MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT ACCORDING TO THE ANCIENT MAYAN CALENDAR, the world is coming to an end in 2012. The concept has even spurred a blockbuster movie, 2012, in which the world is overtaken by massive earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters. Supporters of this theory believe that the world will end in December of 2012, with the end of the world caused by an earthquake, a solar flare, or some other natural disaster. Whether you believe the hype or not, the recent media surrounding 2012 does bring to light the importance of preparing for every possibility. Even if it isn’t technically the end of the world, a natural disaster can sure seem like it, as your home and belongings are ruined and you are forced to adapt to whatever s left. No matter where you live in the world, natural disasters of some type are a distinct possibility. It may be earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes, but you ll never know exactly when they will strike. The only thing you can do is to be prepared for such eventualities. Making the right preparations ahead of time requires considering the type of disaster most likely to strike your region, as well as your family s unique needs if you were to fend for yourselves for a week or more. Some Practical Precautions Every home should have a disaster kit containing water, food, first aid supplies, and other necessities for every member of the household. Don’t forget medications, blankets, and flashlights. You ll also need duct tape, plastic sheeting, and other simple building materials to build a shelter or make your home inhabitable following the catastrophe. Your emergency kit must be immediately accessible, not buried somewhere on a shelf in the garage where it will likely do you no good in your time of need. Consider placing emergency supplies in the most structurally sound areas of the home, as well as the areas where you re likely to run in the event of an earthquake, tornado, or other natural disaster. In addition to having an adequate stock of emergency supplies, it s also important to know how to care for your house during a natural disaster. Earthquakes, for example, can cause fires, water leaks, and other damage to your home. Every homeowner should know where the main switches to theutilities are located so that they can be turned off if necessary. Families should also practice a disaster plan. In the aftermath of a catastrophe that has ruined your house, what should you do? What if you were not all at home when the disaster struck? Where will you regroup? Every family member must know what to do in this scenario, so that they can do the right thing when panic and confusion set in. Whether you believe it s the end of the world or not, would you be prepared for a cataclysmic event? Whether the predictions turn true or not, we should all be prepared for common natural disasters. You can’t prepare for every possibility, but there is no excuse to not have the basic necessities that you d need in the event of an earthquake or major storm.