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Surviving a Natural Disaster

Hurricanes Irene and Sandy packed a wallop as they traveled up the eastern seaboard a few years ago, and recent tornadoes in western Massachusetts, Revere, and Worcester were the the first to hit the area in decades. Here are some important tips from the American Red Cross—often first to respond to disaster victims’ needs—on preparing for emergencies.

Get a kit

Keep basic supplies in an emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you if you must evacuate:

  • Water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries 
  • First-aid kit 
  • Medications and medical items 
  • Multi-purpose tool 
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items 
  • Copies of personal documents, like birth certificates and insurance policies 
  • Cell phones and chargers 
  • Family and emergency contact information 
  • Extra cash 
  • Emergency blanket(s) 
  • Map(s) of the area

Make a plan

  • Meet with family and household members and discuss how to prepare and respond to your area’s most likely emergencies. 
  • Choose two places to meet —one right outside your home and a second outside your immediate neighborhood. 
  • Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. 
  • Decide where you would go in an evacuation and what route to take. 
  • Practice an evacuation of your home twice a year. 
  • Plan ahead for pets.

Be informed

  • Learn what disasters or emergencies are likely to occur in your area, and arm yourself with information for dealing with them.
  • Identify media sources of disaster-related information. 
  • Know the difference between weather alert watches and warnings and what actions to take in each. 
  • Know how to protect yourself from disasters where you travel. 
  • Make sure at least one member of your family is trained in first aid and CPR and knows how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). 
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