Natural disasters are catastrophic events caused by the forces of nature that are often unpredictable,
costly, and deadly. Although some natural disasters may occur more frequently in certain areas or regions,
they can and do occur in locations around the world. In the U.S., there are many resources available to help
educate people about natural disasters that are common in their area. In addition, there are also many resources
that teach people how to plan and prepare for many of the disasters that are caused by nature. Utilizing these
resources do not guarantee that one will be safe in the event of a natural disaster, but they can reduce one's
chances of injury and damage to one's property.
Be Prepared: Tornado Resources
A tornado is a highly destructive storm that occurs an estimated 1,200 times a year in the U.S. alone.
It is characterized by extremely fast and violent winds that rotate and create a column. These columns extend
from thunderstorms at speeds that may go as high as 300 miles per hour. With the right conditions, a tornado
may occur anywhere in the country; however, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, Eastern Colorado,
and Northern Texas typically have the most tornadoes. The high number of tornadoes in this area has given it the
nickname "Tornado Alley." Tornado resources should provide information about danger signs to look for such as the
sky turning dark and greenish in color, or a loud sound like a train or a roar. Other information includes where to seek
shelter when indoors. Going to the lowest floor in a building is generally recommended, ideally a room without windows
is best. Tornado resources will also give advice on how to protect and cover oneself once in a sheltered area. Other
resources may provide instructions for building a safe room in the home, which may be useful if one lives in an area
that has frequent tornadoes. A safe room is one that can withstand the force and flying debris associated with tornadoes.
Tornado resources should also provide advice on what to do when outside, what is and is not considered shelter, and
what to do if there is no safe shelter within reach.
Be Prepared: Earthquake Resources
Violent tremors or shaking of the ground can occur due to the shifting of plates in the crust of the earth.
These shifting plates cause tremors when some of their edges become stuck on a fault only to become loose
as the rest of the plate continues to move. The shockwave that occurs when the edges become loose causes
the earth to shake in what is called an earthquake. Earthquakes vary in intensity and may cause barely noticeable
tremors to intense shaking that can threaten structures, cause tidal waves, and even take lives. Earthquake resources
can help people prepare for earthquakes by giving instructions on finding the safest location during an event,
positioning your body for maximum safety once shelter is found, and finding the safest places when outdoors.
Additionally, people living in areas that frequently experience earthquakes may also search for resources regarding
insurance options and how to safely store and secure heavy items that may injure someone should they fall during an
earthquake. For example, some resources may instruct people living in earthquake zones to secure bookcases and
other heavy items to a wall.
Be Prepared: More Resources
Regardless of whether the natural disaster is a thunderstorm or an earthquake, a flood or fire, it pays to be prepared.
Fortunately, there are resources that are readily available for nearly all disasters that commonly occur across the nation.
Although there are many different resources available, government and academic sites often offer the most valuable and