Disaster Relief: How To Help The Impacted And Prepare For Emergencies

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Hurricane cloudsWe all know it’s good to help others and to do our part to protect our planet earth year-round. We remember this, especially during hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tornados, flooding and other natural disasters. In the aftermath, we have an opportunity to assist those impacted.

With power outages and damage to homes, cars and businesses, it could be weeks, months, or even years before people get back to work and life starts back towards normal. The loss is not only felt in personal possessions but also lost paychecks, as many are unable to make money to support themselves in the interim. We must join together in this time of need to offer comfort and disaster relief to our fellow earth friends.

What Can I Do To Help With Disaster Relief?

Many of our readers have been asking how they can help. Many organizations offer ways to can give back and help people get back on their feet as they work to return to a more normal life.

Donate To The Red Cross

Red Cross logoWhile there are many organizations out there, we recommend one of the most well-known, reputable non-profit organizations: The Red Cross. You know exactly where your money is going. You can also make an immediate impact by sending food and workers to provide shelter, meals and emotional support to those impacted by the disaster.

You can donate any amount to disaster relief at the Red Cross Online or give $10 easily via text message by sending the text “REDCROSS” to 90999. And if giving money isn’t in your means or you prefer to make a more personal donation, you can donate blood at a location near you.

Don’t Forget To Donate For Pet Disaster Relief Too

ASPCA logoWhile families are still struggling with the devastation, there are many pets and other animals who suffer from injury, displacement or worse.

We recommend donating to the ASPCA as they have responders on the ground in the affected locations. They can commonly be found transporting animals out of the storm’s path and establishing emergency shelters to care for displaced pets.

Are Natural Disasters The Result Of Climate Change?

While it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of each disaster, many believe that our human impact on climate is at least partially responsible. There are many environmental movies, including Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, that take a look at the myths and facts surrounding climate change. They also explore the implications of our actions if we continue to ignore the issue rather than take action to stop the bleeding.

Let this act as a friendly reminder to recycle, compost and be conscious of the small things you can do to make a difference in keeping our earth alive and well for future generations.

How You Can Prepare For A Disaster

One way to decrease the strain on disaster relief personnel and resources during devastating events is to prepare. There is commonly limited notice before a disastrous event, but there are many ways to get ready for a disaster before it hits.

Whether you have seen it on television or have a conspiracy theorist friends, we all know preppers who are preparing for the end of the world. But, you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to prepare for a disaster. Below you will find out how you can get your family ready for any emergency.

Pack Your Emergency Disaster Preparation Kit

An emergency disaster preparation kit should include first aid items and also any supplies that will help to sustain your family in the event of a disaster. It is advised to have a disaster preparation kit in your vehicle as well as in your home.

The basic emergency disaster kit should include:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for three days minimum. You will need this water for drinking as well as other functions.
  • A three-day supply of non-perishable food per person. Many pre-packaged emergency kits include high-calorie meal replacement bars that are designed to last for long periods. It is crucial to choose foods that are low in salt because high sodium goods will lead you to drink more valuable. Instead, you should pick foods that are filling and high in liquid content. Ensure that all family members will eat food that you choose for your emergency supply and take into consideration any special dietary needs.
  • A hand-crank NOAA weather radio with tone alert. Remember that you will also need batteries.
  • At least one flashlight and battery supply.
  • Waterproof matches.
  • A first aid kit that includes iodine tablets, Band-Aids, elastic bandages, antiseptic cream, cortisone cream, tweezers, burn cream, a cold pack, scissors, gauze pads, antiseptic towelettes, Aspirin, Non-Aspirin pain reliever, petroleum jelly, anti-diarrhea medication, laxative, antacid, Saline to wash eyes, glucose tablets, disposable gloves, a first aid instruction book and any other traditional first aid kit “ingredients.”
  • A whistle can be used to signal for help.
  • Dust masks can be used to filter contaminated air.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and ties can be used for sanitation.
  • Basic tools like pliers and a wrench can be used to turn off utilities.
  • Local maps of the area to seek an evacuation route.
  • A solar power source.
  • A fully charged cell phone with a charger that can run on solar power or batteries.
  • A manual can opener.
  • A thermal blanket.
  • A small supply of mandatory medications such as insulin, cardiac or blood pressure medications.
  • A printed or written copy of emergency contact telephone numbers.
  • Baby formula and diapers.
  • Pet food and water.
  • Money in the form of cash, change or traveler’s checks.
  • Copies of all important documents as well as original passports, birth certificates and insurance policies.
  • A complete change of clothing packed in a bag for each family member.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • Writing utensils and paper.
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to create a sealed shelter.
  • If you have a pet, make sure that you have a carrier to safely confine them in the event of evacuation to a shelter. A crate or other carrier will also make it easier to transport a panicked animal.

Video: Packing Your Emergency Kit

This Fox News segment shows some of these items and how they can be used in an emergency.

Have An Evacuation Route Planned

Make sure that you are aware of the evacuation route for your city. People who live close to the beach will be familiar with signs for local evacuation routes. It is important to know where and how you can escape any natural disaster before it strikes. And if you do leave your car behind and it’s severely damaged, consider donating it to Goodwill.

Pay Attention To Local Weather And Evacuation Alerts

Always pay attention to local weather reports and potentially dangerous storms or other threats that are approaching your area. Many homeowners are afraid to leave their homes because they believe they can ride it out, or they want to stay and protect their possessions.

Unfortunately, in many cases, these people are proven wrong, and by the time they realize that they need to evacuate, it is too late. By paying attention to local about approaching weather fronts and taking their evacuation advice, you can avoid this type of situation. But in some cases, being caught in this situation is unavoidable. In those instances, it is that much more crucial that you have an emergency preparedness kit so that you and your family can hunker down to ride out the storm in a safe area.

Have A Generator And Gasoline Supply To Keep It Running

Having a generator is a significant step. However, for many people living in storm-prone areas, generators can be a worthwhile investment. Generators allow you to keep essential electrical utilities running for as long as you have a power source available for the generator. Better yet, consider getting a solar-powered generator. However, traditional generators are crucial for homes that have a medical need for power (solar may not hold up).

Above All, Don’t Panic

One of the worst, yet most common, things someone does during an emergency is panic. Panicking does not help anyone, so it is vital to take a moment to assess your situation and try to remain calm. Encourage others to stay calm as well, reminding them that panicking is not going to help the situation either. Try to help others whenever you can and keep in mind that everyone else is just as worried as you are.

More Resources On Climate

Read more about climate change, learning about other environmental disasters and climate refugees. You can also learn more about if Americans care about climate and these useful Eco-Friendly living tips to do your part to help prevent these disasters from happening again.

When a natural disaster hits, what can you do to prepare? How will you help those in need?

About The Author:

Sadie is a vegetarian and an avid recycler who loves riding her bike and practicing yoga. She is passionate about the planet, conserving life’s precious resources and making the world a better place for generations to come. A big fan of up-cycling, Sadie loves yard sales and vintage stores to find new uses for old things. She loves to cook, clean and enjoy the many parks and outdoor spaces in DC where she currently resides with her husband.

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Amar
What is the role of students in any disasters
Stacie
Thanks for sharing these tips! I am going to Puerto Rico for a wedding and want to help in anyway I can after they were hit with Irma and Maria.