster is; you need an evacuation plan. For a fire, it would be the quickest way to get out of the house from each room. It is also important to have a place to meet outside, that way you know who has made it outside and if you need to find anyone who is missing. For a bigger disaster like an earthquake, have a meeting place far away from your home in case your area is greatly affected.
* Plan a communication plan. If you and your husband are both at work when a disaster hits, what are you going to do? Determine someone who lives out of state that you both could call when you are safe. This is a simple way to not jam up the phone lines and hopefully your out of state contact will not be affected by the disaster.
* Have important documents in a fire proof box that is easily accessible. This would include passports, birth certificates, social security cards, etc.
* Insure yourself. Find affordable health insurance plans, home or renter insurance and life insurance. These will be able to protect any damages during the aftermath of the disaster.
* Get a go bag. A go bag is your emergency pack full of supplies. It is something that you can quickly grab in an emergency. Inside would be a change of clothes,a blanket, nonperishable food and snacks to last 72 hours.