Precautions For Natural Disasters

Floods are the most common natural disasters in the United States. They can be caused by storms, melting snow, hurricanes, and water backup. Consider getting flood insurance, which will cover you from losses resulting from flood-related damages.

Flood insurance will cover damages even if the president of the United States doesn't declare a disaster. Federal disaster assistance is only available if the president declares a disaster, and more than 90 percent of all disasters are not officially declared.

Contrary to what most people think, earthquakes can happen anywhere, not just in California. There are some basic steps you can take to protect your home and your family from disaster.

  • Stay indoors and move away from windows, skylights, doors and objects that could fall.
  • If outdoors, move quickly and safely into the open, away from electrical lines, trees and buildings. Drop to the ground and wait for the shaking to stop.
  • If you are driving, carefully and slowly bring your vehicle to the side of the road, away from traffic and trees.
  • Do not stop under bridges, under power lines or near roadway signs that might fall.

Hail can occur in any strong thunderstorm. When hail is falling:

  • Stay indoors. Because large pieces of hail can shatter windows, close your drapes, blinds, or window shades to prevent the wind from blowing broken glass inside.
  • Stay away from skylights and exterior doors.
  • If outside, do not seek shelter under a tree.

Ferocious storms, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, can bring devastating damage to your home.

  • Decide in advance where you will take shelter, and go there immediately when a storm strikes. If your home does not have a storm cellar or safe room and you don't have time to go to a community shelter, head to the center most part of your basement or home—away from windows and preferably under something sturdy, such as a staircase.
  • Remove anything in your yard that could become flying debris inside your house.
  • Don't open any windows.

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