What is: Disaster Mitigation?
Mitigation is really about reducing or eliminating the amount of damage a disaster can do. This phase focuses on structural and non-structural methods.
Structural means engineering, architecture and construction, really, the planning that goes into making safe roads and buildings etc. Non-structural methods refer to the proper training and education, for example, teaching you to boil water before drinking it after a hurricane.
The aim here is to make it easier for life to return to normal after a disaster. It we have stronger roads and buildings that were never destroyed then we wouldn’t have to waste time and money rebuilding.
Here are examples of mitigation measures that you can take during some common disasters:
- Get familiar with your area – you need to find out if where you live is prone to floods, so that you’re not surprised should one happen.
- Make sure that the main breaker or fuse box in your house is elevated so that it’s higher than potential flood levels.
- Buy flood insurance that will cover the value of your home and its contents.
- Secure items that can fall during an earthquake. For example, light fixtures and cupboards should be nailed soundly to the wall or ceiling, while televisions and computers should never be placed very high up (so that they won’t fall and hit someone).
- Locate safe hiding places both indoors and outdoors.
- Your electrical wiring and gas appliances should always be checked. During earthquakes, these things could come apart and you could be hurt from a gas leak or electrocuted.
- Know where your emergency shelters are and have a sound evacuation plan.
- Remove any loose objects from around your home that could become projectiles during high winds. If these objects cannot be removed, then make sure that they are tied down.
- Have enough food and water to last you and your family for at least a week.
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