Lowering the risk to yourself and the ones you care about during a natural disaster can be something you don’t think about until you’re in the middle of one. Fortunately, there’s a holiday to help you prepare before the worst can happen.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction is a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of the day. Every second Wednesday of October, the holiday celebrates different themes ranging from living with disability and keeping hospitals safe from disasters.
The holiday started in 1989 when it was approved by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly uses the holiday as a means to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.
This year’s theme will focus on older people and disasters. This will include the needs of older people and what they contribute to better planning and understanding of disaster risk in their communities.
According to the Annual Disaster Statistical Review, there were 357 natural disasters were registered in 2012. These disasters resulted in the deaths of more than 9,600 people. In the last decade, the United States has become one of the top five countries to be hit by natural disasters. In fact, Hurricane Sandy was the most expensive natural disaster, causing an estimated $50 billion worth of damages.
Here are some tips to reduce disaster risks in your home:
- In regards to floods, move valuables and appliances out of the basement if it’s prone to flooding. This will increase your odds of keeping your valuables dry.
- In regards to earthquakes, bolt or strap large items in your house such as cupboards, bookcases and your water heater down. This will reduce both damages and the possibilities of injury to everyone in your home.
- In regards to hurricanes and tornadoes, install and maintain storm shutters to protect all exposed windows and glass surfaces when severe weather is definitive. Besides protecting against wind, shutters also prevent damage from flying debris.
- In regards to wildfires, move shrubs, dead brushes, dead grass and other landscaping away from your house. Homes can burn when plants around them catch fire and dead plants will act as fuel to the fire.
Natural disasters can be detrimental to your home and your health. By learning about ways to lower risks from International Day for Disaster Reduction, you can make sure you and your loved ones have a better chance of staying safe next time nature comes knocking.