Whether you are an avid traveler or the occasional trip-goer, you love to travel. The sights of unfamiliar places spark curiosity in you and the sounds of new cities excite you. But no matter how seasoned of a traveler you are, do you know what to do if natural disaster hits while you are on vacation?Do you have a plan to get home safely?
Although the possibility is small, natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, tornadoes, or earthquakes can happen while you are traveling. Think about April’s earthquake in Nepal or Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Natural disasters can seriously injure large numbers of people, contribute to the spread of some diseases, disrupt sanitation and interrupt normal public services.1 Travelers should be familiar with risks for natural disasters at their destination and local warning systems, evacuation routes and shelters.
Here’s a few recommendations from the Center for Disease Control to get you started:
- If you are in another country, follow rules put forth by the local public authorities and/or seek advice from the nearest U.S. embassy. Be sure you have the contact information for the nearest embassy in your cell phone or wallet. For a list of U.S. embassies and their phone numbers, click here.
- If you are traveling out of the country, be aware of that country’s equivalent to 911. For example, in India the emergency number is 102.2 For a list of emergency numbers by country, click here.
- Be aware of where the local hospitals, police and fire departments are, in case you need to reach them in an emergency.
- Does the area to which you are traveling have an evacuation route in the event of a disaster? Research where this might be before you leave on your trip.
- Identify a “safe spot” in the area to which you will be traveling and then discuss an emergency travel plan with your family or whomever you will be traveling with.
- Be sure to travel with a list of emergency contact numbers. This will serve as your “go to” document in case of an emergency. Include names of close relatives or friends back home and don’t forget to include the phone number of your travel insurance plan provider. Travel Guard® travel insurance plans include 24/7 emergency assistance services that can coordinate efforts on your behalf to get you medical attention when you need it and many include cover to transport you safely home.
- Travel with a first aid kit.
Travel is meant to be invigorating and fun, but remember to be prepared in case disaster strikes. For in-depth detail and resources about what to do during and after a natural disaster, click here.