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Disaster Statistics and How to Prepare for a Disaster

The Mid South and the rest of the U.S. have been hit by many natural disasters, including the COVID-19 pandemic. ServiceMaster by Cornerstone wanted to review some statistics on emergency preparedness. We thought an effective way to illustrate the importance of preparing for a disaster is to share disaster statistics. The following data was gathered from Wikipedia,, and 

  • Only 18.3% of Americans have set aside an emergency fund to cover damages caused by natural disasters. 
  • 52.7% of respondents reported that they have concerns about severe weather damaging their homes or cars. 
  • Severe weather storms (hail, lightning, high winds) were reported as the number one most concerning natural disaster, with tornados and wildfire reported as second and third, respectively. 
  • While most respondents (43.9%) have done nothing to prepare for the event of a natural disaster, others have reviewed their home, auto and flood insurance policies to see what is covered (28.8%) and prepared emergency supplies (23.8%)  
  • In 2018, 56 severe thunderstorms tore through the United States. A total of 108 non-thunderstorm disasters occurred in 2018 in the U.S. 
  • In June 2008, 11 million people (about twice the population of Arizona) were affected by a major flood that affected much of the Midwest. 

 Here is a list of key items needed after a disaster.  

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, drinking and sanitation) 
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food) 
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert 
  • Flashlight 
  • First aid kit 
  • Extra batteries 
  • Whistle (to signal for help) 
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air) 
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape 
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation) 
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off the water supply 
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery 
  • Masks (for everyone ages two and above), soap, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes  
  • Prescription Medications 
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives 
  • Prescription of eyeglasses and contact lens solution 
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream 
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet 
  • Cash or traveler’s checks 
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container 
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person 
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes 
  • Fire extinguisher 
  • Matches in a waterproof container 
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items 
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils  
  • Paper and pencil 
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children 

On average, there are about 6,800 natural disasters that happen every year worldwide. They are considered disaster probabilities. In Memphis, disaster statistics over the years include four earthquakes that had a four or over on the magnitude scale and over 79 tornados. A devastating flash flood hit Tennessee recently, leaving 22 dead and over a dozen missing when this was written. These disasters are devastating. Floodwaters often result in emergency water restoration. Wind damage can be devastating, resulting in a total home loss which requires emergency storm damage restoration services.  

 Service Master by Cornerstone has years of experience dealing with emergency disaster clean-up, content cleaning, and storage. ServiceMaster by Cornerstone customers are important to us, and we want to be sure they are prepared for the forces of nature. We have compiled this information to remind you to stay vigilant and be ready. While we would hate you ever to experience a catastrophic event, we are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days (about 12 months) a year. If you are ever in need of our services, do not hesitate to contact us at (901) 459-3675