Caught up in a natural disaster, freak weather event or super storm? Here's what you should do right now.

Batten Down The Hatches with Essential Natural Disaster Survival Tips

5 December 2015

Caught up in a natural disaster, freak weather event or super storm? Here’s what you should do right now.

Natural disasters are a fact of life, but with climate change in the mix, the chances of being caught up in a freak weather event are becoming an increasingly strong possibility. You may be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, despite good preparation and taking appropriate precautions. If you think logically and react quickly, you stand a good chance of getting out of any difficult situation.


If you are inside a building during an earthquake:

  • Move to a sturdy fixture like a door frame, or furniture like a solid table that is unlikely to compress when lightweight ceiling materials, fittings and glass fall, and that is also unlikely to crush you.
  • If possible open your main escape door immediately as they can become jammed with building movement.
  • Hold on tight and move with the furnishing.
  • When safe to do so, leave the building and stay at least 100 meters away from any structure. This includes telecommunications poles and electricity pylons.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Contact a friend or family member to let them know you’re safe.

If you are outside a building: Head for open spaces and stay there.

  • Be aware of overhead wires, power lines, trees and material falling from buildings.
  • Stay away from cars that may be thrown around.


  • Always check if you are in an area that is at risk of flooding.
  • If there is a possibility of flooding, make an early decision to evacuate or prepare the site to resist flooding.
  • If on foot, move to high ground and take shelter until the rain or floods subside. Call for emergency assistance.
  • If travelling by road, head for higher ground and wait for the flooding to subside. Carry a tow rope, shovel/spade, axe and canvas or waterproof plastic sheeting.
  • Do not attempt to cross waterways; find another route to reach your destination or seek higher ground and wait for the water to subside. You should not attempt to cross flooded roads as floodwater may have washed away the surface, and even slow moving water can sweep away people, trucks and cars.
  • Avoid wading through floodwater due to the risks of contamination and debris.
  • Be aware of the risk of flash floods.


  • During heavy rain or snow, avoid travelling in mountainous areas that are prone to rock or mudslides.
  • Do not travel on sections of high-risk road after dark.
  • If you encounter rock or landslides en route, check if it is safer to turn back or continue your journey, based on local advice and your assessment of the situation.
  • If you’re driving in areas where there is a risk of landslides, try to stay in the centre of the road or track and avoid getting close to the edge, which may collapse under your car if the soil is loosened.
  • Check out the route on foot first if necessary and use a guide to walk the route in front of the car to assess difficult sections of the road.

Accidents happen, even on holiday. Go smarter with Travel with Jane travel insurance.

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