A natural disaster is defined as an event that happens naturally, often out of society’s control, in which a great loss of life and/or damage likely takes place. For hurricanes, we give them names, almost as if they have personalities and are acting on their own. It’s due to the great amount of power that natural disasters hold and their unpredictable outcomes that make them such a daunting phenomenon. Numerous movies have covered the topic, embellishing them with love stories and supernatural elements to keep them fresh for audiences. Films have covered the idea of natural disasters, either on a scale that has never happened before or based on events that have actually taken place. Regardless of their subject matter, sometimes movies hit so close to home that they bring with them lessons that can actually be applied to reality by some measure.
A classic from 1997, Dante’s Peak covers the explosion of a nearby volcano eruption while Titanic is on the opposite end of the spectrum and deals with a natural event on the open waters of the ocean. Maybe you won’t be going on a cruise anytime soon the events surrounding the actual sinking of the Titanic and the fictional events surrounding Dante’s Peak can actually be applied to real time situations. Think about where you are going and what types of elements you live around. If you do happen to live near an active volcano, having an evacuation plan in place is absolutely crucial.
Sure, you’re unlikely to drown on a cruise trip nowadays, what with the safety measures now in place on such trips, but you can definitely apply the idea of water infiltration to where you live. You might even invest in security to monitor your sinks remotely with flood sensors. If movies like Deep Impact have taught us anything about tsunami zones, having a home alarm system and a flood sensor in the case of areas of high flood possibility will prevent the possibility of self-harm, further damage to your property, and will provide you ample time to escape a potentially dangerous situation.
Twister might have exaggerated a bit on the measures taken during the main character’s storm chasing adventures but if there’s one thing we as an audience have learned it’s that chasing after something as powerful as a giant tornado may not be the smartest way to get an adrenaline high. Instead, if you are in the middle of a major storm, take cover in a well-sealed cellar. Should you be driving during a tornado event, get out of your car and find the nearest steep ditch to lie face down in. Be sure to cover your head in order to prevent possible damage to your cranium.
As for films like Independence Day and Contagion, which have more of a science fiction spin exploring possible natural disaster scenarios, you as a viewer can still take away a valuable lesson from such films. In Contagion, all that was required to prevent the virus from spreading was a simple hand washing session. When it comes to Independence Day, tackling something as dangerous as an alien on your own may not be the best course of action.
So, what is the big lesson here? If you’re planning on cooking for a large amount of people, even if you don’t plan on getting exposed to a man killing a virus, there’s still the possibility of cross-contamination of some sort. If you’re going to be handling a natural disaster that you could very well have prepared for in advance, combining preparedness and common sense is the ideal way to handling any natural disaster situation, real or fiction.