Right After The Disaster
Some disasters and
emergencies happen so quickly that we have little or no time to prepare. If you are sound asleep at night and a tornado hits your neighborhood, there was obviously nothing that you could have done to prepare for it. Likewise, an earthquake can produce widespread damage without warning. However, how you behave after the disaster has struck and gone will help determine how you and your family fare and recover from it.
One of the most important aspects of handling a disaster is not to panic. This may be the normal reaction to a dangerous situation, but it can often cloud your thinking and cause more harm. Remain calm, or at least appear to be calm, and act like someone who can be depended upon.
First Things First
The first thing to do after a disaster is to get everyone in the family together. If some of the members are missing, institute a search for them immediately. Call out loudly, shine a
flashlight, anything to get the attention of whoever is missing. There is a possibility that they are injured or unconscious, so do not depend on sound or light to locate them, but start a systematic search.
If all the family is present, everyone should be checked for injuries. Do not depend upon the word of an individual that they are all right, they might be in shock, and unaware of any injuries they may have sustained. Children, especially, should be checked carefully. Minor wounds should be taken care of right away from the items in your
first aid kit, while serious injuries should be stabilized as much as possible until professional help is available.
Assess The Damage
Once you have gathered family members into a safe spot, you can start to assess the damage to your home. If there was a gas line coming into the house, it should be shut off to prevent possible explosion or fire. Sometimes, damage to the structure may be relatively minor and everyone can go back inside, where they will be more comfortable and safer. However, if the house is too badly damaged, or even destroyed, it will be necessary to provide some sort of shelter if the emergency situation is going to last longer than a few hours.
The best thing to do is to act as if this is going to be an ongoing emergency and use the
survival equipment and tools that you should have on hand to deal with it. Once your own family has been taken care of, and no serious problems have presented themselves, you can also lend a hand to neighbors who may have the same sort of difficulties you do.
If You Must Evacuate
While it is often possible to stay in or near your home after a disaster, there are times when you will have to leave the area. If you have made provisions already for this, your evacuation will be much easier to effect. Hopefully, your car will have enough gas in it to get you to a safer area. A first aid kit and
emergency supplies should already be in the trunk.