This is the first installment in our series on everything you need to know to survive a natural disaster or an emergency. Federal organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross recommend that you have a two-week supply of food, water, and other supplies to stay prepared for an emergency scenario. The bare minimum is 3 days, but ensuring that you are prepared for two weeks will greatly increase your chances of at-home survival.

We have published many valuable blog posts on how to build your emergency food supply and how to maintain your long-term food supply. In this article, we are discussing some things you will need to know to survive the aftermath of the disaster - mainly days 4-14 following an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or other natural disasters.Give Back if You Can

When the disaster strikes, it’s all about survival - making sure that you and your family survive. In the aftermath, communities tend to give back to each other and help one another get through tough times. It is quite inspiring to see how neighbors and community members help each other after a disaster hits. Here are a few ideas of ways we’ve seen people give back to their neighbors after a disaster:

  • Prepare big meals and hand them out to families in need
  • Put out a “blessings table” with supplies for people who need them
  • Offer spare bedrooms to those whose homes have been destroyed
  • Offer your time and energy to help with home repairs

It is helpful to discuss a balanced approach to how your community will share with each other before the disaster hits. This way, you can set boundaries and avoid tensions or potential conflict while ensuring everyone has what they need to start the rebuilding process.

Avoid Downed Power Lines

After a disaster, one of the most common dangers is downed power lines. Even if the power has been out for days, power lines can still hold a potentially dangerous charge.  Here’s what to do to stay safe around them. 

  • Avoid downed power lines around standing water or metal at all costs. 
  • If you are driving and lines fall around your car, keep driving. If the car stalls, keep the engine running as long as you can. If you need to leave the vehicle, avoid touching the car and the ground surrounding the lines - jumping is recommended if you can. 
  • Shrubs, fallen trees, and other vegetation can hold an electrical charge - especially if they are wet. Be sure to keep this in mind and always be safe.

Avoid Fallen Trees and Other Debris

The other most common occurrence during a disaster is fallen trees and other debris scattered about. Be sure to refrain from attempting to clean up downed trees and other debris until you’re cleared to do so from government officials or first responders. It’s tempting to clean these up when the dust settles, but there are some significant dangers in doing so, including: 

  • Debris holding an electric charge from live wires
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Gasoline leaks that could cause fires
  • Have hidden sharp edges that could cause injury
  • Shift or further collapse with excessive winds

Help Others and Stay Safe

In the aftermath of a disaster, helping others and avoiding potential dangers are two of the main keys to survival. In future articles, we will be covering how to reinforce your home for a disaster, how to build the best 3-day and two-week emergency supply, as well as how to evacuate your area safely.