Posted: Jun 4, 2013 10:00 AM by Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- The recent tornadoes that devastated parts of Oklahoma, killing scores, should serve as a sad reminder that you need to prepare for a natural disaster or severe weather, experts say.
Regardless of where they live, people often disregard the potential of natural dangers, said one expert. Staying informed and preparing for worst-case scenarios, however, can help residents of any city brace for the unexpected.
"When the probability of an event occurring is small and there is a lesser chance you will be affected if that event occurs, people become complacent," Lisa McCormick, an assistant professor in the department of health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release. "False alarms have the same effect."
McCormick said, however, that media coverage of natural disasters like the recent tornadoes can help increase people's sensitivity to such events.
"Research has shown that people become more aware of the need to be prepared after events occur, even if the event didn't occur in their own community," McCormick said. "If the event is catastrophic, there is more media coverage for a longer period of time, reinforcing the need to be prepared."
Although no preparedness plan will guarantee safety from a tornado or other extreme event, McCormick advised people to take the following steps to be ready for the unexpected:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on emergency preparedness for natural disasters and severe weather.
SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham, news release, May 30, 2013
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