There are many Survival Preparedness lessons to be learned from severe  natural disasters.  There is no way to predict when and where these disasters may or will occur.  They may  happen in remote areas, or the may happen in densely populated cities.  We do know that they will happen and in many times without warning.

One thing for sure is that we can prepare ourselves to be able to reduce the impact of the disaster. This article highlights a number of the major global natural disasters on record.   It also provides some insights how we can be better prepared resulting from the learning of these natural disasters.

Natural disasters happen in very corner of the globe. Next to a war, they are humanity’s biggest fear.  Communities and individuals do prepare for these potential events. They cannot be anticipated, nor can they be predicted accurately. The truth of the matter, if they were predictable we could avoid the size of the impact. Natural disasters wouldn’t present as big a threat to us all.

Disasters have become more severe, at least by the number of people they impact, than ever before.  At any one time, close to 40 million people around the world are displaced from their home due to a natural disaster. This mere fact should serve as a great reminder that nature, not the humans, are in charge.  This does not mean that humans are helpless in the face of such great danger. On the contrary, people at risk of natural disaster can make sure that if and when natural disaster strikes, their chances of surviving are pretty solid by preparing and taking precautions.

This does not mean that humans are helpless in the face of such great danger. On the contrary, people in danger of natural disaster can make sure that if and when natural disaster strikes, their chances of surviving are solid by preparing and taking precautions.

Being Survival Prepared is the most important things to tackle any type of natural disasters. In 99% of the cases, the people who take preparation seriously are the ones who walk out significantly least affected.

Major US Natural Disasters

They say that the history is the best way to learn. This is also true for natural disasters. There are many hundreds of recorded natural disasters from which valuable survival preparedness lessons have been learned and now been implement survival techniques and emergency disaster plans.

The best way to get prepared is by looking at some of the most famous historical natural disasters.  We have rated the major 10 natural disasters that ever happened on US soil by the number of people impacted, the number of deaths and the financial damage that resulted.

10. San Francisco 1906

It was in April 1906 when an earthquake with the magnitude of 7.8 hit the city if San Francisco. The massive earthquake not only ruined much of the city, but it caused a massive fire that burned almost everything else left standing. An estimated 3000 people dies, and 400,00 people left homeless.

From this day, San Franciso’s building regulations have been changing to ensure building are less likely to collapse in an earthquake and kill people.

9. The Big Burn in 1910

It was on the territory of both Idaho and Montana in 1910 when one of the biggest forest wildfires in the history of US happened. The Big Burn as it was known took the lives of 85 people, and it devastated thousands of acres of wood. According to the historians, this wildfire traveled at speeds of up to  70mph due to the extraordinary winds.  The horrific wind gusts were continuously changing directions. It was almost impossible to know where it would go next.

8. The Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918

Even though it started out as an ordinary flu, it turned into a pandemic that no one expected, taking the lives of 650.000 Americans.  The epidemic kill somewhere between 30 to 40 million people worldwide.   This virus started to take momentum in Europe during World War 1. It is believed that the virus had originated in China.  This deadly virus appeared just like a common cold and became worse and worse.

This virus was almost impossible to avoid in this period.

7. Tri-State tornado in 1925

On March 18, 1925  the Tri-State Tornado killed over 695 people and injuring over 3000 people and caused havoc spanning 235 miles and up to 2 miles wide.   This was the deadliest and longest twister ever. It raged throughout three states any only lasting 3.5 hours. It left over 15.000 families homeless.

6. New England’s hurricane in 1938

During 1938, there wasn’t any available satellite or radar technology.  There was no early warning systems.  The New England hurricane hit almost without warning. New England’s hurricane killed almost 700 people and flattened 63.000 homes.

5. The Great Alaskan Earthquake in 1964

What began as a 9.2 magnitude earthquake soon turned into massive tsunamis that hit the coastline from British Columbia to California. The tsunamis alone claimed 115 lives and over 1300 casualties.

This earthquake is the second largest earthquake ever recorded.    The epicenter was off the coast of Alaska. It lasted a mere 4 minutes but cause horrific destruction in a 1 million square mile radius.

The damage billed was in excess of $500 million  (1964 figure).

4. The Super Tornado Outbreak in 1974

There were three separate weather patterns that combined into something never seen before, which resulted with 148 twisters that raged in 13 states. The twisters were responsible for the destruction of over 10 thousand homes along with taking the lives of 330 people.

3. Mount St. Helens Eruption in 1980

It started as an earthquake and turned into massive volcano eruption. The eruption was 100 stories high and spread close to 10 miles wide with speed of some 700 MPH. The eruption claimed the lives of 75 people.

2. Super Storm of the Century in 1993

Some call it the storm of the century while others called it the super storm. In any case, it was one of the biggest storms ever seen on US soil. The super storm consisted of constant blizzards, a crippling snow, tornadoes, coastal flooding and extremely cold temperatures.  It was a cyclonic storm of devasting proportions.    Over 300 people died in the US and Canada. It impact on 26 states in the US and Canada.

The damage was to the extreme with the power grid being disable, people losing homes, container ships being sunk, floods occurring near river, tidal surges impacting coast homes,  cars being blown-off highways and major infrastructure being damaged.

1. Hurricane Katrina

Everyone remembers Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that it caused in New Orleans and surrounding areas. Close to 2,000 people died and an estimated 40.000 houses were flattened during the eight-hour rage of the storm. There was no electrical power or clean running water for days and weeks after the hurricane struck. The damage bill was over $108 billion dollars.   Katrina impacted much of the eastern coast of the US, starting from Florida then moving north.  New Orleans took the brunt of the storm.  It was where most of the damages occurred when the sea levee was damaged and the consequential  sea surge flooded into 80% of the city

It is the third largest US Cyclone. This natural disaster has been the US costliest storm in history.

The Survival Preparedness Lessons We Learned

From these storms and natural disasters, we as a society, have come a long way.  We are now taking significantly more effort and diligence to avoid being impacted by such devasting natural disasters.  The prevention activities that we have undertaken include;

  • Improving the building codes to handle earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricane, and cyclone
  • Built better and stronger infrastructure to withstand these storms
  • Improved Emergency and Disaster Response teams
  • Improve forecasting to allow more time to buckle up
  • Improve community awareness of potential disaster
  • Better communication networks
  • Better personal Survival Plans

One of  most important lesson we take away from these past natural disasters is to have detailed survival preparedness plan.  Not only just having a survival preparedness plan but having a plan that is well considered, actioned and  rehearsed.

There is no telling when Mother Nature can strike and cause devastation.

As an individual, we have a responsibility to get prepared.   There is over a 30% probability that you and your family will be involved a natural disaster within the next decade.  Being prepared is not  as onerous as you may think.  Yes, there is plenty of things to take into consideration, but this site does provide valuable information to you. A great article to start off is Emergency Supply for a Disaster.

One of the first actions should always be to prepare a disaster shelter (Read our Article on selecting a Shelter).  This may be your home or a separate dwelling.    Many of the newer building are inherently designed to meet many of the potential naturally occurring disasters.

Nothing is more important than having a safe-haven where one can avoid the initial devastation.  Many of the early disaster shelters were built before the 1970’s below the surface.  They were strong enough to endure all sorts of disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, twisters and so on.   The fundamental reasons they were built below the surface was due to the basic building materials available at the time.  With technology advances, this has changed dramatically in the robustness and strength of homes.  In the early days, the disaster shelter needs to be in a close range of the house, so people can use it in case of an emergency.

Often it is easier to get out of the way of the disaster, especially cyclones, tornadoes and hurricanes.  By travelling as little as 100 miles, you could be in a safe region. Having transportation in important so can use it for evacuation in the case of emergency.  At times, fast evacuation is more important than finding a shelter and waiting for the storm to come.

Tip, never let you fuel tank fo below half full.

With the advent of a natural disaster, food, clean water, medical aid, first aid kits and other stock usually either run out of stock or become unavailable for a short period.   Keeping a survival kit with survival provisions should available in the disaster shelter.

Last but not least, it is important to have the ability to communicate with the authorities and other rescuing services.  Having a mobile phone and radio will become an essential in the case of any emergency or disaster.