I just got back from watching San Andreas with my mom and the fiance.
As a nerd I can honestly say that I went for the special effects and NOT The Rock (although he did a good job in this movie). The effects were amazing though and the movie did a fabulous job of depicting San Francisco.
It’s silly, but as I was sitting there watching the chaos of buildings crumbling under a 9+ magnitude earthquake, I started think about natural disasters and how best to be prepared, while home and while traveling to new locations. I live on the San Andreas fault and the movie was a quick reminder that “Damn, I have so got to make an earthquake kit!”.
Even though it’s impossible to be fully prepared for natural disasters, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when you are off seeing the world:
Know the season in which you’ll be visiting.
Is it tsunami season? Is the area expecting record high heat? Is it the time of year for flooding? While you can’t predict extreme weather conditions having a general idea can come in handy and it helps you to be prepared.
Pay attention to advisories and alerts for the area you’ll be visiting.
These alerts can be in the form of weather advisories, crime alerts, notice to travelers and more. The US government has a great website to look up alerts before you leave and will actually alert you via text when something major happens in your location.
Know where the embassies are.
Not that you’ll need them but if shit jumps off in the form of civil unrest, major disaster, etc heading to your country’s embassy is usually the best bet. I usually save the location on Google Maps so that even without a data connection I know where it is.
Make sure someone knows where you are and has your itinerary.
My mom always gets on my case about this one. I usually forget to give my family the details on where the fiance and I are traveling, what flight were on, etc. Nowadays I use TripIt. I can quickly add email addresses of family members so they can watch my itinerary.
Consider paying for a data plan while traveling.
I tend to just use wifi when we travel but on our last trip to Italy my finance was able to get flight alerts when the Rome Airport was shut down which helped us immensely. Unfortunately a lot of the cool features from TripIt and even airline alerts won’t get to you without a data connection, so paying for the service may be the way to go.
For the love of all that is holy: if you’re near the ocean and see the tide going out fast, head for high ground.
Don’t think about it. Just go. It may not be common knowledge unless you leave near the ocean but this is a really good indication that a tsunami is coming.
Pay attention to what’s going on around you.
If anything, I think this is one of the tips that can help you the most. Being aware in this world of constant distractions is extremely important. When walking, keep your head up and look around instead of being glued to your phone. Be aware of large groups forming for protests or other civil disturbances. Being aware of how locals are acting, how they are preparing for situations, etc can be a great indicator of what to expect.
What tips do you have on being prepared while traveling or at home?