Emergencies occur without warning. They are sudden and unexpected, which makes them more dangerous. If you are not prepared, an emergency can cause much more damage and harm.

Many people do not realize that numerous types of emergencies can happen to them. Unfortunately, emergencies are much more common than any of us realize. 

Even though we may not be able to foresee when an emergency may occur, we can take steps to prepare for a variety of emergencies. Preparation allows us to respond safely and effectively to numerous types of emergencies.

1.  Severe Weather

Severe weather can occur anywhere at any time. It can take you by surprise and put you in danger of injury or death. Examples of severe weather include blizzards, windstorms, hurricanes, flooding, and thunderstorms.

Depending on where you live, you may not be prepared for all severe weather emergencies. For example, people in the Midwest are generally prepared for tornadoes, but they do not prepare for hurricanes. However, many of the steps to prepare for severe weather are the same or similar for all types of emergency regarding weather issues.

Ways you can prepare for severe weather conditions include:

  • Create an emergency contact plan for your family.
  • Set up emergency weather alerts on your mobile phone, computer, and other electronic devices.
  • Secure or remove outdoor furnishings and items to avoid them from blowing around and causing damage.
  • Purchase a battery-operated or crank-operated radio.
  • Check to ensure that you have adequate insurance to cover severe weather damage.

Always practice your safety plans, including getting to a safe place quickly and how to remain safe during and after the storm.

2.  Earthquakes

Earthquakes are impossible to predict, so you need to be prepared for them at all times. Even if your area has never experienced an earthquake, it could happen. Knowing the safety measures to take during and after an earthquake can reduce the risk of severe injuries and harm.

Ways to prepare for earthquakes include:

  • Secure loose furniture to walls to prevent tipping hazards.
  • Be familiar with earthquake safety plans for your workplace and child’s school or daycare.
  • Designate a place in your home to shelter-in-place until the earthquake ends.
  • Practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” procedures with your family.
  • Expect aftershocks to follow the main earthquake.
  • Always have an emergency kit prepared for all types of emergencies. 

NYC Emergency Management has a list of resources for earthquake preparedness available to the public on its website.

3.  Fires

Fires include both household fires and wildfires. A fire can start from a variety of causes, including lightning, defective products, intentional acts, and many other situations. It is impossible to predict when a fire might break out. 

Therefore, it is important to prepare for fires now. Steps you can take to prepare for fires include:

  • Install and maintain smoke detectors throughout your home
  • Create and practice an escape plan for getting out of your home in case of fire
  • Keep and maintain fire extinguishers throughout your home and in all vehicles
  • Practice fire-safe habits, such as staying in the kitchen while cooking, not leaving unattended candles burning, cleaning and inspecting fireplaces, etc.
  • Designate several escape routes in case a wildfire breaks out near your home and you must evacuate

Thousands of people sustain severe injuries caused by fires each year. Knowing how to treat burn injuries is another way to prepare for these types of emergencies. 

4.  Power Outages

Power outages are caused by many things, including several types of emergency, such as extreme weather conditions and natural disasters. Because power outages occur suddenly, power outages are the types of emergency to prepare for right now. 

Safety tips for preparing for power outages include:

  • Have a secondary power source, especially if you or a family member has life-saving equipment that requires a power source
  • Always have food in your home that does not spoil or require cooking
  • Place flashlights in each room of your home and have extra batteries on hand
  • Make sure you have a battery-operated or crank-operated radio
  • Have a battery backup for your cell phones that is always charged
  • Write down emergency numbers

Power outages during severe heat or cold temperatures can be deadly. Have a plan and designate a place you can go if your power goes out during extreme temperatures. 

5.  Car Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of unintentional injury in the United States. Over three million people sustain injuries in car accidents each year. Additionally, traffic accidents can be deadly. 

All kinds of car accidents can be deadly, with thousands of people being killed each year in traffic accidents. Traffic accidents are common reasons for wrongful death claims. Traffic crashes are also common reasons for personal injury claims.

Even though you can get help after a car accident to file an accident claim, it is best to prevent accidents from happening whenever possible. Safety tips that can reduce the risk of a car accident or reduce the risk of severe injuries in a traffic accident include:

It can also be beneficial to check your car insurance coverage to ensure you have sufficient optional insurance coverage to help in the event you are involved in an accident, such as uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, and PIP.

6.  Cyberattacks

A cyberattack may not be on the top of your list of the types of emergency to prepare for, but it is essential to protect your privacy online. Cyberattacks are assaults on one or more computer systems. The intent is to access information contained on the computer or the computer network.

The consequences of cyberattacks can be devastating for consumers and companies. The consequences of a data breach or cyberattack can include identity theft, credit card fraud, and access to money in banking accounts and other financial accounts.

Ways that you can reduce the risk of cyberattacks and cyber theft include:

  • Using and updating antivirus software
  • Keeping all software programs you use updated and current
  • Practicing password security by using strong passwords and changing passwords frequently
  • Use passwords to secure laptops, cell phones, or other electronics devices
  • Do not save your credit card information at online retailers and confirm a retailer’s security measures and encryption before entering personal information, including payment information
  • Never use a USB port for a source you do not know because it can be infected with malware
  • Be cautious who you accept as friends on social media
  • Be careful when using apps, especially apps that are not updated periodically for cybersecurity
  • Use multi-factor and two-factor authentication

There are many other tips for preventing cyberattacks and what to do in the event of a cyberattack at ReadyGov.

7.  Pandemics

COVID-19 showed us the value of preparing for all types of emergencies. Pandemics like the coronavirus are types of emergencies to prepare for now so that you are not caught off guard. 

While you could have more time to prepare for a pandemic, depending on where you live and how quickly the disease spreads, it is best to take some general steps now so that you are prepared for these types of emergencies.

Safety tips for pandemics include:

  • Having a supply of PPE (hand sanitizes, gloves, masks, etc.) on hand
  • Plan your grocery store trips so that you can limit the time spent in crowds 
  • Purchase extra food and non-perishable items to avoid multiple trips to the store
  • Ensure that you have over-the-counter medications in case you become ill
  • Businesses should have plans for pandemic-related business interruptions and insurance

ReadyGov and the CDC have resources online for pandemic preparedness and safety during an outbreak.

One Last Tip for Preparing for Emergencies

This emergency preparedness tip applies to almost every type of emergency. Everyone needs an emergency kit for their home and vehicles. 

Each person in the household should have an emergency kit with clothing, medications, and other supplies that are relevant to that person’s needs. ReadyGov has checklists and information for building emergency kits, including kits for your pets.