Natural disasters can strike at a moment’s notice. Although planning and prevention are key, it’s how you react during the event that could help you survive. Do you know how to stay safe during a fire, flood, or earthquake? Below are some of the decisions you will need to make—and actions you will need to take—when faced with these situations.

Natural Disaster

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Drop and Take Cover

During an earthquake, dropping and taking cover under a sturdy piece of furniture is your best bet for preventing injuries. Get to the ground, move under a desk or table, and stay there for at least a couple of minutes after the event has finished. If you’re unable to find something to take cover under, cover your head and face with your arms against a wall.

Follow Outdoor Safety Protocols

If you are outdoors when disaster strikes, step away from utility wires, streetlights, and buildings. Search for open ground and stay there until the event stops. It’s risky to stay at exits, near exterior walls and outside buildings. During a disaster like an earthquake, ground movement is rarely the cause for injury or death. Most causalities are a direct result of falling objects, collapsing walls, and flying glass.

Keep Calm When Dealing with Fires

If a fire breaks out, stay calm and see if you can extinguish it by yourself. A fire extinguisher should get the job done in case of a small fire. For larger fires, finding the nearest exit should be your instant reaction. Getting low and crawling against the wall is the best way to avoid smoke – this way, you should be able to breathe and find your way to safety. While navigating, avoid opening doors that feel hot or have smoke coming in. Otherwise, you might find yourself in the middle of another raging fire that might be hard to escape.

Follow Flooding Do’s and Don’ts

Floods are a common natural hazard that could happen any time of the year. Some causes include damage to nearby dams, tsunamis, and non-stop rain. The question is, what do you do when faced with a flood? For starters, move to higher ground. Also, keep track of evacuation alerts to know where to go, what to do, and which roads are safe. Most importantly, do not attempt to drive, walk, or swim through a flood. The water might be moving faster and deeper than it seems and could sweep you away. Not to mention, there could be fallen electrical lines and debris that could be fatal.

Be Smart When in A Crowd

If a disaster strikes when you’re in a crowded place, take cover and avoid rushing for the exit. Others will probably do the same so there’s no point. Taking cover and shielding your head is your best option for preventing bodily damage from falling glass and debris. Of course, you should move away from fall-prone objects and display shelves as the first line of defense. Other things to move away from include wall hangings, cabinet doors, chimneys and fireplaces, and light fixtures.

Blow That Survival Whistle

As you’re reading this, open up a new tab and go to amazon.com or another website to buy an emergency whistle. This handy little device can go a long way in protecting you during a disaster. When catastrophe strikes, blow the whistle to help rescue and survival teams find you faster. No need to get anything fancy; just something that can be heard from a distance. If you can’t blow a whistle out loud, there are electronic varieties that go off at a button’s push. These small devices don’t take up much room in a purse or bag, but they can be life saving.

Move in An Avalanche

If you’re trekking or climbing and get stuck in an avalanche, try to get out of the way. Move sideways as the avalanche’s center is where the snow moves the quickest. Remember that the snow will turn into concrete once it settles, so move as much can. But what happens when you find yourself buried? Make as big a gap around your face as you can so that you have some breathing space and improve your odds of surviving.

Take Shelter at The First Sound of An Explosion

Take cover under a table or stair area when you hear an explosion, and exit the area as soon as the sound fades. Take caution when moving out as there may be a fire in nearby areas. Avoid opening hot doors and using elevators as they can add to your existing challenges. Also, don’t attempt to take along belongings as your life is more vital. Go to safe ground at least 30 meters away from the explosion site. If you hear a noise afterward, for your safety, speak to others to check if any other explosions have happened around the area, just in case you have to move farther away.

Seek Advice from Local Authorities

Some disasters bring immediate dangers that you may not be able to react to appropriately. In this case, get in touch with the local authorities to discover the best course of action. If you’ve already been informed about a disaster approaching, listen to the local radio to stay informed about evacuation procedures. If you fail to evacuate and get caught in a disaster, lie flat in a ditch (or take shelter in another low location).

These actions will significantly improve your chances of survival when disaster hits. Once the event comes to an end, make sure to repair any damages to your home quickly to avoid further problems. You might be able to do some remediation yourself, but it’s best to contact a disaster clean up specialist if you want to restore everything as effectively as possible. Whether you’re dealing with flood, fire, or mold clean up, they can help you discover problems and issues that may not be apparent to the novice.