Five Preparedness Lessons Learned from Recent Natural Disasters

In the last 30 years, the number of disasters in the world has been increased several times, as well as the devastating impact they have on society and the environment. Accidents in various forms – fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes – can happen at any time and without warning. The consequences of disasters can be substantially reduced if people are well informed and aware of ways to prevent the disasters. Every disaster leaves serious damages behind, but also the life lessons you learn. You learned the procedures and steps of behaviour in these moments, which are of great importance. Here are a few lessons you learned after every natural disaster.


Natural fires may be caused by natural phenomena such as thunder strike (this type is the rarest) or from the tropical heat. Forest fires are fires in the open air, which spread quickly and affect forest areas and other vegetation – shrubs, undergrowth, grass near agricultural areas, uninhabited and inaccessible areas. Special weather conditions, such as high temperatures, strong winds and dry weather, affect the emergence and spread of fire. In such situations, the best thing you can do is to call the fire department and give them precise information on the fire so they could intervene as quickly as possible. Such fires can spread rapidly if there is wind and thus include homes, crops and cause more damage. For evacuation, get ready to meet with dense smoke and heat, so if you have time, put on shoes with thick soles, wear a coat and tie required rags and towels soaked in water over your nose and mouth, as a source of oxygen for some time.


Floods are frequent natural disasters that may be of local scale – if affect the settlement or less community, or large scale – if it affect entire river basins and many municipalities. The time of developing flood varies from case to case. Floods can happen everywhere. Even very small streams, rivers, canals for drainage of rain or channels which are usually acting harmless, can cause large-scale flooding. Track information through radio, television and via the Internet. Be aware that flash flooding is possible. If there is a risk, immediately move to higher floors of the house. Do not wait for instructions to do this. Keep away from electrical cables. Avoid areas that are known for landslides and mudslides, and do not interfere with rescue teams in their work.


An earthquake is caused by the movement of tectonic plates, the movement of the Earth’s crust or the occurrence of volcanoes. The results are tremors due to the release of large energy and their strength depends on several factors. An earthquake cannot be predicted, but we can learn how to protect ourselves. It is crucial to keep cool mind and do not panic, because panic can be fatal. If you happen to be in the lower areas, when you feel the first tremors exit to the free space away from trees, street lights, electrical cables and objects, and if you are on the upper floors, stand next to the load-bearing walls, under door frames, the inner corner of a room, under the table, and protect your eyes with your hands. Step back away from the glass surfaces and walls. If you are in the car, do not stop on bridges or underpass, stop outdoors and stay in the car. And what is very important, be aware that some earthquakes are just the initial earthquakes that may occur shortly following the stronger one.


Tornado is a violent storm characterized by reversing a cloud in the shape of a funnel. In countries where tornadoes are a common thing, there is the National Agency for Emergency Situations giving advice to citizens how to behave before, during and after any natural or man-made disasters. Before the tornado, it is best to listen to media reports about the storm, and then you should follow the changes in the sky: the gathering of clouds and their color (if the color is dark green, which is the main indicator). There are also weaker winds that are recognized as the announcement of a tornado. If a tornado already reached your environment, it is best to go to a shelter prepared in advance, which will contain enough food and drink supplies. If you do not have one nearby, then you should go to the basement, bathroom, a room with a minimum of windows and doors. If you’re outdoors, it is best to find any kind of dent in the earth, lie down and cover up with hands. In case you are in the car, leave it immediately and seek shelter or a nearby one-storey house.


Landslides are movements of earth, rocks and sediments. They activate and develop rapidly when water is stored in the soil as a result of strong and heavy rains, groundwater, snow melting and inadequate exploitation of the land. They can occur as a result of poor treatment of the land, especially in mountainous areas, canyons, or near coasts. Pay attention to the strange noises that may be indicators of launching landslides or avalanches – such as breaking trees and the like. Consider leaving the affected area on condition that it can be safely done. Move away from the landslide zone, since that this is the best protection. Make sure that you check the ground and environment prior to building a house.

These are very unpleasant and difficult moments. The nature has always something to say, this way or another. However, you must be prepared to respond to its every question. It is always better to be safe, then to be sorry.

Robert Foster is a 30-year-old fitness instructor, nature survivalistand a part-time blogger for He spends most of his free time outdoors and if you can’t find him for a couple of days, he’s probably somewhere on a biking, cycling or a hiking holiday again.

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