Skip to content

    Mental Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Preparing for Disaster

    Experts give advice on how to prepare disaster plans and emergency kits for you and your family.
    By
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Disasters can strike home at any time. The dizzying list of potential catastrophes is scary: floods, landslides, earthquakes, tornadoes, and terrorism.

    It's depressing to think about, but the thought of disaster happening at any time may actually benefit those wise enough to prepare for calamity.

    Recommended Related to Mental Health

    How to Keep Joy in Your Life All Year Long

    It's the one resolution you must keep this year! Start by taking inventory of what matters to you and what makes you happy. Then, work on savoring those experiences! Here, four ways to create more delight each and every day from Michelle DeAngelis, life consultant and founder of Planetjoyride.com. Play more! We all need a few minutes a day for "adult play," advises DeAngelis. Too much to do? Schedule "fun appointments." Go bowling! Cook for friends! "When you do something physical—such...

    Read the How to Keep Joy in Your Life All Year Long article > >

    "Be prepared," advises Ruth Frechman, MARD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "You never know what could happen. Just a few [steps] can make your life easier in an emergency."

    There are many tips available online for making a disaster plan and for assembling an emergency kit. WebMD has culled information provided by government, health and reputable nonprofit organizations. We offer their most common suggestions for survival, for putting together a disaster kit, and for keeping kits fresh.

    Take note, though, that the experts offer a lot of advice and suggest many supplies for the emergency kit. It can all be overwhelming. However, taking the time to read through all the information can make emergency planning easier. And it could save your life.

    "Individuals think that they have to do everything [advised by the experts]," says Michelle Hudgins, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross. "Everything is not necessarily right for you or your family. Individuals need to figure out what aspects [of the information] are relevant to their lifestyle."

    Preparing for the unknown does take some time, but it's hard to argue the price of peace of mind during troubled times.

    Making a Disaster Plan

    Finding out what bad things could occur in your community is a step toward preparedness.

    "Look at your area. Do you live in a hurricane area? Do you live in a flood zone? Do you live in an area where earthquakes happen? Learn about what you would do in those different disasters," recommends Kristin Gossel, director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's READYAmerica campaign.

    There are also man-made disasters to think about, such as explosions, chemical attacks, or biological assaults. In its web site (www.ready.gov), READYAmerica has listed a number of natural and man-made hazards and gives tips on how to deal with them.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

    Today on WebMD

    contemplation
    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
     
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
     
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    Article
    senior man eating a cake
    Article
     
    Phobias
    Slideshow
    woman reading medicine warnings
    Article
     
    depressed young woman
    Article
    man with arms on table
    Article
     
    veteran
    Article
    man cringing and covering ears
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections