1. Know what you’ll face
Part of preparation is knowing precisely what kind of disasters you may face and knowing what to do in each situation. Living in Montana? You probably don’t need to worry about hurricanes. California? Better be prepared for an earthquake, but don’t overlook your chances of severe weather or pandemic flu. If you can’t think about all the probabilities, here’s a handy list from the Red Cross. If you think you live in a disaster-free zone, you’re probably wrong.
2. Learn your area’s evacuation routes and shelter locations
The time to figure these things out isn’t while a hurricane is bearing down on your home, or after a tsunami warning has been issued. Evacuations are actually pretty common, so it’ll serve you well to understand the details ahead of time. You should also know the escape routes from your own home, including the a lot of obscure ones, like out that ground-level window in your bathroom. If you have children, draw them a map and post it close to their door. You should also set up where your family can regroup if you need to evacuate your house. Pick one location right outside your home, …