If you’re planning to head out and explore the world this year, remember that it’s not all fun and games out there. Disasters and other hazards can happen while you’re away from home, so you need to be prepared. Here’s a quick rundown:
• Be proactive: Read up on the types of disasters common to the area you’re visiting and learn what to do if they happen. For example, Peru is prone to heavy rains and flooding. Japan is known for its earthquakes and Hawaii has volcanoes. Another to-do before you go is to learn about local radio and emergency alert systems so you can find safety if needed. The National Association of Radio Distress-Signaling and Info-communications (RSOE) manages and updates an Emergency and Disaster Information Service (EDIS) available for free online. Be sure to give them a look when next heading out of the country.
• Be prepared: Get vaccinated. Visit your health care provider at least four weeks before you travel. Make sure you are up to date on your immunizations and find out what’s recommended for your destination. It’s also smart to pack a small preparedness kit when traveling. Include your prescription medications as well as hand sanitizer, insect repellent, sunscreen and water purification tablets. The U.S. Department of State recommends that you enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and register at the U.S. embassy where you will be travelling. This allows you to get important information and safety conditions in your country of destination. Be sure to memorize or carry with you important phone numbers and addresses of places you are staying. Make sure that everyone in your group knows where to meet if communication goes down.
• Be protected: If an emergency does occur, follow all instructions from local authorities. Don’t hesitate to evacuate if told to.
While it is unlikely that disasters will ruin your trip, it’s better to be safe. Prepare yourself well, and enjoy your stay!
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