You don’t need to be stranded on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean to send out a distress call. Though we hope it’ll never be the case, a natural disaster caused by anything from harsh weather patterns to tectonic plate shifts could put you in a compromising position at any moment.
As Adrenalists, we pride ourselves on always being prepared for the worst case scenario. Though we get a rush from tempting the heavy hands of fate, we’re survivalists at our cores and we spend much time thinking about safety precautions when it comes to our extreme endeavors.
But we sometimes take for granted the everyday readiness techniques needed to respond to the most extreme natural occurrences out of our control. This shouldn’t be. Knowing how to survive an earthquake is just as important as properly rigging a bungee jump.
Here is your extreme weather survival guide.
There are two levels to hurricane survival. First is the preparation step. CBS News’ Hurricane Survival Tips include trimming trees or brush around your home that, under the duress of heavy winds, might crash through your walls or windows; tying down loose items (for similar reasons) and investing in impact resistant glass.
Step two is post-storm survival. Even if you took all the necessary precautions to protect your home from damage, a violent hurricane will be ruinous. Power lines will be down, supermarkets will be closed and hospitals will be overflowing with injured patients.
You’ll need to be self-sufficient in a storm’s aftermath. The Weather Channel recommends keeping a hurricane survival kit in your home, including a seven-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day), non-perishable food, baby formula, diapers, a manual can opener and a first aid kit.
Tornados may just be the most haunting of all natural disasters. They’re to land what tsunamis are to sea — visually horrifying symbols of plundering sure to leave destruction in their path. But that doesn’t mean you’re helpless against them.
Nationwide recommends keeping a storm kit on hand with many of the same items mentioned in the hurricane kit above. If you hear a tornado warning, move indoors as quickly as possible and, if you’re able, hide out in a basement, away from windows or potential projectiles (a strong tornado will blow a Chevy through the side of your home as if it were a feather).
If you’re unable to access a subterranean space or you’re stranded outside, find a ditch or low lying area and lie with your face down and your arms over the back of your head to protect it from any potentially harmful flying objects. Move far away from anything not cemented to the ground, including trees and cars.
In terms of aftermath supplies, earthquake survival kits are similar to hurricane and tornado outfits and, as is the case with those, experts recommend keeping on hand plenty of non-perishable food, water, medicine, first aid materials and cash.
If you live in an area where quakes are common, you should anchor any heavy items like mirrors or bookcases to the wall and never sleep with anything heavy above your head. Wall-hung items should also never be higher than the head of the shortest member of your household.
During the earthquake, you’ll want to stay far away from anything likely to collapse or fall over (including overpasses, buildings, telephone poles and electrical wires). Experts recommend crouching under a desk or table, away from windows or any material likely to shatter.
Weather forecasts are given for a reason. Listen to them. If you live in an area prone to wildfires and you turn on your TV to hear your weatherperson explaining how temperatures are high, humidity is low and the undergrowth is dry, you should be on high alert.
In case of a wildfire, it’s very important to be familiar with safe areas around the outside of your home (or wherever you are) to which you could flee to avoid the flames. Safe areas might be small lakes, rivers or large open expanses away from brush and vegetation likely to ignite.
If you find yourself trapped and there’s no safe zone in sight, head to the lowest point on the ground. Lying in a ditch often allows heat to pass overhead. When possible, find shelter in an area that’s already been burned out and is unlikely to reignite. Just beware: burned out surfaces may still be scorching hot.