Natural Disasters: Know Your Region
Get informed. Contact the local chapter of the American Red Cross or Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (to find one near you, go to fema.gov). Ask for information about the types of disasters you may encounter, as well as their timing and severity, especially if you’re new to an area and unaware of potential risks.
Ask questions. Find out about community-response plans, potential sites for emergency shelters, and warning procedures from the Red Cross or FEMA. “Some level of chaos breaks out no matter how small a disaster,” says psychiatrist Joseph Napoli, coauthor of Resiliency in the Face of Disaster and Terrorism: 10 Things to Do to Survive ($15, amazon.com). “The more you know beforehand, the less frantic you’ll feel.”