New York City’s surprise snowfall this morning was a friendly reminder that weather is all too often unpredictable. Though certain locales are more prone to mother nature’s tendencies, it never hurts to be prepared.
- Earthquake. If indoors when earthquake strikes, drop down to your hands and knees and cover your head with your arms. Make sure to stay clear of any areas that have danger of falling objects or broken glass – seeking safety under a sturdy table on desk is ideal. Stay put until the shaking stops! If outdoors, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. Once in the open, get down low (to avoid being knocked down by shaking) and stay until shaking halts.
- Lightning. Ideally you aren’t outside during a thunder and lightning storm, but if you are caught outdoors, avoid seeking shelter near bodies of water, under tall objects (i.e. trees), or next to anything that conducts electricity (i.e. power lines). However, with that in mind, you also should not be the tallest point in a given area, so avoid standing in a field or open park. The best solution is to assume the lightning crouch: squat down with your feet together, head tucked into your chest, and your hands covering your ears. This position doesn’t guarantee saftey, but it make sit easier for a lightning strike to flow over your body rather than through the vital organs. Once you are able to get inside a car or building, avoid contact with any objects that are metal or electrical – including bath tubs and sink faucets! If inside a car, stay away from the metal finishes/linings of your vehicle.
- Hurricane. Unlike the other types of natural disasters on this list, hurricanes are generally more predictable. Thus, key to staying safe ultimately lies in preparation. If there is a hurricane warning in your area (hurricane season is typically from the start of June through the end of November), you should (1) secure your windows and (2) stock up on unperishable foods, medication, basic tools, and water. During the storm, stay away from windows and glassdoors; if there is a flood threat or power loss, turn off electricity and major appliances. Remain indoors until there is an official “all clear” – most of the time, deaths occur after a hurricane rather than during! Those anxious to get outside too soon often come into contact with falling powerlines, unstable trees, and other dangerous debris.
- Flooding: If outdoors, get to higher grounds as as soon as possible – make sure to avoid areas that are subject to flooding in the immediate future. If indoors, get to the highest possible location in your house or building. Turn off utilities and gas if you have time. Like for any other natural disaster, it’s best to identify places to evacuate to before nature strikes.