Before a Hazard Impact

Prevention: These are the measures that should be taken in order to prevent natural hazards or man-made phenomena from causing potential disasters or emergency situations.

Mitigation: These are measures that should be taken to reduce the potential for loss of life and property.

Preparedness: Measures taken to ensure that people and property are ready for the impact of a disaster.

BEFORE:

Store water for drinking and sanitation in every possible container – bathtubs, buckets, plastic containers and any other suitable vessel. Drinking water should be kept in bottles with secure caps on them. Uncovered containers should be treated with common household bleach (eight (8) drops per gallon) every three (3) or four (4) days to prevent contamination. Do not drink this water. To reduce the breeding of mosquitoes, cover tubs and buckets with plastic sheets when possible.

Invest in two (2) or more large plastic camping coolers. These will become your refrigerators. Before the storm comes, fill several one-gallon plastic containers with water (it need not be especially clean) and place them in the freezer. These will become your jumbo ice cubes for use in the coolers. If you leave unused, frozen containers in the freezer, they will last for up to ten (10) days or even more. Remember, ice sold at grocery outlets and other places will become the most in-demand commodity in your community, and may be rationed.

Remove all loose debris from your yard. Innocuous pieces of galvanise and wood and other material can become lethal missiles when the wind blows strong. Trim trees and shrubbery to get rid of dead or dying branches (which can also fly like cannonballs through the air) and thin trees wherever possible to allow the wind to pass through them more easily. This can save your trees and prevent uprooting as well.

Stock up on batteries and safety candles. Have at least one sturdy flashlight for every member of the family, if possible, and enough batteries to be able to replace them every other day. Camping lights with flourescent bulbs are ideal. They provide enough light to illuminate a large room and the batteries are far longer-lasting than in conventional torches.

Stock up on canned and packaged goods, fresh fruits and legumes, Fruit Juices (in cans or boxes), vegetables, meat, fish, fruit, evaporated or ultra-pasteurised milk, pasta, crackers and candy bars, bottled beverages (including water), cereals, sliced bread treated with preservatives and packaged snacks are all recommended. The rule is to have enough food and provisions to last seven (7) days for each member of the family and your household pets. Buy food that you and your family enjoy; under the stress of a disaster, there is no need to be unhappy with dinner.

Move all electronic equipment (stereos, TVs, VCRs, computers and components) into a closet on high shelves and wrap each piece with plastic – large garbage bags are ideal. Keep a battery-operated radio on hand for news and information and entertainment.