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How to Prepare for Natural Disasters

Many types of natural disasters can occur in Alabama including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and thunderstorms. All of these disasters can bring numerous risks of injury and damage to structures.

But, there are simple disaster preparation steps that all families can follow this year to help them prepare for natural disasters.

The first thing every family should do is to create a contact list of friends or relatives outside the disaster area whom they can all call in the event of an emergency, or if they become separated. Families should review the list periodically to make sure that it stays current.

Check your emergency supply kit to make sure everything in it is working and up-to-date. Place supplies such as important documents and prescriptions in waterproof bags and store them in one or two easy-to-carry containers in elevated places in case of flooding. Your kit should contain enough supplies for at least five days and should be stored in a designated place, where all family members can locate it.

Double check your medications’ list for the entire family, updating any new prescriptions. Include a week’s worth of medicine in the emergency supply kit.

Most shelters do not allow pets, so make arrangements for pets in case of evacuation. Call your vet or humane shelter for assistance in finding suitable housing.

In case your family will have to shelter in place, have enough food and water supplies available. Stock the home with foods that do not have to be cooked or refrigerated and enough water for at least five days.

If evacuating the home, make sure to unplug small appliances, but leave the freezer and refrigerator plugged in unless there is risk of flooding. Check with the utility company about turning off utilities properly.

Secure outside items that could blow away or cause damage in case of strong winds. Sometimes severe thunderstorms can also bring hail, so protect cars in covered areas to prevent damage.

Finally, ensure transportation is available for evacuation. If you are unable to drive, or do not have access to a vehicle, make arrangements for transportation in the event that an emergency occurs. If you are able to drive, as soon as you learn that you may have to evacuate for a disaster, fill up your car with gas and check your oil and tires. Be sure to place jumper cables, a jack and a spare tire in the trunk.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit our Center for Emergency Preparedness and download the Family Readiness Guide.

Page last updated: May 13, 2021