Ten Disaster Myths That Could Cost You Your Life

Ten Disaster Myths That Could Cost You Your Life

Different disasters require a different response. And every type of disaster has myths associated with it. Falling into the trap of believing those myths could cost you your life.

Destroyed houses

From the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti (316,000 dead)… to the March 2011 tsunami in Japan (129,225 buildings collapsed)… to Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 ($75 billion damage) – we’ve seen regular reminders that big disasters can strike anywhere, anytime.

Every disaster highlights the importance of being prepared for anything. They also give us a chance to learn from the mistakes of others.

Ten Deadly Myths about Disasters

Let’s put these myths to rest once and for all.

Myth #1: Tornados can’t cross rivers.

Reality: Tornados can cross rivers and they will. Driving like a bat out of Hades to get on the other side of the nearest river won’t save you. All it does is put you at risk of a high-speed car accident.

Myth #2: Tornados only happen in certain area, such as the South.

Reality: Tornados can happen anywhere there are thunderstorms. A June 2011 tornado outbreak ripped through Massachusetts and Maine. And Canada averages 80 tornadoes a year. So, you should learn the warning signs. A sudden darkening of the sky, a loud rushing sound, and clouds that rotate in a circular pattern are all things you should take notice of – these are signs of the conditions that make a tornado possible.

Myth #3: During a big storm, open your windows a little to equalize the pressure.

Reality: Whether you’re in a tornado, a hurricane, or a big thunderstorm, opening the windows is a bad idea. Being by the window is one of the most dangerous places to be during a violent storm. Don’t waste time messing with the windows. Take shelter in your basement or in a small, interior room like a bathroom or closet.

Myth #4: During an earthquake, stand in a doorway.

Reality: Most doorways are lightly constructed – if something is going to give way in your home, a doorway is a likely candidate. If you’re standing in the doorway when it collapses, it could very well kill you. When an earthquake strikes, if you’re indoors, get beneath the nearest table. If you’re outside, move to the nearest open space as quick as you can. Often – if you can’t move to a safe spot very quickly – the safest bet during an earthquake is to stay put unless you are near something that is likely to fall on you.

Myth #5: After a disaster, if you’re trapped under fallen debris, shout as much as possible.

Reality: This myth is almost true. If you’re trapped, you want to make as much noise as possible, but shouting could cause you to inhale dust or toxins that may make you sick. Bang on pipes or whistle instead. If you feel you have to shout to get the attention of your would-be rescuers, try to cover your mouth with a piece of clothing to help filter out dust and debris.

Myth #6: If you don’t live in a flood zone, a flood can’t happen to you.

Reality: Plenty of floods happen to people living outside of designated flood areas. Even if you think a flood is unlikely, make sure you know where the nearest high ground is, and have a plan to escape there should a flood ever strike.

Myth #7: Government agencies are well equipped to respond to a chemical or biological attack.

Reality: The truth is that there are so many possible biological or chemical agents that government responders will be hard-pressed to identify what is making people sick, and that means that they won’t be able to offer the kind of help you might expect. The best thing you can do is take steps now to prepare so that you can remain in your home indefinitely should such an attack occur.

Myth #8: The biggest issues from a biological attack are centered on treating patients.

Reality: Even if you don’t get sick, a biological attack can turn your world upside down. A biological attack has the potential cause a high level of disruption to food supplies and the availability of medical services. It can also disrupt the economy and the infrastructure if many people choose to stay at home in order to avoid getting sick.

Myth #9: Epidemics are unavoidable after a natural disaster.

Reality: Epidemics do happen after disasters, but they are preventable. To protect you and your family, do everything you can to keep your living environment sanitary. Wash your hands often. And make sure you have safe drinking water available. You can prepare ahead of time by stocking up on iodine tablets or colloidal silver that you can use to treat contaminated water so that it is safe to drink.

And The Top Disaster Myth
That’s Threatening You and Your Family…

The single most dangerous – and most common – disaster myth applies to every kind of disaster there is… whether it’s an earthquake, a flood, a hurricane, an epidemic, a terrorist attack or anything else you can think of.

And that myth is that a disaster won’t happen to you, or that if it does it will be so bad there’s no point in preparing for it. Ask the residents of Boston. Terrorism is alive and well and with it the potential to wreak widespread social havoc affecting food supplies and other essentials.

Better to be ready for anything and never be affected by a disaster, than to be caught flat-footed when disaster strikes.