10 tips to prepare for a natural disaster


September is National Preparedness Month, and with fires, hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes happening around the county, it’s smart to be prepared. Here are 10 tips to get you ready for an impending natural disaster. 

Photo by: Alina Bradford/CNET

Save Your Memories

Gather all your favorite photos, scan them — if they’re not already digital — and save them on a memory card you can take with you if you evacuate. Make a copy of your memory card and mail it to an out-of-state friend or relative, just in case the original gets lost or damaged.

Photo by: Alina Bradford/CNET

Email photos

Another good idea — just in case — is to email yourself your favorite photos. This way, they will be safe and dry, no matter what. I have a folder in my Gmail account where I save photos that I’ve taken and photos family and friends have emailed me over the years.

Photo by: Screenshot by Alina Bradford/CNET

Get an app

Photo by: Alina Bradford/CNET

Save your phone battery

When your phone is your only lifeline, you need to make sure it will last as long as possible. To save the battery, turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and location services. Here are some more tips.

Photo by: Alina Bradford/CNET

Take portable phone chargers, too

It’s always good to have a couple portable phone chargers ready in case you need to flee. The Zagg ($50) is my charger of choice because it’s reliable, but a charger that you can recharge using the sun, like the Portable Solar Power Bank ($25) or the Anker Solar Charger ($52) are smart choices, too.

Photo by: Alina Bradford/CNET

Make a go bag

Photo by: Alina Bradford/CNET

Save your documents

Get all of your important documents, like birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, bonds and other items and put them in a waterproof storage bag. A zippered gallon freezer bag will work. Keep the bag somewhere where you can grab it and pack it in a moment’s notice. 

Photo by: Alina Bradford/CNET

Take water makers

As many people find out in evacuation circumstances, drinking water becomes a scarcity quickly. You can make sure you have water no matter what by packing devices that can purify rain, river or puddle water for drinking. LifeStraw Go Water Bottle ($45) or the Icon LifeSaver ($150) are good choices. 

Photo by: Alina Bradford/CNET

Keep your car full

If you suspect that evacuation may be in your future, keep your car’s gas tank topped off at all times. During an emergency fuel can become scarce and you may not have time to fill up anyway.

Photo by: Shara Tibken/CNET

Don’t forget your pets

Remember, shelters do not take animals during emergency situations.Your pets will need to evacuate with you, so don’t forget to make a plan for them, too. Keep freeze-dried pet food and a collapsible water bowl in the trunk of your car, for example, so you can have it ready to go. 

Photo by: Alina Bradford/CNET


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