Life-saving facts that could help in almost any natural disaster, from fires to hurricanes

hurricane harvey

Hurricane Michael, which is closing in on the Florida Panhandle with sustained winds of nearly 150 mph, could be the worst storm to hit the area in decades.

The National Hurricane Center said Michael could produce a storm surge of up to 14 feet in some coastal areas, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties.

Michael comes weeks after Hurricane Florence struck the US East Coast and produced record rainfall in North Carolina.

Last year was a record-breaking year for natural disasters as well. In August and September 2017, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria left behind a high death toll, drowned homes, and destroyed power lines. Hundreds of people died in earthquakes around the world, from Mexico to the Iran-Iraq border, and nearly 1,400 people were killed during monsoon rains in South Asia.

Fires devastated locations around the world, perhaps most notably in California, where the government spends over 10 times as much money on fighting wildfires as it did 20 years ago.

Many of these disasters were caused by elevated temperatures on land and at sea, and climate experts expect these events to keep getting worse.

While people may be able to heed their city’s evacuation notices or take advantage of evacuation help, some situations are unexpected and make this impossible. Only three in 10 Americans say they have an emergency preparedness kit and 42% say they are not at all prepared for a disaster, according to a recent poll from Business Insider partner MSN.

Here are some tips for staying safe during a natural disaster:

SEE ALSO: Natural disasters set records around the world in 2017 — these were the worst

SEE ALSO: People in these 16 states are woefully unprepared for the next natural disaster

Avoid using contaminated water for drinking or personal hygiene.

Drinking water may not be available or safe to use, particularly after floods, which can contaminate well water with chemicals, human sewage, and livestock waste.

You should only use bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene.

The best way to make water safer is by boiling it, which will kill disease-causing bacteria and parasites. If boiling isn’t possible, you can use a disinfectant like unscented household chlorine bleach, iodine, or chlorine dioxide tablets.

Keep in mind that water contaminated with toxic chemicals won’t ever become safe to use through boiling or the application of disinfectants.

Minimize sweating if you’re low on water.

If you are running out of water, take steps to minimize how much you sweat. In an interview with National Geographic, Weather Underground co-founder Jeff Masters recommended reducing activity and sheltering from the sun.

Masters said people should also cover their skin with loose, lightweight clothing that can slow evaporation and loss of water. Wearing a hat, sunglasses, and gloves helps as well.

Keep enough non-perishable food for at least three days.

Power outages could last for several days following a disaster, so make sure …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Science

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