The Importance of   
Disaster Preparedness

  
In the wake of the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, It is extremely important to spend some time talking about how we can prepare (well as much as one can prepare) for disasters.  Minimizing worry and confusion is crucial in a time that is sure to test anyone mentally, physically, and emotionally. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to experience such a traumatic event. But, there are ways to prepare in case we find ourselves in the path of mother natures’ fury.
  Create an Emergency Kit 

Be sure to include at 3 days of water and non-perishable foods. Do not forget a can opener and basic utensils. Include necessary medicine or medical supplies, personal care items like soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and hygiene products. Some essential safety items include a first aid kit, flashlight, battery powered radio, copies of important documents, cash, a map of your local area, batteries, blankets, whistles and a multipurpose tool. Don’t forget food and water for pets as well. This seems like a lot but it will make a huge difference if you find yourself in an emergency situation.
  
  Make a Plan 
Be sure that you have a plan of what to do should a particular disaster occur. First, keep a fire extinguisher in your home and be sure you know how to properly use it. Come up with a designated area safe spot in your home in case of a disaster. This may include a basement during a tornado or under a table during an earthquake. Also include meeting places outside of your home, such as a specific spot in your neighborhood. Finally, make sure everyone in your household knows how to exit your home safely in case of a fire or other disaster that requires a quick escape.
  
Say Informed 

Be sure to listen to authorities and stay up to date on weather trends. We live in a time when we can sometimes predict when a disaster is going to occur. Take these predictions seriously. It may turn out to be nothing, but wouldn’t you rather be over prepared than not prepared enough?
  

If you do not experience panic attacks, but know someone who does, there are a few things you can do to help them through it.
  •  In an earthquake, STOP, DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON. This means get under the closest table or desk and hold on to said table. If there is no table, get near a low piece of furniture and cover your head and neck with your hands. DO NOT stand in a doorway. Movies are deceiving.

  • During a tornado, it is important to seek shelter in a room that does not have any windows. If a basement isn’t present, then a lower level, interior room is the best choice. If you can cover yourself with a heavy blanket or mattress this can also be very helpful in preventing injury from flying debris. Try not to seek shelter in an area where heavy objects are on the floor directly above you, as they could fall through. If you are outdoors, never try to outrun a tornado in your car. Seek shelter immediately. If no adequate shelter is available, lie flat, covering your head in the nearest ditch. Avoid trees if possible.

  • During a flood, Turn Around, Don’t Drown. Do not attempt to drive through flood waters. Even 1 foot of flood water can carry off a vehicle. If you are walking, just six inches of water can sweep you off your feet.
     
    You can find more information and resources here .
      
  
If you would like to provide support for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, please consider donating to the American Red Cross . You can also look into other reputable charities that are working diligently to provide support to those in need.
  

Amanda grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL but is now enjoying living in Louisville, KY. She received her bachelors degree at Northern Illinois University where she acted as a resident advisor and mentor to fellow students. This was where she found her passion for wellness and helping others. She went on to study community health and receive her Masters of Education at the University of Louisville. During her studies, she focused her graduate research on programming for mental health and youth wellness. She also acts as an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. She has always enjoyed using her voice and knowledge to educate and advocate about important health topics. Amanda spends much of her time employed as a nanny for three wonderful children.

When she is not busy promoting health education or chasing around the kids, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with her Pomeranian, Sulley, or indulging in a great book. Amanda thrives on helping to educate others about important health issues and effective health related behaviors so they can live happier and healthier lives!