Preparing For Natural Disasters – Lessons Learned From Colorado

How To Prepare for Natural Disasters

What Natural Disasters Should You Prepare for?

How To Prepare for Natural DisastersThis last week because I live in Colorado I have been inundated with news about the Colorado floods, luckily not because I was affected. As sad as this situation is, I cant help but notice how many people were completely caught off guard by this. Even if the possibility of a flood was less than 10%, that is still a scenario that should be taken into consideration.

I do have some friends that live in the Boulder area and although their home was not destroyed by this flood it literally came up to their back door. But the difference between them and others I have seen on television walking through fast moving water and standing on their roofs is that they were prepared, they have actually been prepared for some time.

To me this is just one more example of how life can change in an instant, mother nature has no favorites, and if you are not ready for it she will take you down with everything else.

Preparing for situations like these is actually a good starting point because as you prepare for some of these more localized events, you will be preparing for other events like being off the grid without even knowing it.

The basics of preparing for a natural disaster is based on the same principal as preparing for a national event, you need to start with being able to survive for the first 3 days.

Having the right supplies really depends on what natural disaster is most likely to affect you where you live. I wrote a post about what I have in my 72 hour bag if you are looking for a starting point, but like I said your situation will define your needs.


An earthquake has the potential to tear down a city, and if you are unfortunate enough to have your life affected by an earthquake that caused a city to become chaotic and cut off from the outside world because the highways and airports are destroyed you would need to be able to either sustain yourself until help arrived, or prepared enough to get out on foot, this is all assuming you were lucky enough to survive.

Some areas of this country are more susceptible to earthquakes than others, but that does not mean that because you live in Montana that an earthquake is not possible, although it is very unlikely.

There are other events that could cause the same effects as an earthquake, like bombs, civil war and riots. These are not going to tear a gaping crack through your neighborhood, but they could have you trapped in a certain area and your survival options will be somewhat similar to an earthquake, can you ride the storm out or can you get out of dodge safely.

Earthquake Survival Basics:

  • Look for something sturdy to hide under, Stay away from windows or anything else that could fall and injure you and always cover your head.
  • Stay in one spot until the earthquake is completely over
  • Brace any fixtures like pictures and heavy cabinets to the wall, including water heaters and gas appliances to avoid gas leaks. Make sure everyone knows where the gas shut off is.
  • Always have a first aid kit and emergency supplies available.
  • If you are in a car, try to stay off (or get off safely) bridges and over passes or mountain roads where rock slides could occur.
  • Know the earthquake escape routes of the building you are in.
  • Be aware of the aftermath just because the earthquake is over does not mean all is well, there could be aftershocks, tsunamis or landslides.


Tornado’s are even more localized than earthquakes, tornado’s basically hit the ground, and if you are in the path of that tornado you could have everything you own tossed around for three miles in any direction.

In the event of a tornado you might not have the option to evacuate, you might need to find the safest place in your home and ride out the storm so to speak. Make sure you have a plan and your family knows what to do and where to go in the event that your home is in the path of a tornado.

Tornado Survival Basics

  • Pay attention to your local weather alerts and be aware of what the sky looks like outside your front door.
  • Find the lowest/safest spot in your home away from windows or possible flying debri.
  • Have a safety plan and Practice it with your family so they know how to react quickly.
  • Prepare your home before hand by removing anything that could become a “projectile” broken tree limbs, lawn furniture or hanging plants or fixtures.
  • have any important documents, food, water and supplies stored below ground and protected from the possible tornado damage.
  • Watch for dark clouds that are moving in different directions or forming funnel clouds and large hail.


Hurricanes and floods can cause far more damage than just destroying homes and roads. Following a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident on 11 March 2011. All three cores largely melted in the first three days. The point is that even if you are not worried about an earthquake or a tsunami the cause and effect of one disaster could lead to other disasters.

A hurricane or flood can literally rip a city apart, New Orleans was decimated because of a hurricane which cause faulty levy’s to bust open and flood the city. There were (and still are) many people in New Orleans that were unprepared and reliant on the government for their survival, and as a result when help was slow to come it caused a chain reaction  of other dangerous events and crime.

Flood Survival Basics

  • Have at least 3 days of food and water, or better yet a 72 hour bag ready to go for every member of your family.
  • Have a crank radio or some way to stay up to date about the current situation.
  • Be aware of the escalating situation and be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice.
  • Stay out of the water. 6 inches of fast moving water is all it takes to take a person down.
  • Move to higher ground and get away from rising water.
  • If you are in a car, don’t try to drive through a flooded street, if it is too late, get out of the car and move to higher ground if possible.


Wildfires will devour anything and everything in it’s path, and if that happens to be your home your best option is to get out as quickly as possible. how quickly a fire spreads depends on the weather conditions, wind direction and your climate.

There are some things you can do to mitigate the possible damage to your home or property far before a fire gets to your front door. Don’t just depend on the fire department to save you home and belongings because they will already have their hands full and their first priority is saving lives.

Wildfire Survival Basics

  • Have emergency phone numbers and an evacuation plan in place.
  • If your kids are at school and you are at work you will need a safe location to meet up, have a location picked out before hand.
  • Prepare your home to withstand a wild fire by trimming trees 4 feet above the ground, removing any leaves or branches on the ground that could become tinder.
  • Don’t use materials like wood chips for flower beds around your home, this is just fuel for the fire.
  • Have fire fighting tool ready to go, tools like shovels, rakes and garden hoses that could help prevent a fire from consuming your house.
  • Have a bug out plan. Have everything you need ready to go at a moments notice, including important documents.

It’s Not Just About Doomsday

Preppers are not only preparing for EMP’s or an economic collapse, some of us actually prepare for situations that could directly affect our lives like a tornado tearing down our home, an earthquake that tears a city apart, leaving us with no power and people cut off from the outside world, leaving us to fend for themselves.  Which of these situations is most likely to affect you? How prepared are you if you had to survive a week with what you have in your car or your home?

If you would like more information about how to prepare for natural disasters you can visits sites like the Red Cross and FEMA for more information



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