Alaska is a wild, free state, with beautiful sights and breathtaking wildlife. Come snow or shine, it's a gorgeous place to live - even if it does come with its danger. When you brush past the risk of frostbite and bears, you realize that the weather can be your worst enemy.
In 1963, Alaska faced its worst blizzard in history. Thompson Pass, which is located outside of Valdez, Alaska, faced a blizzard that left behind six and a half feet of snow over a span of 47 miles.
And that's only the beginning of the troubles that could find their way to you. Disasters go much farther than simple snow storms.
There are many dangers you can encounter in Alaska, including earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides and avalanches, and wildfires.
It's best to prepare for emergencies while you can, and sign up for the proper alert systems. Know your area's evacuation routes, and have extra maps on hand just in case you are unable to access the internet.
It's also a good idea to keep an emergency kit tailored to each disaster that could strike. You never know what might save your life - or the lives of those you love.
Winters can be brutal in Alaska - it's important to be ready to fight against harsh temperatures. Extreme temperatures can also bring about snowstorms, which can coat the land in feet upon feet of snow.
It's best to prepare for winter storms and extreme cold before winter comes - stock up on emergency supplies and have a conversation with your family about what to do if you are caught in the cold. Keep an emergency kit ready for each member of your family, and don't forget to include the needs of pets.
Flooding is when water flows and gathers onto land in areas it wouldn't under normal circumstances. Flooding is extremely common - and when you're out in the Alaskan wilderness, you need to be prepared for anything.
Floods can be the result of rain, storm surges, snow, overflows of dams, and coastal storms. A flood could happen slowly or very rapidly - be ready to move out at a moment's notice, as flash flooding comes with no warning.
It's important to prepare yourself and your family for a flood - assemble an emergency kit to aid you when water comes rushing in. It's also a good idea to sign up for the Emergency Alert System and listen for alerts.
After assembling your emergency kit, keep it somewhere accessible. Your kit should include at least the following.
Wildfires are unplanned fires that burn out of control in forests, prairies, and grasslands. When a wildfire breaks out, it can quickly spread to communities and homes. Fires can happen quickly, and engulf your home in minutes.
The best way to prepare for wildfires is to educate yourself on the warning signs and keep an emergency kit at the ready. Since wildfires can spread quickly, it's important that you have everything you might need in one place to save you precious time as you get ready to make your escape.
In South central and Western Alaska, there are great volcanoes that can be a breathtaking part of the landscape - but that doesn't mean that they can't erupt at any time. When a volcano erupts, lava can flow down into communities, and ash can rain from the sky.
Preparing for a volcanic eruption is probably the furthest thing from your mind when you think of emergency preparation, when it should really be at the forefront if you live anywhere near a volcano. Prepare a shelter where you and your family can go if your home is at risk - keep emergency supplies in your shelter, and be sure to replace your supplies roughly every year.
An earthquake is when the ground begins to shake due to shifting rocks far below the surface. They are one of the most common emergencies that can take place in the United States.
It's easy to prepare for an earthquake far before it happens - take the time to have a conversation with your family about what to do when an earthquake is happening.
It is also of equal importance that you keep at least one emergency kit at the ready for your family. Make sure all of your supplies that you gather are up to date and relevant to your family.
Alaska, while a beautiful landscape with fresh air and amazing wildlife, can be just as dangerous as any other place on Earth. Beauty is often accompanied by ferocity, and the struggle to survive will forever remain.
But when you prepare yourself, you may find that when disaster strikes, you can be ready for anything that Alaska throws your way.
Take inventory of what you have in your home and double check to see what your family will need in their emergency kits. Create a list, and then keep the list in your bag to make sure nothing is forgotten. Gear up now and start building your kit today.
Emergency Plan (ready.gov)
Emergency Contact Info (ready.gov)
Emergency Plan for Schools (ready.gov)
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