FEMA’s seriously gotten its act together to produce a simple set of instructions for most natural disaster situations. It has a ton of downloadable materials on its America’s PrepareAthon! site here.
America’s PrepareAthon! is a grassroots campaign for action to increase community preparedness and resilience for disasters. The campaign offers free resources for households and organizations to discuss and practice plans and safety measures to improve resilience for specific disasters. If you’re in a Neighborhood Watch scheme, own a business, are a designated first responder at your workplace, or volunteer at a local non-profit the information is pretty useful.
Earthquakes can occur suddenly and be deadly. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.
An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time. Initial mild shaking may strengthen and become extremely violent within seconds.
Earthquakes happen along cracks in the earth’s surface, called fault lines, and can be felt over large areas. All 50 states and 5 U.S. territories are at some risk for earthquakes.
Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year and occur without warning, although they usually last less than one minute. Earthquakes cannot be predicted — although scientists are working on it!
For more information on how to prepare for an earthquake, download the How to Prepare for an Earthquake Guide which provides the basics of earthquakes, explains how to protect yourself and your property and details the steps to take now so you can act quickly in the event of an earthquake.
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere.
Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.
Flooding can happen in any U.S. state or territory. It is particularly important to be prepared for flooding if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as near a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee.
Flooding can occur during every season, but some areas of the country are at greater risk at certain times of the year. Coastal areas are at greater risk for flooding during hurricane season (i.e., June to November), while the Midwest is more at risk in the spring and during heavy summer rains. Ice jams occur in the spring in the Northeast and Northwest. Even the deserts of the Southwest are at risk during the late summer monsoon season.
For more information, download the How to Prepare for a Flood guide, which provides the basics of floods, explains how to protect yourself and your property, and details the steps to take now so that you can act quickly when you, your home, or your business is in danger.
Hurricanes have the power to cause widespread devastation, and can affect both coastal and inland areas.
Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world.
Each year, many parts of the United States experience heavy rains, strong winds, floods, and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. Affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.
For more information, download the How to Prepare for a Hurricane guide, which provides the basics of hurricanes, explains how to protect yourself and your property, and details the steps to take now so that you can act quickly at a time when every second counts.
Tornadoes are one of nature’s most violent storms, and can cause death, injury, and destruction within seconds.
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground and is often—although not always—visible as a funnel cloud. Lightening and hail are common in thunderstorms that produce tornadoes. About 1,200 tornadoes hit the United States every year and every state is at risk. Most tornadoes in the United States occur east of the Rocky Mountains.
Tornadoes can strike in any season, but occur most often in the spring and summer months. They can occur at all hours of the day and night, but are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.
For more information, download the How to Prepare for a Tornado guide, which provides the basics of tornadoes, explains how to protect yourself and your property, and details the steps to take now so that you can act quickly when you, your home, or your business is in danger.
Wildfires can occur anywhere and can destroy homes, businesses, infrastructure, natural resources, and agriculture.
A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted fire burning in a natural area, such as a forest, grassland, or prairie. As building development expands into these areas, homes and businesses may be situated in or near areas susceptible to wildfires. This is called the wildland urban interface.
Wildfires can occur anywhere in the country. They can start in remote wilderness areas, in national parks, or even in your back yard. Wildfires can start from natural causes, such as lightning, but most are caused by humans, either accidentally—from cigarettes, campfires, or outdoor burning—or intentionally.
Wildfires can occur at any time throughout the year, but the potential is always higher during periods with little or no rainfall, which make brush, grass, and trees dry and burn more easily. High winds can also contribute to spreading the fire. Your community may have a designated wildfire season when the risk is particularly high.
For more information, download the How to Prepare for a Wildfire guide, which provides the basics of wildfires, explains how to protect yourself and your property, and details the steps to take now so that you can act quickly when you, your home, or your business is in danger.
A Winter storm can occur anywhere and bring freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds or a combination of all these conditions. They can cause power outages that last for days or weeks; making it hard to keep warm and making travel very dangerous.
A winter storm occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. A winter storm can range from freezing rain and ice, to moderate snowfall over a few hours, to a blizzard that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures.
Winter storms and colder than normal temperatures can happen in every region of the country. Winter storms can occur from early autumn to late spring depending on the region.
For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, download the How to Prepare for a Winter Storm Guide which provides the basics of winter storms, explains how to protect yourself and your property and details the steps to take now so you can stay safely where you are in case of a winter storm.