What to Avoid During a Natural Disaster

Natural disasters are occurring more and more frequently around the world. Unfortunately, some areas are impacted by natural disasters more than others. But nowhere is exempt from severe weather, and there isn’t one location that doesn’t experience some kind of natural disaster.

Preparing for a natural disaster is essential. The more prepared you are for weather emergencies, the more safe you will be when they hit.

Specifically, we want to talk about the places you should avoid when a natural disaster strikes. It’s a good idea to know where you shouldn’t go during a disaster ahead of time because your mind won’t be able to think process things as quickly during the event of a crisis.

Follow this safety advice, and you’ll be protected during the event of a weather emergency.


building collapses after an earthquake

What to avoid during an earthquake

  • If you’re outside, don’t go near tall buildings or power lines. They could potentially fall over and land on you.
  • Avoid bathrooms or other rooms that have a lot of mirrors and glass.
  • If you’re inside, avoid running outside because you’ll be in danger of getting hit by falling debris from buildings.
  • If you’re in your car, avoid overpasses and bridges. Do not park your car on an overpass or under a bridge because they can potentially collapse as well.

Cities that are most susceptible to earthquakes: Kathmandu, Nepal; Istanbul, Turkey; Quito, Ecuador; Manila, Philippines; Tokyo, Japan


Fire consuming buildings and van

What to avoid during a fire

  • If caught in a wildfire, do not try to outrun the blaze. Instead, head to the nearest body of water.
  • In a house fire, do not stay in your house and try to put the blaze out. First escape the house immediately, and then call 911.

US Cities Vulnerable to Wildfire: San Antonio, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Austin, Texas; Sacramento, California; Riverside, California


Snoqualmie flood

What to avoid during a flood

  • Avoid places that have low elevation.
  • If in a car, avoid driving through flooded roadways.
  • Do not go by high water, storm drains, creeks, or rivers during a flood.
  • Do not enter a building that is flooded or surrounded by flood water.
  • Avoid canyons during a rainstorm because flash floods could occur with little or no warning.

Top US Cities Susceptible to Flooding: Boston, Massachusetts; New York City, New York; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Charleston, South Carolina; Tampa, Florida


satellite image of hurricane

What to avoid during a hurricane

  • Avoid staying in buildings that are close to tall trees or telephone poles.
  • Do not stay in your basement if flooding is likely to occur.
  • Don’t try to drive through flooded roads.
  • Do not stay at your home if you live on the coast during a hurricane.
  • Do not go on a boat or watercraft of any kind.
  • Obviously don’t walk on the beach, even if you think you’re behind the breaking surf.
  • Do not go to the grocery store. You should have gone days before the storm hit. The store will most likely be out of stock anyways.  

US Cities Vulnerable to Hurricanes: Miami, Florida; Key West, Florida; Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; Tampa, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana


tornado and lightning strike

What to avoid during a tornado

  • Do not take shelter in an overpass or bridge.
  • Avoid trying to outrun a tornado in your car (it’s not going to work).
  • Do not take cover in exterior rooms near the edge of your home.
  • Avoid going inside an elevator. A tornado can cause power outages and literally can leave you hanging.

US Counties Susceptible to Tornadoes: Weld County, Colorado; Harris County, Texas; Adams County, Colorado; Palm Beach County, Florida; Polk County, Florida


tornado and lightning strike

What to avoid during a lightning storm

  • If possible, don’t shower or use the bathroom (electricity from lightning can travel through metal plumbing pipes).
  • Avoid your ca, which is another conductor of electricity.
  • Avoid wide open fields outdoors such as golf courses, soccer fields, and front lawns.
  • Do not stand by tall isolated trees or poles.
  • Avoid water in lakes, streams, rivers, and the ocean.

Top US Cities Vulnerable to Lightning Storms: Cape Coral, Florida; Tampa, Florida; Norman, Oklahoma; Houston, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Being in the right place during a natural disaster is only half the challenge. Make sure you always stock up on the right survival supplies to last the storm. Much of the hardship from natural disasters come from after they hit.