How to survive common natural disasters

Natural disasters come inevitably, but it’s possible to prepare for and actually survive them. Knowing what you need to watch out for and what you need to do once these calamities come will help you keep yourself and your family members safe and unharmed.

Here are some of the most common natural disasters and how you can survive them. (h/t to


These natural calamities bring with them rain, strong winds, floods, and the risk of tornadoes. Without a doubt, among natural disasters, hurricanes cause the most damage to the United States every year.

Fortunately, warnings systems are in place to let you know of impending hurricanes. The Hurricane Watch, for example, tells you of hurricanes that may hit coastal and inland areas. A hurricane warning, once up, tells you that a hurricane is expected to arrive within 24 hours. It’s important that you listen for updates from these two stations at all times.

If you are in a low-lying area prone to flooding or your house is not sturdy enough, it’s best to evacuate soon. Mobile homes are not secure. If you have a lawn, make sure it does not have anything the wind can pick up and launch toward your home. If your house is sturdy or high enough, check that you have enough emergency supplies, especially drinking water.

During the storm, stay in your cellar or in the strongest part of your house. If your house begins to come apart, protect yourself with blankets or mattresses, or stay under a solid bed. Do not drive because a car is not safe at all. Once the storm has passed, it’s best to stay in your area until you get the “all-clear” signal from emergency services.


Although they don’t last as long as hurricanes do, tornadoes aren’t any less destructive. The best way to prepare for one is to hide in your basement or an underground shelter. If you don’t have these, stay in the strongest part of your house and make sure you are far from any window. Should you be outside, do not try to run or drive away. Instead, put yourself in a ditch or depression on the ground and cover your head.


These last even more briefly than tornadoes but can be extremely destructive. Before one happens, make sure your house is secure and that it has no cracks that indicate structural weakness. If there are, make sure that these are appropriately fixed. Secure shelves, furniture, or anything that might fall over and cause injuries.

During an earthquake, stay away from windows and walls. Instead, dive under a sturdy desk or table. If there are other people, do not run for the door as others will do the same – you may get hurt in the resulting stampede. Should you find yourself outside, go to an open space away from power lines and high structures. If you are driving, pull over, but not on a bridge or close to a tree.


The destruction caused by volcanic explosions are nothing to underestimate. Watch out for signs of an impending eruption, such as rumblings and movement in the ground, the smell of rotten eggs close to rivers, and the presence of pumice dust in the air.

Once you detect these signs, the best course of action is to leave. Stay upwind of the volcano to protect yourself from ash and gases. Watch out for mudflows and keep moving – do not stay in buildings unless doing so is a must.


Flooding may seem less exciting than either a volcanic eruption or a tornado, but the damage they do to both life and property can be immense. If you live in an area prone to flooding, be sure to evacuate when told to do so. If no warning for evacuation is up, keep yourself updated on the latest weather reports. Be sure your emergency supplies, especially drinking water, are adequate.

During and after the flood, never paddle in or drink floodwater as it is usually extremely dirty and will cause various diseases. If anyone in your family is in danger, go to your roof and signal for help.

Lightning storms

The risk that lightning storms pose is dramatically reduced by simply staying indoors. But if you are outside, then you need to take precautions. A reliable sign that lightning is about to strike close to you is when you feel your hair beginning to stand on end. When this happens, drop to the ground. Make sure your hands and knees are also on the ground.

During a lightning storm, stay away from trees and hilltops, as well as any metallic structure, as these have a high tendency of getting struck. Instead, find shelter in low areas, particularly, those with thick brush.


During a drought, it’s important to save and reuse drinking water whenever possible. Instead of using the toilet, it’s best to prepare an outdoor latrine or compostable toilet instead. Boost your fluid intake by eating foods that contain high concentrations of juice or moisture. If you are told to avoid drinking tap water, it’s best to follow to prevent yourself from contracting diseases. Despite all of these, make sure to maintain proper hygiene to maintain your health.

Big freeze

Extremely cold temperatures can come unexpectedly, so it’s best to be prepared for them at all times. Check for problems in your home’s insulation, as well as drafts in your windows and doors. Make sure your heating system is working just fine and that you have electric blankets at the ready. You might need to stay indoors for an extended period, so check that you have sufficient stores of food and drinking water.

During the big freeze, it’s best to stay in one room with your family to conserve heat. Seal up the place, but leave enough room for ventilation. Warm your body by consuming hot soup or drinking hot beverages like cocoa and tea. If you must go outside, make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing. Limit your physical activity as it can harm your body given the extreme cold. Do not drink alcohol. If you experience hypothermia, it’s important that you know how to respond to the situation.

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