Natural disasters greatly impact people and can cause them to lose their homes, families, and communities in the worst of cases. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) maintains a count of U.S. natural disasters whose impact caused over one billion dollars in damage. As of August 2023, there have been eleven events causing over one billion dollars in damage this year.
Being prepared for a disaster can save lives and minimize damage. And disaster preparation can be simple.
Make a plan and make a kit. Here is a checklist of items to have on hand to help you be prepared in case there is a disaster in your area from Ready.gov. You can store these in a large garbage bag or bin someplace you can access it easily in an emergency.
- Non-perishable food items (canned foods (be sure to include a can opener or only by cans with tabs that open the cans), dried fruits, ready to eat packages of b eans or lentils). Rice, pasta and dry goods all require cooking and remember your electricity and gas may be out, so pre-prepared foods may be best.
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
- Manual can opener (for food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
- Pet food, water and sanitation supplies
The Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) classifies emergencies as natural disasters, accidents, attacks, biological, and chemical. They provide extremely useful and informative survival guides for a multitude of disaster events common to Arizona, such as dust storms, extreme heat, and flooding. Individual preparedness can make all the difference when an unfortunate disaster occurs. In addition to survival guides, AZDHS also offers tips for individuals and families to prepare for emergencies and disasters. The key steps AZDHS encourages are to: (1) prepare a plan in advance, (2) make an emergency kit, and (3) be informed about emergencies and disasters. Families should make a special effort to think through and prepare for emergency situations because they can occur at any time and in any place, requiring you to either leave your home or shelter in place when necessary.
The Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN), run by the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs Public Information Office, is a great useful resource for staying informed about emergency events. Additionally, the AZ Department of Homeland Security provides resources for Arizonans to create a plan for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
To get started on your family’s emergency plan, check out the downloadable disaster plan checklists created by AZDHS for a multitude of scenarios, including household disasters, car supply lists, and pet supply lists among others.
For additional resources, click the links below:
- AZDHS Emergency Preparedness Website: https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/emergency-preparedness/just-in-case-az/index.php
- Arizona Emergency Information Network: https://ein.az.gov/
- Arizona Department of Homeland Security Preparedness for Residents: https://azdohs.gov/preparedness-residents