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Common Disasters Across the US and How to Prepare for them

Disasters can occur wherever you are, but there are certain regions where specific accidents are far more likely. Some accidents are almost guaranteed not to happen (like getting a Winter Storm in Southern Texas). You need to have a good awareness of different disasters in your area, as well as what you need to do to avoid or prepare for them. 

The Disasters

• During an earthquake, you should drop, cover, and hold onto other people in your household. 
• During a wildfire, you need to be ready to evacuate as soon as possible and keep your eyes on the news and your ears on local radio. 
• For hurricanes, you should have an emergency kit and evacuation plan ready to go. 
• In the case of volcanic eruption, make sure you have dust masks and goggles for everybody in your house. 
• Tsunamis are hard to deal with, but you need to make sure you can evacuate from any location that you frequent to a safe place at least 2 miles inland. 
• Landslides typically just require awareness of local evacuation plans. 
• Tornadoes require you to go to the safest place in your home – preferably windowless and on the lowest floor possible.
• For winter storms, you should have an emergency kit in your car in case you’re caught on the road, but in the middle of a storm, if you’re home, avoid driving and stay warm and indoors. 
• Flooding depends on the location, but in general, try to evacuate as soon as possible with your most valuable possessions and avoid all contact with floodwater.


If you’re in the south and southeast, you will be at a high risk of tornadoes, landslides (especially Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia), earthquakes (though Texas and Florida are less at risk of these) and hurricanes. Specific areas are higher at risk of flooding, so check FEMA’s guide to know your local risk. Some areas will require different responses – e.g., the flood-stricken city of Tampa has specific alerts, reporting methodologies, and more. After a flood, residents would look for local Tampa Water Damage Restoration Basics, services, and instructions. 

Pacific West

If you live in California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, or Hawaii, you are put at very high risk of earthquakes and high risk of wildfires, hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunami, and landslides. Some of these are very difficult to prepare for (like volcanoes), and you will almost definitely know what to do in case of an earthquake, but it’s still important to be prepared. Hurricanes are much more likely in Hawaii, but it’s always good to have an evacuation plan. 

Mid-Atlantic and New England

The mid-Atlantic, including New York and all states above West Virginia, is most at risk for hurricanes and winter storms. 


The Midwest region includes states as north as North Dakota, as east as Ohio and as South as Kansas. These states are most at risk of tornadoes, earthquakes (especially Illinois and Missouri), and wildfires (especially the two Dakotas). 

The West

The west includes the mountainous areas that aren’t on the West coast. They are most at risk of earthquakes, wildfires, and winter storms.