[caption id="attachment_20817" align="alignright" width="300"] China floods - via BBC[/caption] China knows very well about extreme weather. Monsoons, typhoons, earthquakes, floods, drought…you name it. Even though extreme weather and natural disasters are something they are used to, every new disaster still comes as a shock. On July 20, 2016, China’s Hebei and Henan provinces were pounded by a monsoon which caused the Qili River to flood. There was no advanced warning, and not enough time to act. The floods killed over 150 people and displaced millions. But this isn’t the first time such chilling devastation has affected China due to flood. In fact, since the beginning of this year at least 1,074 people have lost their lives in China due to floods, winds, hail, and many geological happenings. China knows all about natural disasters. Throughout the years, they have seen countless floods, earthquakes, and other disasters. But if there’s one thing we learned from this most recent flood, it’s that early warning is key. Public officials failed to give enough warning to the people, which, had it been otherwise, could have saved lives. While it is a tragic event – one the locals had a hard time predicting – we can learn from it. When it comes to emergency preparedness, being informed and staying aware of what’s going on around you can save your life. For example, learn whether you live in an area susceptible to flooding. Before the rain even comes, Replace ways to keep your home protected. Make sure gutters and storm drains are not blocked. Invest in sand bags if you know flooding has been an issue in the past, or think it could be in the future. Get flood insurance. Flood insurance doesn’t become active until 30 days after you buy it, so if you see rain on the forecast, chances are it’s already too late. Don’t wait until the last minute if you know you’re in a flood-prone area. Act now. Just like the folks in China, we can’t always rely on others to inform us of impending dangers. Sure, we’ve had reliable warnings and watches for quite some time so tuning in to your local weather alert station is always a great idea. But you know your area better than anyone, and that means you know the dangers that come with it, so even if the weather station reports “no flood watch,” you know your area might be an exception, so plan accordingly.