Every day , millions of people wake up, go to school, go to work, take kids to school, farm their land or go to ball games. But every so often the unexpected happens: an earthquake, a fire, a chemical spill or some other emergency. Routines are changed drastically, people are suddenly aware of how fragile their lives can be.
Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year and each disaster has lasting effects-people are seriously injured, sometimes killed, and property damage runs into the billions of dollars.
If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations Will try to help you. But you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately after a disaster or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere. Families and individuals who prepare can reduce the fear, anxiety and losses that surround disaster. They know what to do in a fire an where to seek shelter in a tornado. They can be ready to evacuate their homes, make their stays in public shelters more comfortable and know how to care for their basic medical needs.
People can also reduce the impact of disaster (flood proofing or elevating a home, securing items that could shake loose in an earth quake) and sometimes avoid the danger altogether.
You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area-hurricanes, earthquakes, lighting, extreme cold or flooding. You should also be ready to be self sufficient for at least 7 days. This may mean providing for y our own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation. This guide can help. It was developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the agency responsible for responding to natural disasters and for helping the state and local governments and individuals prepare for emergencies. It contains step-by-step advice on how to prepare for and how t respond to disasters.