Let’s Get Prepared! Day 1 – Assess Your Risk

It’s Day One of our “Let’s Get Prepared!” Clever Girl Organizing Challenge.  We’ll spend the next 30 days focusing on the steps you can take to help you and your family become and stay prepared for emergencies and disasters that may come your way.

In our first phase, we’re focusing on “Assess Your Risk”.  

Prep Challenge - Assess Your Risk


Challenge 1: Research Your Risk of Emergencies or Disasters.

There are two ways to think about this: 

  1. What are the risks inherent to my geography? 
  2. What are the risks inherent to my home itself?


Today, we’re tackling Question 1. Your Geography.

We all have risks related to our geography — our climate, the geology of the land, hazards around us, manmade and natural.  Often they are obvious (live in a flood zone, live in area with extreme cold or hot temperatures, etc.) and sometimes, they aren’t. Maybe you live near manufacturing plants that deal with chemicals that could explode? Maybe you live in a wooded area that could potentially succumb to forest fires in the event of an accident or arson? Maybe you live in a locale that some might consider a prime target for terrorist activities? 


Disasters are typically in one of 5 categories:

1) Natural.  These are typically weather-related or geologic events: Hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, ice storms, blizzards, drought, heat waves, landslides, tsunamis, wildfires (which can also be manmade), etc. 
2) Technological and Accidental Hazards.  These may be things like chemical plant explosions, nuclear power plant issues, power outages, cyber attacks, superfund site incidents, economic downturn.
3) Terrorist Hazards: Physical attacks and destruction, biological weapons, chemical threats
4) Pandemics:  Contagious disease, spread through a variety of methods
5) Locale-specific activities: Building fire, household chemical emergencies, water damage, etc.


So, what is your risk?  Focusing just on the US, each region has their own top risks:  

from rethinkstormshelters.com

from rethinkstormshelters.com




And just because a hazard isn’t listed here doesn’t mean you’re free from it.  The US Geologic Survey, for instance, indicates that 42 states bear some risk for earthquakes (with greater increase over time from “manmade” impact to geology):


Earthquake hazard - USGS



Are you in a hurricane area?  Know Your Zone.  Areas that are prone to hurricanes typically have emergency management information at the county or state level which tells you which evacuation zone you live in.  When an emergency comes, knowing your zone, and understanding the risks of your zone is critical for evacuation.  Don’t know your zone?  Let google help you. Type in your county or state along with “hurricane zone” or “know your zone” and see what your local Emergency Management resources tell you. 

There has been a lot of data and research collected about hazards on behalf of the housing / real estate industry, and that’s been put forth in this Hazard heat map, where you can see the risk of a number of factors, and how it impacts housing pricing and trends in the area. 

Today’s challenge:  

Review the maps, or your state’s Emergency Management Agency website and understand the risks you face in your specific area. 


Join in the conversation over at the Clever Girl Organizing Challenge Facebook Group to learn from and to teach others as we all take on the Let’s Get Prepared! Challenge! 

Reminder:  Our goal here is to take steps towards improvement.  The content in these posts is designed to inspire thinking, not fear. 






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