Category Archives for "Research"

Safest Cities in Arkansas, 2018

Safest Cities in Alabama

The southeastern state of Arkansas, known for the gently cascading Ozark mountain range and as the birthplace of William Jefferson Clinton, our 42nd president, has something of a crime problem. Despite its rural nature, the state ranks sixth in the U.S. with its violent crime rate, while the property crime rate is enough to put it at #5, overall.

7.84 Average violent crime per 1,000
47.40 Average property crime per 1,000

Of course, many towns in Arkansas have crime rates that are far below the statewide average, and are indeed quite safe. Coming in at #1 is Bella Vista, once a resort town, yet now more of a retirement community, located within a stunning sector of the Ozarks in the far northwestern part of the state. Even though the population has grown considerably in the past fifteen years, Bella Vista maintains an impressive violent crime rate of just 2.3 incidents per 1,000 and a property crime rate of 6.8 per 1,000.

Centerton (#2) and Bentonville (#3) are in very close proximity to Bella Vista, located in Benton County, which is by all measures the safest county in the state to live in. The next two down the list--Cabot and Maumelle—are affluent suburbs of capital Little Rock.

1. BELLA VISTA

28,274 Population
66 Violent Crimes
193 Property Crimes

2. CENTERTON

12,584 Population
43 Violent Crimes
134 Property Crimes

3. BENTONVILLE

46,458 Population
85 Violent Crimes
664 Property Crimes

4. CABOT

25,927 Population
62 Violent Crimes
525 Property Crimes

5. MAUMELLE

18,068 Population
24 Violent Crimes
414 Property Crimes

Arkansas' Safest Cities

RankCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Violent per 1,000Property per 1,000
1Bella Vista28,274661932.336.83
2Centerton12,584431343.4210.65
3Bentonville46,458856641.8314.29
4Cabot25,927625252.3920.25
5Maumelle18,068244141.3322.91
6Batesville10,732313032.8928.23
7Magnolia11,642523824.4732.81
8Siloam Springs16,277585793.5635.57
9Malvern11,016334083.0037.04
10Rogers64,6163362,2365.2034.60
11Mountain Home12,305284942.2840.15
12Bryant20,687298941.4043.22
13Van Buren23,1331318685.6637.52
14Arkadelphia10,755454364.1840.54
15Harrison13,178775075.8438.47
16Sherwood30,6761611,2535.2540.85
17Camden11,19111340810.1036.46
18Fayetteville84,7264543,7215.3643.92
19Benton34,9201771,5505.0744.39
20Jonesboro75,2303873,3695.1444.78
21Conway66,1043352,9705.0744.93
22Russellville29,3661851,2676.3043.15
23Marion12,2701064918.6440.02
24North Little Rock67,3445032,9267.4743.45
25Paragould28,2541611,3805.7048.84
26Jacksonville28,6842471,3078.6145.57
27Helena-West Helena10,89812349211.2945.15
28Texarkana30,4291811,6735.9554.98
29Fort Smith88,5737125,2298.0459.04
30El Dorado18,2971941,03710.6056.68
31West Memphis24,8184611,20018.5848.35
32Forrest City14,54417186311.7659.34
33Blytheville14,52320487614.0560.32
34Pine Bluff43,9767052,78616.0363.35
35Little Rock198,8003,04413,71415.3168.98

METHODOLOGY

To identify the safest cities in Arkansas, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.


The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 1,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes assigned a value 1.5 times (due to their severity) that of property crimes. 

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Safest Cities in Alabama, 2018

Safest Cities in Alabama

Nestled in the heart of the Deep South, Alabama is a state with rich, time honored traditions, including an unmatched devotion to college football, and the locus of many of the most notable events of the civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s. With rates of about 39 property crimes and 6 violent crimes per 1,000 inhabitants, Alabama cannot claim to be one of the safest states in the nation. Nevertheless, the “Cotton State” is not without its secure hamlets.

5.90 Average violent crime per 1,000
39.35 Average property crime per 1,000

Helena, a cozy suburb of Birmingham located right in the middle of the state, can assert the right to be called the safest town in Alabama with violent and property crime rates nearly five times lower than the state average. Vestavia Hills, another slightly larger suburb of Birmingham, famous for housing the estate of legendary former Birmingham mayor, George B. Ward, comes in at #2 boasting a rate of less than one violent crime per 1,000. As four of the top five safest towns are located in suburban Birmingham, the region can be considered the most secure in the state. Daphne (#5), the only outlier, is a small shoreline city of about 25,564 located in the southwestern part of the state.

1.  HELENA

18,525 Population
25 Violent Crimes
115 Property Crimes
helena crime, 2018

2. VESTAVIA HILLS

34,191 Population
25 Violent Crimes
397 Property Crimes
helena crime, 2018

3. MOUNTAIN BROOK

20,737 Population
14 Violent Crimes
289 Property Crimes
helena crime, 2018

4. ALABASTER

33,040 Population
97 Violent Crimes
488 Property Crimes
helena crime, 2018

5. DAPHNE

25,564 Population
35 Violent Crimes
503 Property Crimes
helena crime, 2018

Alabama's Safest Cities

RankCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Violent per 1,000Property per 1,000
1Helena18,525251151.356.21
2Vestavia Hills34,191253970.7311.61
3Mountain Brook20,737142890.6813.94
4Alabaster33,040974882.9414.77
5Daphne25,564355031.3719.68
6Moody12,764432213.3717.31
7Auburn63,8712101,1253.2917.61
8Pleasant Grove10,293271992.6219.33
9Pelham23,162415091.7721.98
10Hartselle14,540183321.2422.83
11Athens25,603186360.7024.84
12Madison47,7292091,0114.3821.18
13Enterprise28,227987833.4727.74
14Albertville21,525297211.3533.50
15Irondale12,439723365.7927.01
16Fairhope19,470366491.8533.33
17Saraland13,967344642.4333.22
18Fort Payne14,156454593.1832.42
19Pell City13,835544513.9032.60
20Cullman15,459225751.4237.20
21Northport25,045828783.2735.06
22Hueytown15,632655464.1634.93
23Prattville35,698841,3612.3538.13
24Florence40,1601961,4004.8834.86
25Homewood25,823849743.2537.72
26Gardendale13,6751104308.0431.44
27Eufaula12,503674555.3636.39
28Tuscaloosa99,9254803,7324.8037.35
29Muscle Shoals13,810545883.9142.58
30Oxford21,234799493.7244.69
31Decatur55,3741542,6002.7846.95
32Montgomery199,5651,2158,9896.0945.04
33Atmore10,021934139.2841.21
34Jacksonville12,15012350110.1241.23
35Leeds11,964825556.8546.39
36Fairfield10,869984709.0243.24
37Mobile6249,9211,70911,7696.8447.09
38Scottsboro14,71122950615.5734.40
39Opelika30,1802211,4767.3248.91
40Phenix City38,5213271,8178.4947.17
41Gulf Shores11,340396493.4457.23
42Huntsville192,5871,7879,3989.2848.80
43Talladega15,6451238247.8652.67
44Sylacauga12,623687135.3956.48
45Troy18,9851879499.8549.99
46Ozark14,67918169112.3347.07
47Alexander City14,69527765718.8544.71
48Prichard22,2993791,22717.0055.02
49Jasper14,00916089511.4263.89
50Gadsden35,9274642,52112.9270.17

METHODOLOGY

To identify the safest cities in Alabama, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.


The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 1,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes assigned a value 1.5 times (due to their severity) that of property crimes. 

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Safest Cities in Arizona, 2018

Safest Cities in Alabama

Arizona, with its stark deserts, dense pine forests, stunning mountain ranges and oasis metropolises, has property and violent crime rates ranking in, or near, the top ten highest in the nation. This is largely due to the fact that large cities like Tucson and Phoenix, with crime rates typical of large urban centers in the U.S., account for much of the state’s total population. That said, Arizona is not without its safe towns and cities, and its top five safest compare favorably with the safest in the nation.

4.54 Average violent crime per 1,000
33.29 Average property crime per 1,000

Florence is the safest town in Arizona, overall. The hamlet of 31,130, located about 60 miles southeast of the Phoenix metropolitan area and known for its historic buildings boasts a violent crime rate of just 0.71 per 1,000 and an equally impressive property crime rate of 4.85 per 1,000.

The much larger Gilbert, an affluent and fast growing community southeast of Phoenix ranks at #2. With extremely low property and violent crime rates, Gilbert has a reputation as one of the safest cities of its size in the country. Few others with a similar population can claim a violent crime rate of less than 1 violent crime per 1,000 inhabitants.

1. FLORENCE

31,130 Population
22 Violent Crimes
151 Property Crimes

2. GILBERT

255,899 Population
200 Violent Crimes
3,368 Property Crimes

3. SOMERTON

15,196 Population
26 Violent Crimes
180 Property Crimes

4. SAN LUIS

32,227 Population
39 Violent Crimes
427 Property Crimes

5. ORO VALLEY

44,089 Population
29 Violent Crimes
653 Property Crimes

Arizona's Safest Cities

RankCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Violent per 1,000Property per 1,000
1Florence31,130221510.714.85
2Gilbert255,8992003,3680.7813.16
3Somerton15,196261801.7111.85
4San Luis32,227394271.2113.25
5Oro Valley44,089296530.6614.81
6Sahuarita25,792233750.8914.54
7Maricopa49,627976481.9513.06
8Buckeye64,563351,0250.5415.88
9Paradise Valley14,15592320.6416.39
10Surprise130,6791352,4891.0319.05
11Peoria174,7973503,7092.0021.22
12Marana42,808401,0450.9324.41
13Prescott Valley42,900789941.8223.17
14Scottsdale240,8853695,6981.5323.65
15Chandler265,9225586,1522.1023.13
16Lake Havasu City53,7461411,2182.6222.66
17Prescott42,3211709244.0221.83
18Apache Junction38,5061079212.7823.92
19Nogales20,143625023.0824.92
20Mesa478,2772,05111,2144.2923.45
21Payson15,351553793.5824.69
22Goodyear82,0183102,0633.7825.15
23Douglas16,398304621.8328.17
24Chino Valley11,202742496.6122.23
25Eloy17,110624603.6226.88
26Sierra Vista42,988851,2781.9829.73
27El Mirage34,376741,0522.1530.60
28Camp Verde11,213303512.6831.30
29Bullhead City39,426991,4052.5135.64
30Show Low10,89224390.1840.30
31Casa Grande51,9952841,7445.4633.54
32Avondale81,6052333,2622.8639.97
33Flagstaff71,1792652,8563.7240.12
34Cottonwood11,932434963.6041.57
35Phoenix1,586,61110,70058,5526.7436.90
36Coolidge12,387385973.0748.20
37Tempe178,6549028,1445.0545.59
38Kingman29,0691011,4803.4750.91
39Glendale242,9381,20412,8054.9652.71
40Tucson533,6634,24531,2657.9558.59

METHODOLOGY

To identify the safest cities in Arizona, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.


The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 1,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes assigned a value 1.5 times (due to their severity) that of property crimes.

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Safest Cities in Alaska, 2018

Safest Cities in Alabama

The largest and most sparsely populated state, Alaska only achieved statehood in 1959, just ahead of Hawaii. Surprisingly, Alaska has some of the highest crime rates in the nation: its violent crime rate is first among all U.S. states, while its property crime rate is number three overall. These alarming statistics have been attributed to the fact that many Native American villages in the state are completely lacking effective law enforcement.

10.77 Average violent crime per 1,000
48.27 Average property crime per 1,000

Owing to its low and scattered population, Alaska contains just three cities with populations over 10,000. Of these three, Fairbanks (population 32,456) boasts the lowest crime rates, with a violent crime rate of 6.8 per 1,000, just below the statewide average, and a property crime rate of 41.6 that is somewhat higher than the state average.

Similarly sized Juneau, the state capital, ranks second with violent and property crime rates a bit above the state average. While Anchorage, the state’s largest city by far, comes in third with unimpressive rates of 11.4 violent crimes per 1,000 and 49 property crimes per 1,000.

With its three largest cities all possessing not-so-great crime statistics, it’s safe to say that a number of Alaska’s small towns of 10,000 denizens or fewer are the safest in the state.

1.  FAIRBANKS

32,456 Population
223 Violent Crimes
1,350 Property Crimes

2. JUNEAU

32,964 Population
282 Violent Crimes
1,595 Property Crimes

3. ANCHORAGE

299,097 Population
3,422 Violent Crimes
14,649 Property Crimes

Alaska's Safest Cities

RankCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Violent per 1,000Property per 1,000
1Fairbanks32,4562231,3506.8741.59
2Juneau32,9642821,5958.5548.39
3Anchorage299,0973,42214,64911.4448.98

METHODOLOGY

To identify the safest cities in Alaska, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.


The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 1,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes assigned a value 1.5 times (due to their severity) that of property crimes. 

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Best School Districts in America, 2018

Ensuring that their children receive a good education is something few American parents are willing to compromise on. Since most cannot afford private schooling, families strive to place their kids in the best public school districts that their financial situation will allow.

While the debate over the importance and degree of funding necessary in delivering an excellent education has gone on for decades, nearly all experts agree that money is important. The schools that perform the best have plenty of it, and those that don’t typically underperform in key areas. Revenue taken in by school districts is used to keep resources and curriculums up to date and allow schools to hire the best teachers available as faculty. There’s really no substitute for good funding.

Obviously another key factor in judging the value of a school district is the student body’s overall performance in math and reading tests. Enrolling your child in a school where students perform well on tests and get good grades will increase his or her own achievement through osmosis. Children and teenagers are highly influenced by their peer groups and competition between students to achieve top marks can be a very good thing.

Two intertwined criteria that also play an important role in a school district’s overall quality are dropout rate and poverty rate. Nobody wants their child to drop out of high school as it has been demonstrated that high school dropouts earn 200,000 less on average over their lifetimes than those who received a high school diploma. A school with a high dropout rate is not a place parents want to send their children.

Unfortunately, dropout rate is often linked to the level of poverty experienced by students in a given school district. Even if a school receives in a decent amount of funding, students can still struggle with test scores and grades if they experience a significant amount of poverty in their lives. While schools may provide adequate textbooks and other learning materials, poorer students are often deprived of basic needs such as proper nutrition and domestic stability that are essential to fostering positive academic performance. That is why poverty rate is also a determining factor in our ranking.

So which schools fared the best in our ranking?​

Top 10 Best School Districts in America

1. Naperville Community School District 203

Coming in at #1 is Naperville Community School District 203 located in Naperville, IL. Naperville is an affluent suburb of Chicago with a reputation as an excellent place to raise a family. With a high amount of revenue, stellar test scores, and a near nonexistent dropout rate, CUSD 203 is consistently ranked among the best school districts in the nation.

2. Morton Community School District 709

At #2, we find another Illinois school district, Morton Community School District 709 in Morton, IL. Morton 709 has low poverty and dropout rates, excellent funding and test scores only slightly below that of Naperville CUSD 203.

3. Lexington Public Schools

The public schools of Lexington, Massachusetts are next at #3 owing to their marvelous academic performance and safe and secure learning environments.

4. Gilbert Unified District

We head west to Gilbert, Arizona’s Gilbert Unified District for #4. Gilbert Unified District is well-funded, with a low dropout rate and great test performance. GUD received the A+ ‘School of Excellence’ award in 2011.

5. Westford Public Schools

For #5 we return to Massachusetts: the public school district of Westford, MA earns this honor due its high math and reading scores.

New Jersey's West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District ranks at #6, with terrific academic reputation and a history of being awarded for high performance. Illinois earns its third spot in the top ten at #7 with Wauconda Community School District 118 gathering students from several communities in Lake County. Wauconda CUSD has a well-earned reputation for excellence. Wauconda High School boasts a graduation rate of 89%. Rounding out the top ten are three Massachusetts public school districts: Winchester, MA (#8); Westwood, MA (#9), and Shrewsbury, MA (#10), cementing the state’s reputation for boasting the best public schools in the nation.

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Top 500 School Districts in America, 2018

RankStateName
1IllinoisNAPERVILLE CUSD 203
2IllinoisMORTON CUSD 709
3MassachusettsLEXINGTON
4ArizonaGILBERT UNIFIED DISTRICT
5MassachusettsWESTFORD
6New JerseyWEST WINDSOR-PLAINSBORO REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
7IllinoisWAUCONDA CUSD 118
8MassachusettsWINCHESTER
9MassachusettsWESTWOOD
10MassachusettsSHREWSBURY
11New JerseyTENAFLY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
12TexasHIGHLAND PARK ISD
13New JerseyBERNARDS TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS
14MassachusettsWESTON
15MassachusettsBELMONT
16New JerseyMILLBURN TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS
17New JerseyPRINCETON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
18TexasLOVEJOY ISD
19MassachusettsMOUNT GREYLOCK
20New HampshireBEDFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT
21PennsylvaniaSOUTH FAYETTE TOWNSHIP SD
22MassachusettsBROOKLINE
23MassachusettsNEWTON
24New JerseyRIDGEWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
25MassachusettsSHARON
26MassachusettsARLINGTON
27OhioINDIAN HILL EXEMPTED VILLAGE
28New JerseyTHE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CHATHAMS
29PennsylvaniaUNIONVILLE-CHADDS FORD SD
30MassachusettsWAYLAND
31MassachusettsHINGHAM
32MassachusettsACTON-BOXBOROUGH
33MassachusettsWELLESLEY
34New YorkMANHASSET UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
35New YorkRYE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
36MassachusettsDOVER-SHERBORN
37MassachusettsBEDFORD
38MassachusettsKING PHILIP
39MassachusettsANDOVER
40OhioWYOMING CITY
41MassachusettsSCITUATE
42PennsylvaniaLOWER MERION SD
43AlabamaMOUNTAIN BROOK CITY
44New JerseyMOUNTAIN LAKES BOARD OF EDUCATION
45OhioBEACHWOOD CITY
46New JerseyGLEN ROCK PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
47IndianaCARMEL CLAY SCHOOLS
48CaliforniaPALO ALTO UNIFIED
49New YorkBYRAM HILLS CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
50MassachusettsNEEDHAM
51MassachusettsHARVARD
52New JerseyMONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
53New JerseyLIVINGSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
54WashingtonMERCER ISLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT
55OhioSOLON CITY
56PennsylvaniaRADNOR TOWNSHIP SD
57TexasFALLS CITY ISD
58TexasCARROLL ISD
59New JerseyEDISON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS
60New JerseyMADISON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
61MassachusettsHOPKINTON
62MassachusettsLYNNFIELD
63MassachusettsMEDFIELD
64OhioMASON CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
65New YorkJERICHO UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
66MassachusettsMANCHESTER ESSEX REGIONAL
67New YorkIRVINGTON UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
68New JerseyRIVER DELL REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
69CaliforniaLIBERTY ELEMENTARY
70MassachusettsWESTBOROUGH
71New YorkBLIND BROOK-RYE UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
72MassachusettsGROTON-DUNSTABLE
73New YorkSCARSDALE UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
74ArizonaDYSART UNIFIED DISTRICT
75MinnesotaWAYZATA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
76CaliforniaHERMOSA BEACH CITY ELEMENTARY
77New YorkBRONXVILLE UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
78TexasKLONDIKE ISD
79New JerseyNEW PROVIDENCE BOARD OF EDUCATION
80New YorkGARDEN CITY UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
81OhioROCKY RIVER CITY
82MassachusettsHOLLISTON
83TexasEANES ISD
84New JerseyWESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
85New YorkCHAPPAQUA CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
86New JerseyHADDONFIELD BOARD OF EDUCATION
87OregonRIVERDALE SD 51J
88IndianaWEST LAFAYETTE COM SCHOOL CORP
89OhioMADEIRA CITY
90TexasFRISCO ISD
91MassachusettsCOHASSET
92New YorkARDSLEY UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
93MassachusettsFRANKLIN
94MassachusettsNATICK
95New YorkBRIARCLIFF MANOR UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
96MinnesotaEDINA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
97PennsylvaniaUPPER DUBLIN SD
98New JerseyCRESSKILL PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
99New JerseyBERKELEY HEIGHTS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
100New YorkSYOSSET CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
101PennsylvaniaTREDYFFRIN-EASTTOWN SD
102New JerseyMONTVILLE TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
103MassachusettsWACHUSETT
104New HampshireDRESDEN SCHOOL DISTRICT
105New YorkFAYETTEVILLE-MANLIUS CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
106MinnesotaMINNETONKA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
107New JerseyKINNELON BOARD OF EDUCATION
108OregonLAKE OSWEGO SD 7J
109MassachusettsGRAFTON
110New JerseySUMMIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
111CaliforniaPIEDMONT CITY UNIFIED
112New YorkHERRICKS UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
113New JerseyMAHWAH TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS
114New JerseyROBBINSVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
115Rhode IslandBARRINGTON
116MassachusettsNASHOBA
117New JerseySOUTH BRUNSWICK SCHOOL DISTRICT
118New JerseySOMERSET HILLS REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
119MassachusettsCHELMSFORD
120ArizonaTANQUE VERDE UNIFIED DISTRICT
121New JerseySCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT
122New YorkEAST WILLISTON UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
123CaliforniaSAN MARINO UNIFIED
124New JerseyHOLMDEL TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
125New YorkPELHAM UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
126New YorkMAMARONECK UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
127North CarolinaCHAPEL HILL-CARRBORO CITY SCHOOLS
128New YorkKATONAH-LEWISBORO UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
129TexasPROSPER ISD
130New YorkPITTSFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
131KansasWACONDA
132New YorkNORTH SHORE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
133MassachusettsMARBLEHEAD
134MichiganNOVI COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
135MassachusettsDUXBURY
136TexasLAKE TRAVIS ISD
137New JerseyBRIDGEWATER-RARITAN REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
138New JerseyRAMSEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
139OhioAVON LOCAL
140PennsylvaniaCOLONIAL SD
141PennsylvaniaCENTRAL BUCKS SD
142New YorkEASTCHESTER UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
143PennsylvaniaPERKIOMEN VALLEY SD
144PennsylvaniaHAMPTON TOWNSHIP SD
145MassachusettsLITTLETON
146MaineFALMOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOLS
147PennsylvaniaWALLINGFORD-SWARTHMORE SD
148MaineYARMOUTH SCHOOLS
149MassachusettsCANTON
150CaliforniaLA CANADA UNIFIED
151ArizonaST JOHNS UNIFIED DISTRICT
152IndianaZIONSVILLE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
153MichiganROCHESTER COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
154PennsylvaniaFOX CHAPEL AREA SD
155MissouriLADUE
156MassachusettsMILTON
157PennsylvaniaUPPER SAINT CLAIR SD
158OhioBOTKINS LOCAL
159OhioAVON LAKE CITY
160New JerseyMOUNT OLIVE TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
161MassachusettsNORWELL
162MissouriCLAYTON
163MassachusettsBRAINTREE
164WashingtonLAKE WASHINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT
165New JerseyHOPEWELL VALLEY REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
166New YorkGREAT NECK UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
167New JerseyHILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
168IllinoisDUNLAP CUSD 323
169OhioSYCAMORE COMMUNITY CITY
170OhioCHAGRIN FALLS EXEMPTED VILLAGE
171New YorkLOCUST VALLEY CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
172MassachusettsMEDWAY
173OhioOAKWOOD CITY
174MassachusettsNORTH READING
175WisconsinMEQUON-THIENSVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT
176CaliforniaMANHATTAN BEACH UNIFIED
177CaliforniaARCADIA UNIFIED
178MassachusettsLONGMEADOW
179PennsylvaniaMT LEBANON SD
180WisconsinWAUNAKEE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
181MassachusettsOLD ROCHESTER
182WashingtonSNOQUALMIE VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT
183New YorkTUCKAHOE UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
184MassachusettsREADING
185KansasBLUE VALLEY
186OhioORANGE CITY
187OhioOLENTANGY LOCAL
188MassachusettsHAMILTON-WENHAM
189WashingtonBELLEVUE SCHOOL DISTRICT
190New JerseyPARK RIDGE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
191GeorgiaFORSYTH COUNTY
192MassachusettsMARSHFIELD
193WashingtonCAMAS SCHOOL DISTRICT
194New YorkRYE NECK UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
195MinnesotaWACONIA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
196PennsylvaniaWISSAHICKON SD
197PennsylvaniaJENKINTOWN SD
198PennsylvaniaNEW HOPE-SOLEBURY SD
199New HampshireHOLLIS/BROOKLINE COOP SCHOOL DISTRICT
200New JerseyGLEN RIDGE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
201MaineRSU 51/MSAD 51
202WashingtonISSAQUAH SCHOOL DISTRICT
203MinnesotaMAHTOMEDI PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
204MassachusettsMANSFIELD
205New JerseyCRANFORD PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
206OhioMARIEMONT CITY
207IndianaHAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN SCHOOLS
208PennsylvaniaNORTH ALLEGHENY SD
209OhioKENSTON LOCAL
210WisconsinWHITEFISH BAY SCHOOL DISTRICT
211MassachusettsWALPOLE
212MaineCAPE ELIZABETH PUBLIC SCHOOLS
213OhioHUDSON CITY
214PennsylvaniaLOWER MORELAND TOWNSHIP SD
215PennsylvaniaSPRING-FORD AREA SD
216ColoradoCHEYENNE MOUNTAIN SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 12, IN THE COUNTY OF E
217MichiganTROY SCHOOL DISTRICT
218MassachusettsHANOVER
219OhioOTTAWA HILLS LOCAL
220MassachusettsMENDON-UPTON
221WisconsinKOHLER SCHOOL DISTRICT
222MissouriLINDBERGH SCHOOLS
223New JerseyRANDOLPH TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS
224OhioGRANVILLE EXEMPTED VILLAGE
225ColoradoSTEAMBOAT SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. RE 2
226MichiganOKEMOS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
227MichiganEAST GRAND RAPIDS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
228PennsylvaniaHAVERFORD TOWNSHIP SD
229PennsylvaniaROSE TREE MEDIA SD
230PennsylvaniaGARNET VALLEY SD
231OhioKIRTLAND LOCAL
232New YorkBOLTON CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
233MassachusettsMELROSE
234PennsylvaniaGREAT VALLEY SD
235WisconsinELMBROOK SCHOOL DISTRICT
236Rhode IslandEAST GREENWICH
237MinnesotaWESTONKA PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
238OhioWESTLAKE CITY
239OhioDUBLIN CITY
240New YorkPORT JEFFERSON UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
241WisconsinHAMILTON SCHOOL DISTRICT
242New YorkNANUET UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
243ColoradoDOUGLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, NO. RE 1
244MinnesotaBYRON PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
245New JerseyPEQUANNOCK TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
246MassachusettsIPSWICH
247IllinoisBARRINGTON CUSD 220
248PennsylvaniaDOWNINGTOWN AREA SD
249WisconsinMIDDLETON-CROSS PLAINS AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT
250CaliforniaSAN RAMON VALLEY UNIFIED
251MassachusettsEASTON
252PennsylvaniaMARS AREA SD
253AlabamaVESTAVIA HILLS CITY
254New YorkMASSAPEQUA UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
255PennsylvaniaOWEN J ROBERTS SD
256MassachusettsHOPEDALE
257TexasALLEN ISD
258New YorkPENFIELD CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
259IowaJOHNSTON COMM SCHOOL DISTRICT
260New YorkHASTINGS-ON-HUDSON UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
261PennsylvaniaPETERS TOWNSHIP SD
262New JerseyFORT LEE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
263TexasGRADY ISD
264MinnesotaEDEN PRAIRIE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
265New JerseyEAST BRUNSWICK PUBLIC SCHOOLS
266New JerseyPARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS
267MichiganBIRMINGHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS
268MassachusettsMASCONOMET
269KansasSPRING HILL
270MassachusettsPENTUCKET
271New YorkPLEASANTVILLE UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
272PennsylvaniaPINE-RICHLAND SD
273PennsylvaniaHATBORO-HORSHAM SD
274MassachusettsSILVER LAKE
275MassachusettsNAUSET
276OhioAURORA CITY
277OhioBRECKSVILLE-BROADVIEW HEIGHTS CITY
278New JerseyEMERSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
279New YorkROSLYN UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
280New YorkWILLIAMSVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
281MinnesotaORONO PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
282MichiganBLOOMFIELD HILLS SCHOOLS
283IllinoisELMHURST SD 205
284OhioJACKSON LOCAL
285PennsylvaniaSPRINGFIELD SD
286MinnesotaST. ANTHONY-NEW BRIGHTON SCHOOLS
287MinnesotaPRIOR LAKE-SAVAGE AREA SCHOOLS
288NebraskaBENNINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
289CaliforniaIRVINE UNIFIED
290WashingtonBAINBRIDGE ISLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT
291MassachusettsDEDHAM
292PennsylvaniaQUAKER VALLEY SD
293New JerseyWALDWICK SCHOOL DISTRICT
294North DakotaNORTHWOOD 129
295MassachusettsNEWBURYPORT
296MassachusettsASHLAND
297PennsylvaniaYORK SUBURBAN SD
298New HampshireOYSTER RIVER COOP SCHOOL DISTRICT
299TexasCOPPELL ISD
300IowaWAUKEE COMM SCHOOL DISTRICT
301New YorkCROTON-HARMON UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
302New YorkEDGEMONT UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
303New JerseyMOORESTOWN TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
304MassachusettsWILMINGTON
305OhioBAY VILLAGE CITY
306PennsylvaniaMETHACTON SD
307New YorkHALF HOLLOW HILLS CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
308PennsylvaniaQUAKERTOWN COMMUNITY SD
309New MexicoLOS ALAMOS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
310MassachusettsWEST BRIDGEWATER
311NebraskaELKHORN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
312OhioMINSTER LOCAL
313New YorkMOUNT PLEASANT CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
314MassachusettsSANDWICH
315MichiganNORTHVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
316CaliforniaFREMONT UNIFIED
317New JerseyFAIR LAWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
318New JerseyLEONIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
319WisconsinBENTON SCHOOL DISTRICT
320New YorkPORT WASHINGTON UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
321New YorkPLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
322New YorkSMITHTOWN CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
323New JerseySOUTH ORANGE-MAPLEWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT
324New YorkCOLD SPRING HARBOR CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
325IndianaBROWNSBURG COMMUNITY SCH CORP
326IowaPLEASANT VALLEY COMM SCHOOL DISTRICT
327VermontSOUTH BURLINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT
328OhioSPRINGBORO COMMUNITY CITY
329MassachusettsTANTASQUA
330WashingtonNORTHSHORE SCHOOL DISTRICT
331OhioUPPER ARLINGTON CITY
332New JerseyVERONA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
333OhioFOREST HILLS LOCAL
334New HampshireBOW SCHOOL DISTRICT
335CaliforniaPLEASANTON UNIFIED
336KansasDE SOTO
337IowaGILBERT COMM SCHOOL DISTRICT
338WyomingSHERIDAN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT #2
339MissouriKIRKWOOD R-VII
340KansasANDOVER
341TennesseeWILLIAMSON COUNTY
342IllinoisINDIAN PRAIRIE CUSD 204
343OhioMILLER CITY-NEW CLEVELAND LOCAL
344MinnesotaNEW PRAGUE AREA SCHOOLS
345MinnesotaDELANO PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
346ColoradoBOULDER VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. RE2
347New JerseyHADDON HEIGHTS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
348WisconsinMCFARLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT
349PennsylvaniaSENECA VALLEY SD
350New JerseyWESTWOOD REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
351MichiganSOUTH LYON COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
352WisconsinKETTLE MORAINE SCHOOL DISTRICT
353MassachusettsNORTH ATTLEBOROUGH
354New JerseyPARAMUS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
355New YorkHARBORFIELDS CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
356OhioBEXLEY CITY
357PennsylvaniaFRANKLIN REGIONAL SD
358ArizonaROUND VALLEY UNIFIED DISTRICT
359MinnesotaEASTERN CARVER COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL
360CaliforniaPALOS VERDES PENINSULA UNIFIED
361MassachusettsNORTON
362MinnesotaHOUSTON PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
363CaliforniaCARMEL UNIFIED
364IndianaSOUTHEAST DUBOIS CO SCH CORP
365MassachusettsHAMPDEN-WILBRAHAM
366New JerseyWALL TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS
367MarylandHOWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
368MassachusettsSWAMPSCOTT
369IndianaNORTH WEST HENDRICKS SCHOOLS
370TexasARGYLE ISD
371ColoradoACADEMY, SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 20, IN THE COUNTY OF EL PASO AN
372WisconsinGERMANTOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT
373WashingtonTAHOMA SCHOOL DISTRICT
374New YorkBRIGHTON CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
375New JerseyMETUCHEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
376New JerseyMONROE TOWNSHIP BOARD OF EDUCATION
377Rhode IslandSOUTH KINGSTOWN
378New YorkHARRISON CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
379OhioOLMSTED FALLS CITY
380New JerseyMONTCLAIR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
381ColoradoLITTLETON, SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 6, IN THE COUNTY OF ARAPAHOE
382New JerseyDUMONT BOARD OF EDUCATION
383PennsylvaniaLEWISBURG AREA SD
384PennsylvaniaWEST CHESTER AREA SD
385MinnesotaZUMBROTA-MAZEPPA SCHOOL DISTRICT
386IllinoisGENEVA CUSD 304
387MinnesotaLAKEVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
388OhioREVERE LOCAL
389MichiganSALINE AREA SCHOOLS
390CaliforniaSOUTH PASADENA UNIFIED
391PennsylvaniaSOUTHERN LEHIGH SD
392OhioNEW ALBANY-PLAIN LOCAL
393KentuckyFORT THOMAS INDEPENDENT
394New YorkSAG HARBOR UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
395New YorkNORTH SALEM CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
396New YorkLYNBROOK UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
397OhioST HENRY CONSOLIDATED LOCAL
398WisconsinDE PERE SCHOOL DISTRICT
399ColoradoLEWIS-PALMER CONSOLIDATED, SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 38, IN THE CO
400WisconsinFRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
401New JerseyWEST ESSEX REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
402New YorkBETHPAGE UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
403IowaANKENY COMM SCHOOL DISTRICT
404New YorkNISKAYUNA CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
405New JerseyCLEARVIEW REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT
406OhioKINGS LOCAL
407New JerseyCALDWELL-WEST CALDWELL PUBLIC SCHOOLS
408MinnesotaST. MICHAEL-ALBERTVILLE SCHOOL DIST
409OhioWADSWORTH CITY
410OhioNORTH ROYALTON CITY
411New JerseyCHERRY HILL PUBLIC SCHOOLS
412North DakotaMOHALL-LANSFORD-SHERWOOD 1
413MassachusettsHOLBROOK
414CaliforniaLOS ALAMITOS UNIFIED
415WisconsinGRAFTON SCHOOL DISTRICT
416OhioCENTERVILLE CITY
417MassachusettsNORTH ANDOVER
418IllinoisST CHARLES CUSD 303
419TexasFRIENDSWOOD ISD
420MassachusettsWAKEFIELD
421MinnesotaSARTELL-ST. STEPHEN SCHOOL DISTRICT
422New JerseyHIGHLAND PARK BOARD OF EDUCATION
423MassachusettsLUNENBURG
424PennsylvaniaCHELTENHAM TOWNSHIP SD
425WisconsinNEW BERLIN SCHOOL DISTRICT
426New YorkWANTAGH UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
427New JerseyKINGSWAY REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
428KansasGARDNER EDGERTON
429New YorkSOMERS CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
430North DakotaWYNDMERE 42
431OhioINDEPENDENCE LOCAL
432MassachusettsSEEKONK
433OhioFORT RECOVERY LOCAL
434New YorkTHREE VILLAGE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
435OhioOTTOVILLE LOCAL
436MinnesotaSHAKOPEE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
437MassachusettsFOXBOROUGH
438PennsylvaniaMANHEIM TOWNSHIP SD
439PennsylvaniaCUMBERLAND VALLEY SD
440MinnesotaCENTENNIAL PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
441South DakotaCHESTER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT 39-1
442MassachusettsSUTTON
443MissouriBRENTWOOD
444VirginiaFALLS CHURCH CITY PBLC SCHS
445TexasPORT ARANSAS ISD
446North DakotaCENTRAL VALLEY 3
447New YorkBEDFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
448PennsylvaniaNORTH PENN SD
449New YorkJAMESVILLE-DEWITT CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
450WisconsinMONONA GROVE SCHOOL DISTRICT
451New YorkCAZENOVIA CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
452WashingtonTUMWATER SCHOOL DISTRICT
453WisconsinCEDARBURG SCHOOL DISTRICT
454KentuckyBEECHWOOD INDEPENDENT
455OhioMARION LOCAL
456MassachusettsLENOX
457OhioCUYAHOGA HEIGHTS LOCAL
458MassachusettsHADLEY
459MassachusettsPEMBROKE
460New YorkRAMAPO CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT (SUFFERN)
461PennsylvaniaAVONWORTH SD
462MinnesotaESKO PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT
463IndianaNOBLESVILLE SCHOOLS
464MassachusettsMILLIS
465WisconsinWAUWATOSA SCHOOL DISTRICT
466MinnesotaSTILLWATER AREA PUBLIC SCHOOL DIST.
467ColoradoASPEN SCHOOL DISTRICT
468New JerseyPISCATAWAY TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS
469MassachusettsGEORGETOWN
470PennsylvaniaABINGTON HEIGHTS SD
471PennsylvaniaSPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP SD
472MaineRSU 21
473Rhode IslandNARRAGANSETT
474ColoradoWELD COUNTY REORGANIZED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. RE-4
475New YorkVOORHEESVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
476WyomingSUBLETTE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT #1
477Rhode IslandCHARIHO
478IllinoisCONS SD 158
479MassachusettsAMHERST-PELHAM
480VirginiaARLINGTON CO PBLC SCHS
481IllinoisLAKE ZURICH CUSD 95
482MinnesotaSOUTH WASHINGTON COUNTY SCHOOL DIST
483MichiganFOREST HILLS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
484IndianaNORTH SPENCER COUNTY SCH CORP
485ArizonaCATALINA FOOTHILLS UNIFIED DISTRICT
486OregonSHERWOOD SD 88J
487IowaDALLAS CENTER-GRIMES COMM SCHOOL DISTRICT
488New YorkEAST MEADOW UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
489OhioLAKE LOCAL
490KansasSILVER LAKE
491MinnesotaCHISAGO LAKES SCHOOL DISTRICT
492WisconsinNORTHERN OZAUKEE SCHOOL DISTRICT
493WisconsinMUKWONAGO SCHOOL DISTRICT
494PennsylvaniaWILSON SD
495MassachusettsBURLINGTON
496MassachusettsSTONEHAM
497OhioTWINSBURG CITY
498Rhode IslandPORTSMOUTH
499OhioCHARDON LOCAL
500New YorkBURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Methodology

We collected data from a total of 9,577 school districts. The following factors contributed to our ranking: student performance (math and reading test scores), dropout rates, school funding, and area poverty rates. Note that some districts, including those from Connecticut were excluded due to incomplete data.

Most Driver-Friendly States

As each state and region of the United States has its distinct advantages and weaknesses in the aspects of car ownership that matter most to motorists, attempting to compile a conclusive ranking of “the best states for driving” would be a fool’s errand. Instead, we’ve isolated some of the most important factors for drivers, including gas prices, daily commute times, insurance rates and others that drivers want to know about in order to focus the spotlight on the states that shine in each category. If you wake up and commute thirty minutes to work every day, you're probably well aware of where your state excels or comes up short, but hopefully this article will provide you with a broader understanding of the driving situation throughout the United States.

Best States for Filling the Tank

States with the cheapest average price per gallon:

1. Alabama, $2.26

2. Mississippi, $2.27

3. South Carolina, $2.27

4. Texas, $2.29

5. Oklahoma, 2.296

Source: http://www.gasbuddy.com/USA

Regularly filling the tank with expensive fuel is the principal annoyance for most drivers. This obligation hits those in lower income brackets the hardest, when keeping the car full of gas can prove a significant household expense.

On average, southerners experience a lot less pain at the pump than those up north. Southern states dominate in the category of lowest average gas prices in the U.S., as all of the top five states are located below the Mason-Dixon Line.

The south generally boasts lower gas prices for a few reasons. First off, southern states have a greater concentration of oil refineries (especially Texas), which reduces the cost of transporting fuel over great distances. Furthermore, states in the Southeastern United States have lower per-capita incomes than the richer northern states. Lower gas prices in Alabama and Mississippi reflect the reality that their inhabitants have less to spend on gas. The same trend is seen in property costs and other common living expenses.

Taxes are also a big factor: the states with the lowest gas prices all tend to tax gas at a much lower rate compared to—say--California.

States with the Most Tolerable Commutes

States with the shortest average commute times (minutes):

1. South Dakota, 16.9

2. North Dakota, 16.9

3. Montana, 18

4. Nebraska, 18.1

5. Wyoming, 18.3

Source: indexmundi.com

While the south offers the lowest gas prices, sparsely populated states in the high plains and mountain regions of the nation boast the shortest travel times between home and work. The reason is simple: less cars on the road means less traffic and a zippier commute. Each of the top five in this category are also among the top ten least densely populated states in the U.S.

Anyone that has driven through Wyoming or Montana can attest to the fact that there is seldom any semblance of road congestion. In these states, one can often drive for miles without encountering another vehicle on the road. This lies in stark contrast to the heavy traffic experienced by those in heavily populated states of the Eastern seaboard and other major metropolitan areas in the nation. Driving to work in New York City or Chicago is often a major headache, with bumper-to-bumper traffic and accident delays, galore. Such is not the case for Wyomingites.

Securest States for Car Ownership 

States with the lowest vehicle theft rates (thefts per 100,000):

1. Vermont, 38.9

2. Maine, 60.1

3. New Hampshire, 64.6

4. New York, 79.7

5. Virginia, 92.1

Source: cars.com

In the category of lowest vehicle theft rates, the Northeast takes the prize, accounting for four of the top five. Unsurprisingly, states like Maine and New Hampshire are also some of the safest to live in, with the lowest crime rates in the U.S.

There is no doubt a correlation between the frequency of car theft and crime rates, in general. Where there is relatively little crime overall, fewer cars are getting stolen. This rule mostly holds nationwide, save for the glaring exception of Washington, which has one of the lowest crime rates in America, yet holds the dubious distinction of leading the nation in vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents.

States with the Best Driving Records

States with the lowest fatal crash rates (calculated based on number of road fatalities and fatal crashes, adjusted for average daily traffic counts):

1. Rhode Island, 0.1 (39 crashes, 40 fatalities)

2. New Hampshire, 0.1 (57 crashes, 60 fatalities)

3. Minnesota, 0.2 (60 crashes, 68 fatalities)

4. Massachusetts, 0.2 (87 crashes, 95 fatalities)

5. Wisconsin, 0.2 (115 crashes, 132 fatalities)

Source: geotab.com

There isn’t a broad, evident pattern in this category, as individual characteristics contribute to a state’s reputation as either a safe or dangerous state to drive in. This ranking takes the statistics from each state’s most dangerous highway, and compares them amongst one another. If a state has one notoriously dangerous highway, then it will place poorly in a ranking of the safest states for driving.

Case in point is Florida, as US-1, its most dangerous highway, is more dangerous than all other states’ most dangerous highways, and therefore ranks as the most dangerous, overall.

One possible factor in determining the relative safety of a state’s roads is its latitude. Most of the states with safer highway ratings are in the north and have lower average temperatures. Perhaps colder temperatures and hazardous weather conditions prompt residents to drive more slowly and carefully than those in warmer states, where reckless, high speed driving is more prevalent.

States with the Friendliest Insurance Rates

States with the lowest car insurance rates (average price of annual premium):

1. Maine, $864

2. Ohio, $919

3. Idaho, $942

4. Vermont, $948

5. North Carolina, $1,010

Source: insure.com

Numerous factors influence car insurance rates across the nation, and there isn’t really a regional pattern. The number of insurance companies offering service in a given state, concentration of uninsured drivers on the road, average number of claims filed per year, state demographics and a host of other causes can influence prices. Usually, but not always, rural states have lower annual premiums than densely populated ones.

There’s a wide variance between the states with the cheapest and most expensive rates, as Michigan, the state with the highest average premiums, has an average cost of $2,394, well over twice that of Maine, which at $864, boasts the lowest premiums.

Best States to Get a Tune-Up

States with the lowest average repair costs (total average repair cost, parts & labor combined):

1. Michigan, $343.40

2. Maine, $343.60

3. Wisconsin, $346.81

4. Hawaii, $346.94

5. Ohio, $349.18

Source: carmd.com

Michigan potentially makes up for offering the worst car insurance prices by coming in as the state with the lowest average repair costs. The availability of cheap replacement parts and relatively cheap labor costs accounts for its placing. Maine, Wisconsin, Hawaii and Ohio all owe their position on the list to low local cost of parts, as well.

Throughout the country, there isn’t a significant gap in the cost of labor from state to state. Connecticut, the state with the most expensive average car repair costs, actually boasts an average labor cost 30 cents less than that of Michigan.

The cost of parts, on the other hand, can vary widely, and proves to be the determining factor in how much repairing a car will set you back in a given state.

Most Scenic Drives in the United States

Five of the top scenic byways in America:

1. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

2. Cades Cove Drive, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

3. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

4. Road to Hana, Hawaii

5. San Juan Skyway, Colorado

Source: fodors.com

Obviously, this ranking is far more subjective than the others. There is no way to quantitatively measure the ephemeral qualities of a beautiful stretch of road. Yet, this top five from noted travel guide Fodor is a good start.

Stunning mountain ranges, lush greenery, flowing rivers and sparkling seas, or better yet, the juxtaposition of one or more of these traits, play a huge role in making a scenic byway truly memorable. The roads on this short list are all famous for offering pristine views of remarkable geographical features.

Topping Fodor’s list is the world renowned Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469 mile stretch of winding highway through the southern Appalachians that allows motorists to experience a broad range of landscapes, rich variety of flora and fauna and plenty of opportunities to pull off the road for a hike, night of camping, or just to relieve one’s self amongst nature’s abundance.

Other roads on the list offer similar voyages through loping peaks, distinct geographical features and plenty of natural eye candy. However, the quality and quintessence of a given stretch of highway is ultimately up to the individual. If towering mountains and winding roads make you queasy, perhaps Nebraska’s long, flat stretches of corn and pasture-lined highway and enveloping horizon are more your style.

Or maybe you prefer stark, rocky desert landscapes to thick forests or sprawling farmland, in which case, you’d prefer speeding through Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, with its lofty saguaros and dispersed patches of sage and creosote bush.




Best Cities to Raise Kids, 2017

The often repeated maxim, “raising a kid is hard work” has become a banal platitude, but actually, it’s an understatement. Child rearing is one of the few responsibilities shared by most humans irrespective of nationality, wealth, or race, and we’ve been doing it for eons, yet nobody—including child psychologists with lofty degrees and gurus writing bestselling parenting guides—can seem to come to a consensus on the right way to go about it.

Parenting methods vary from culture to culture, and have evolved with the passage of time. Some approaches may have more success than others, but it’s unlikely that there is one “right” way to raise a kid. Different kids have different needs and ultimately, parents go it alone. It’s up to them to decide what they think is the best way to go about it.

While few would deny that parenting is deeply personal, with each couple adopting their own distinct approach influenced by their own cultural traditions and the unique needs of their child, mounting evidence suggests that one key factor in a child’s development has clear cut, predictable effects and it’s something that parents can control.

Environment--broadly defined as the surroundings in which a kid operates-- encompasses the household, neighborhood, school, climate, and even the political system a child grows up under, and plays a huge role in a child’s development, and as kids mature and spend more time out of the home, its influence only grows, affecting not only a kid’s personality, but the development of his body and brain.

A striking example are the physiological effects growing up in a poor in a poverty stricken area can have on a child. High levels of waste and pollutants endemic to poor areas have been shown to dramatically increase the likelihood of a kid developing asthma at an early age. Even more remarkably, studies indicate that a childhood of poverty and hardship shapes the configuration of a kid’s brain, increasing the size and sensitivity of the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear, anger and anxiety, while the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain tasked with reason and decision making, remains undeveloped. While these are extreme examples, they are proof that a kid’s surroundings can s shape who she becomes, perhaps in ways we have yet to understand.

Obviously, not every family has the means to choose their ideal location to raise kids, but for those that do, choosing the city or town in which to plant your roots is a big decision. The quality of schooling, median income, safety, and opportunities for outdoor play and exploration in a given location all play a vital role in your kid’s development. Maybe Hillary Clinton was right. It does take a village.

With all of this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best cities in America to raise kids based on a number of important factors, including graduation rates (a key indicator of the quality of education in a given region) crime rates, health insurance coverage and median income (not to be classist, but the research supporting the influence of socioeconomic environment on a child’s development cannot be denied). Depending on your family’s circumstances and flexibility of movement, the cities on the list have the right blend of qualities that allow children to fulfill their potential. Look them over and give it some thought.

See the Top 100 Best Cities to Raise Kids in the U.S. here.

30. Carmel, Indiana

A rapidly growing suburb of 91,065 located smack dab in the middle of Indiana, just north of Indianapolis, Carmel holds the honor of being selected “Best Place to Live in the United States” by CNN Money. Carmel possesses small town Midwestern charm with modern accoutrements, like a $24.5 million dollar water park and fitness center with state of the art features and attractions able to satisfy both kids and adults. What’s more, the school system has an excellent reputation.

29. Tustin, California

Tustin is a midsized suburb in Orange County, California. Residents of the town are afforded the dual pleasures of living in a peaceful community with great schools and also enjoying one of the shortest commutes in the region. Tustin residents are in a great location for taking the kids out to enjoy all of Southern California’s most exciting family friendly attractions.

28. Evanston, Illinois

A suburb that has it all. Evanston boasts a bustling shopping district, historic residential architecture, fantastic schools, scenic lakefront and a proactive populace that takes pride in their town. An all-around excellent environment for children to grow up in. Blow kids minds by exposing them to Chicago’s skyline on weekend trips to the city.

27. Pearland, Texas

With a population expanding from 37,640 in 2000 to a whopping 108,821 by 2015, Pearland is one of the fastest growing and in demand places to raise a family in Texas. Pearland’s ethnically diverse population, fine public schools and excellent public recreational facilities make it a great place to raise kids.

26. Sunnyvale, California

Consistently named one of the safest cities in America, Sunnyvale is also notable for the progressive and forward thinking leanings of its inhabitants, many of which work in the Silicon Valley tech industry. Like many bay area communities, Sunnyvale is lush, green and overflowing with public parks, over 476 acres of them. If your family can afford it, raising kids in the utopic, ethnically heterogeneous community ensures that they experience very little unpleasantness in their early years, while simultaneously cultivating in them impossibly high standards.

25. Folsom, California

Famously known as the location of the prison where Johnny Cash recorded his famous live record, Folsom is also a great place to raise kids. The city is located on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, offering a generous expanse of rolling hills, woods and a big lake for kids to explore and play in. The 32 miles of bike trails and hiking trails should please parents with a passion for the outdoors.

24. Somerville, Massachusetts

Somerville, population 75,754, has enough awards on its mantle to rival famed actress Meryl Streep. The Boston Globe named it the best run city in the state in 2006 and the city has thrice been bestowed with the All-America City Award. Somerville’s median income of $46315 is a bit lower than most cities on the list, but the city’s art studios, theaters and busy schedule of festivals and events is impressive for a city its size. Somerville’s high concentration of artistic venues and close proximity to several prestigious universities provide an intellectually stimulating, nurturing environment for children with creative predilections.

23. Santa Clara, California

Another clean, safe well-manicured, upper middle class bay area suburb with the ideal conditions for raising children, Santa Clara is notable for being the home of California’s Great America, a fantastic amusement park that doesn’t mess around when it comes to roller coasters. Santa Clara also boasts a number of museums including the Triton Museum of Art and the Intel Museum, which is presumably dedicated to the history of microchips.

22. Alameda, California

Yet another midsized, upper middle class Bay Area suburb with a substantial Asian population and a conspicuous number of driverless cars, Alameda is unique for its geography. The city occupies two islands and a chunk of the mainland, granting it the nickname, “The Island City”. I know if I were a kid, I’d love to grow up in a place with such an unusual layout.

21. Milpitas, California

Milpitas is your run of the mill Silicon Valley bedroom community: clean, progressive, peaceful, safe and inhabited almost entirely by workers in the tech industry, i.e., a great place to live and raise kids. The city boasts a ridiculous amount of parks with facilities for paragliding and hang gliding and a couple of golf courses. Teenager kids should delight in the fact that Milpitas is home to the hugest mall in the Bay Area, the creatively named Great Mall of the Bay Area, which boasts over 200 stores.

20. Maple Grove, Minnesota

Voted the second best place to live in 2014 by Money Magazine, Maple Grove is the platonic ideal of the upper middle class Midwestern suburb. The schools are great, the congressional representatives are republican, and the number of retail options is dizzying and bested in Minnesota only by the Mall of America. Maple Grove is home to a branch of every imaginable national chain, from JC Penny to Caribou Coffee, and even Pottery Barn.

19. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor is a beautiful city of about 120,782, home to University of Michigan and renowned for its history of progressive politics and lushly forested parks and residential sections. For parents that want their children to grow up in an environment that balances Midwestern modesty with political and cultural open-mindedness, there’s no better option than Ann Arbor.

18. Woodbury, Minnesota

Woodbury is an archetypical Minnesota suburb: peaceful, pleasant, with fine schools and a wealth of retail options. It may seem unremarkable but it’s an undeniably suitable environment for child rearing. Notably, Woodbury’s 45 parks encompass 3000 acres of lakes, woods and trails.

17. Kirkland, Washington

The first city in the top 30 located in the Pacific Northwest, Kirkland is a great little city on the waterfront offering up all of the bohemian charm characteristic of the region. Art galleries, coffee shops and ocean side parks abound. The city’s median income of 60,000 indicates that residents are more down to earth and relatable compared to many cities on this list.

16. Fremont, California

A bay area community that stands out for its majority Asian population and quirky history, Fremont originated as a Spanish mission and boomed during the California gold rush. Around the turn of the century, it was the first home of the California film industry. Like other communities in the region, Fremont is forward thinking, tranquil and pricey. Undoubtedly a terrific place to raise kids if you can afford it.

15. Irvine, California

A sizable southern California city of nearly 250,000, a median income of 98,000 and the largest plurality of Asian Americans of any city in America. Irvine was planned in the 1960’s by famous LA architect William Pereira who divided the city into separate townships with houses of similar design and nearly identical commercial centers, schools and places of worship. It sounds unusual, but Irvine is consistently ranked among the safest cities in America, best places to live in America, best run cities in America, cities with the happiest populace in America, and so on. It is a curio that could only exist in Southern California but any children lucky enough to grow up in a city as unique as Irvine are likely to live fruitful and prosperous lives.

14. Naperville, Illinois

A large suburb west of Chicago, Naperville is another community that regularly places high in best/safest/wealthiest city rankings. For those families wealthy enough to own a home and raise kids in Naperville, it is undeniably a fine place to live, offering all of the municipal, recreational, culinary, and retail options and services one could ask for. The school system has a fantastic reputation and its high schools regularly churn out excellent football teams. While many of the cities on this list lean left politically, Naperville is the conservative’s option. Truly a model suburb and great community to bring up kids.

13. Berkeley, California

Famous for decades of being on the vanguard of progressive politics and philosophy, Berkeley is an eclectic and forward thinking community. Home to UC Berkeley, the oldest of all of the University of California campuses, and a number of historic landmarks, museums, theaters and vast parks, children raised in Berkeley are likely to be exposed to a varied cross section of art, culture and ideas at an early age.

12. San Mateo, California

San Mateo is a Silicon Valley suburb mostly inhabited by tech professionals with a little bit of everything. The city’s three public libraries are likely to satisfy any bookworm, while the fifteen parks located in the city are enticing for lovers of the outdoors. The most notable park is Coyote Point Park, a rocky peninsula jutting out into the San Francisco Bay blanketed with eucalyptus trees. Coyote Point’s variety of flora and fauna is impressive for a park its size, and the area is a favorite spot for bird watchers. It’s a great place to give a kid his first ecology lesson.

11. Laguna Niguel, California

Laguna Niguel is a planned community in Orange Country with an abundance of sprawling parks and nature reserves. While Californian suburbs are known for their excellent parklands, Laguna Niguel stands out for its sheer acreage of wilderness and trails, unique for community surrounded by suburbs in all directions. A great place to raise children if one can afford it.

10. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder is a small city with an excellent reputation and a lot going for it. Owing to its position in a basin just outside the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is a great base for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, mountain biking. Kids growing up in the city will have no trouble developing an interest in outdoor sports at an early age, increasing the likelihood that he or she will be fit and active later in life. Boulder’s hippie vibes, arty leanings and tolerant attitude towards all lifestyles can rub off on a kid, helping them develop a well-rounded, thoughtful perspective.

9. Yorba Linda, California

Yorba Linda is another upper middle class Orange Country suburb with all of the qualities intrinsic to communities in the county: low crime, good schools, good shopping, wonderful public parks, but with one distinctive feature: The city is both the birth place of Richard Nixon and home to the Richard Nixon presidential library. This is either an quirky bit of trivia, or major slight against the city, depending on how you look at it.

8. Cambridge, Massachusetts

In addition to being one of the most famously liberal cities in America, Cambridge is home to two of the nation’s greatest universities in Harvard and MIT. Left leaning parents hoping to raise their kid(s) in a community that reflects the values they believe in can do no better than Cambridge. The embarrassment of museums and galleries connected to the city’s universities are fun and educational destinations for weekend trips with the kids.

7. Davis, California

A suburb of Sacramento and home to UC Davis, Davis is a fine community in which to raise kids. The city’s ethnically diverse population is among the best educated in the United States, which, along with the heavy student presence, contributes to a proactive and civic-minded atmosphere. This is expressed in Davis’s many annual events and festivals, including the Whole Earth Festival, the Davis Transmedia Walk and Picnic Day, the largest student run event in the country. Picnic Day always kicks off with a parade and caps the festivities with a Battle of the Bands competition, with dozens of other events and activities in between. The event draws tens of thousands of people every year and is fun for the whole family.

6. Livermore, California

Livermore is a city of about 89,000 located 30 miles inland from the foothills enveloping the San Francisco Bay Area, and as such, it has its own unique identity distinct from its neighbors to the west. The city’s origins as a loose conglomeration of ranches and vineyards has left its mark on Livermore, and the city has rugged, earthier vibe compared to communities in the Bay Area. Despite its blue collar heirs, the city’s median income of $96,632 certainly does not reflect a working man’s salary. Though, if you can afford a house in the community, Livermore is terrific place to live, with sprawling parks, a smattering of nearby vineyards, a few golf courses and a terrific farmer’s market. Livermore has the right mix of great schooling, palpable civic pride, and recreational opportunities that allows kids to thrive.

5. Flower Mound, Texas

While Flower Mound’s name is probably its finest quality, the city is a family friendly community with a lot to offer. Like many Texas cities of its type, the population of Flower Mound has increased over the past fifteen years, though at around 65,000, the city’s population remains modest. What sets Flower Mound apart is its innovative SMART program, a facet of the local government dedicated to controlling the growth and development of the city in a way that benefits its residents rather than allowing for chaotic, aimless expansion--a calamity plaguing many mid-sized Texan cities experiencing a population boom. The careful planning and regulation of the city’s growth has resulted in a community with a fine tuned balance of commerce, public facilities, residential zones, and parkland. While Flower Mound may not seem remarkable in any distinct way, you’d be hard pressed to find a community of its type more accommodating to families.

4. Pleasanton, California

Located six miles of Livermore (6.), Pleasanton once earned the distinction of being the wealthiest mid-sized city in the United States. Like most wealthy communities, Pleasanton is a really nice place to live. The city’s prevalent attitude is that unique Northern Californian thing where the residents act rugged and salt of the earth, but are all secretly rich. Nevertheless, Pleasanton’s wonderful Mediterranean climate, excellent school system (its high schools are top 400 in the nation!), and beautiful nature preserves make it a pretty great place to settle down and raise kids. Furthermore, the town takes its history and cultural legacy very seriously, taking pains to preserve the 19th century architecture in its downtown and going all in on its annual festivals and parades.

3. Newport Beach, California

Newport Beach is an ocean side community in west Orange County with a storied history, one of the largest and most highly regarded harbors in the U.S., a passion for watersports, and a considerably wealthy population. While most families couldn’t afford to buy into Newport Beach’s notoriously expensive housing market, for those that can, the city is an excellent place to live and raise children. The weather stays beautiful all year round, the beaches are picturesque and great for surfing and Newport Harbor is the number one destination for watersports in the west; sailing, rowing, fishing, you name it. With so much sunshine and recreation to go around, it’s hard to imagine a kid growing up in NB without developing an optimistic, sunny outlook on life.

2. Newton, Massachusetts

Newton is an exquisite, affluent suburb of Boston without any one defining characteristic but its all-around excellence reliably earns it a place in just about every “best cities to live in” countdown. Settled all the way back in 1630, Newton has a rich history and cultivated character that isn’t common in the United States. Safe, tranquil and flush with historic homes and public buildings, Newton is the city of choice for those that work in Boston but desire a quiet environment after office hours. Newton is also great for kids as both the public and private schools are first class.

1. San Ramon, California

Topping our list for best cities to raise a kid is San Ramon, California aka “Tree City USA”. San Ramon is a wealthy mid-sized city of 76,134 about 15 miles east of San Francisco and right inside the San Ramon Valley. What makes San Ramon such a great place to raise kids? Well, the weather is nice, the landscapes are beautiful and the public schools are top notch (two of San Ramon’s high schools rank in the top 300 nationally). Perhaps you’re thinking, “Sure, but that describes a lot of cities on this list.” That’s true, but its San Ramon’s median family income of 132,339 that tipped the odds in its favor.

Methodology

The ranking was calculated based on the following data from a total of 526 cities: Education (percentage of 18 to 24 y/o the did not graduate from high school); Income (median household income); Crime (number of violent crimes, population size); Health Insurance: (number of insured children 6-17). 

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Ultimate Guide to Disaster Preparedness

This guide summarizes the basics of disaster preparedness and safety best practices before, during, and after tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Nature’s most violent phenomena, these disasters are frequent in the U.S. and cause severe destruction and human fatalities each year.

It's important to plan for evacuations, prepare and protect your property, yourself, your families and pets, should you need to evacuate or seek shelter immediately. Share these step-by-step instructions with your family, friends, and community to raise awareness about personal safety rules in the face of a major disaster.

As a general rule of thumb, following a disaster, you must be able to survive and be self-reliant during at least 72 hours. Depending on the size of an affected area, disrupted infrastructure, and blocked roads, you may be on your own until rescuers can get to you.

Hurricane Preparedness​

America is no stranger to hurricanes. On average, the U.S. coastline is struck by 3 hurricanes over a typical 2-year period and at least one hurricane of those three is classified as major. Every year, all of the U.S. Atlantic regions and parts of the Pacific Coast brace for the hurricane season that lasts from early-June through late-November. With mile-long lines for fuel and bottled water, the pilgrimage to community shelters and the blustery wrath of endless rains and storm surge, preparing for storms is almost a tradition in many coastal areas.

Hurricanes come bundled with destructive winds, rip currents, high surf, storm surge flooding, inland flooding and tornadoes, causing widespread electrical outages and landslides. As such, it’s vital that families and communities are prepared to:

  • Be self-reliant before, during, and after the disaster
  • Know where to go for help
  • Help their community​

Meteorology is far from predicting a hurricane well ahead of time, but 2-3 days forecasts are fairly accurate. That's why it's important not to just keep track of the weather, but to carefully follow the directions of officials.

Before a Hurricane

Awareness is the first step toward an actionable and effective hurricane preparedness plan, so start by assessing your risks. The top U.S. cities most vulnerable to hurricanes based on their location and other geographic factors are: Miami, Tampa, and Key West in Florida; Cape Hatters in North Carolina; and New Orleans in Louisiana.

To properly prepare for a hurricane:

  • Know the difference between a hurricane watch (which is an indication a hurricane might be forming and is normally issued 48 hours before dangerous winds start) and a hurricane warning (which is a direct indication you need to get moving because a hurricane is heading your way)
  • Tune in for alert updates when a hurricane watch or warning has been issued. Local television and radio stations are good sources. you can also keep track of approaching storms via www.weather.com, www.nhc.noaa.gov, and www.windy.com
  • Prepare your hurricane safety kit
  • Secure your property
  • Draft your emergency plan

Build your hurricane safety kit

One common thing that spreads like a plague in the face of a hurricane is panic. When people succumb to panic en masse, they rush to local supermarkets and grocery stores, sweeping supplies and hoarding whatever they can. Shelves are empty within hours of emergency warning, and logistically retailers can’t keep up with the increased demand. If you prepare your hurricane kit ahead of time, you won’t be stressing over emergency shopping as a hurricane approaches. Instead, you’ll be securing your home. Your hurricane kit should be comprehensive in nature, but also lightweight enough that you can take it with you if you need to evacuate.

Include the following items in your hurricane safety kit

Secure your property

​Provided your emergency kit is ready, you can secure your home in the face of the approaching disaster. To protect your property against damaging winds, flooding and storm surge, consider the following recommendations.

Secure your home

Secure your yard

Secure your car

Prepare for power outages

A storm could cause a lot more distress if you lose power. There are a few important precautions that will make your deprivation days a lot less stressful:

  • Buy a full tank of gas well in advance of an approaching storm as gas stations will run out very quickly.
  • Fill fuel tanks of your outdoor grills (they could become your primary cooking appliance).
  • Have cash on hand, since ATMs won’t be working if the power is out.
  • Charge your cell phones and limit their usage.
  • Fill your bathtub and sinks with water for basic necessities like washing and flushing. Note: sterilize your bathtub first.
  • Air conditioners won’t keep you comfortable during power outages, so consider covering your windows from the inside.
  • If you expect a power outage, freeze as much water and food as you can. Fill coolers with ice to cool food and drinks after the power has been out for 4+ hours.

Create emergency plan(s)

You may have to evacuate if state officials issue an evacuation order. If you're prepared with an evacuation plan, you'll avoid a disorganized, panic-driven hassle. Also, a thought-through communication plan will help your family members reconnect if they get separated.

Hurricane communication plan

“If you wait for an evacuation order to be issued before beginning your preparation, it may be too late,” warns the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Ideally, you should know your evacuation routes at all times, so that when authorities order mandatory evacuation you’re not wasting time on research. Also, emergency services will be greatly delayed during an evacuation order, so anyone with health issues must evacuate well ahead of the storm.

Hurricane evacuation plan

Don’t forget to plan for your pets

  • Pets may not be allowed in shelters and some hotels, so research these things in advance. Contact local animal shelters for availability if you are unable to take your pets with you. Do not leave them behind.
  • Service animals assisting people with disabilities are allowed in Red Cross shelters.
  • Don’t forget to include your pet’s leash, ID, travel crate, food, water, and a warm blanket in your emergency kit, as well as their photo, all of their vet records and a toy or two that will remind them of home.

Keep a list of the following contacts

During a Hurricane

During a hurricane, apply some common sense to your activities and follow authorities’ recommendations. If sheltering at home, stay inside but secure your dwelling. If evacuating, do so well in advance.

If you evacuate

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately
  • Don’t wait. If you need to leave, do so as soon as possible, since traffic gets snarled during evacuation
  • Avoid flooded roads – six inches of water is enough to float a car
  • Watch out for bridges that may be compromised by floodwaters
  • If you are unable to evacuate for whatever reason, but need to do so, call the emergency hotline – responders will schedule for your evacuation
  • If there are people with special needs in your family, call the hospital and/or police for advice on how to help
  • If you decide to drive or walk to a shelter, lock your home, take your emergency kit, bedding, and clothing with you
  • Note: a lull is often a sign of the storm’s eye – not its end. When riding out a hurricane, listen to announcements from authorities to confirm the danger is over.

If you stay

  • Make sure your family and pets stay indoors
  • Don’t wait for the floodwater, move your pets and valuables to higher locations in your home
  • Stay away from windows and doors
  • Keep your emergency kit nearby
  • Stay tuned in to local radio

Hurricane Do's

  • ​Stay indoors
  • Use a TV or battery-powered radio to stay on top of the emergency alerts
  • Use the FEMA app, weather radio apps, and Red Cross apps to stay informed
  • Watch out for structural damage and downed power lines
  • Stay alert for potential gas leaks
  • Take photos for insurance purposes

Hurricane Dont's

  • ​Don’t ignore evacuation orders
  • Don’t go surfing or boating – get out of the water
  • Don’t sleep in rooms susceptible to falling trees
  • Avoid your basement and move valuables to a higher floor while you still can
  • Don’t assume floodwater comes gradually 
  • Don’t drink tap water until authorities say it’s safe
  • Don’t use indoor generators without carbon monoxide detectors

After a Hurricane

A lot of people are killed while cleaning up after a hurricane. From 2000 to 2014, 1,853 deaths were caused by hurricanes and tropical depressions. More than half of these deaths were caused by indirect factors during cleanup.

Returning home safely

  • ​Keep monitoring local radio and official community and authorities’ Facebook pages for alerts and announcements
  • Only return once authorities have announced it is safe to do so
  • Avoid using the phone, except for emergencies. This will keep the network less clogged for emergency responders and those in dire need.
  • When you return, open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home
  • Be careful – snake and spider bites are common after floods
  • Check your water lines – if you suspect any damage, don’t use toilets

Gas leaks

  • ​Enter your home with caution and check for gas leaks
  • If you suspect a gas leak, get outside
  • If possible, turn off the gas line at the cut off valve, and call the utility company

Fire prevention

  • Avoid using candles and other open flame sources for light or heating, especially if you have small children and pets​
  • Don’t burn charcoal in enclosed spaces, as carbon monoxide buildup is deadly

Electrical safety

  • ​Check your property for damaged electrical wiring
  • Be on the lookout to sparks and frayed wires
  • If you suspect any damage, cut off the power at the circuit breaker box or the fuse. Do NOT touch the box if you need to stand in water
  • Don’t use wet electrical equipment
  • Avoid downed power lines and loose wiring
  • Don’t step in puddles near downed power lines

Food safety

  • ​Throw away all spoiled food and drinks
  • Throw away any food supplies that have been soaked in floodwater, including canned foods
  • Don’t eat vegetables from a flooded garden
  • Don’t drink tap water until authorities have inspected it and confirmed it is safe
  • Disinfect everything that was wet, as floodwater contains chemicals and bacteria from the sewage

For insurance purposes

  • ​Take photos of every damaged item for insurance purposes afterward
  • Place damaged items outside if you think you can’t salvage them, but don’t discard them until an insurance adjuster takes a look

How you can help

Volunteers help respond to more than 64,000 disasters every year, according to Red Cross. Since hurricanes bring massive destruction, and a lot of people need assistance in shelters, there are many ways you can contribute to your community’s disaster relief efforts during and after a hurricane. You can help provide the affected families with food, shelter, and care. Or you could take a proactive approach and become a part of your community preparedness committee and help educate individuals and groups on hurricane safety. 

Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquakes are a major risk in the U.S. The seismically active San Andreas, San Jacinto, and New Madrid faults and the Cascadia Subduction Zone span most of the national territory. Even though seismologists can predict where earthquakes may happen, they can’t predict when they are going to happen, or how strong they are going to be.

Almost all earthquakes happen when accumulated stress in rocks along active faults gets released. In simple terms, an earthquake is what happens when large rocks break. And when they break, they make noise and send seismic waves that make the ground shake and cause the destruction we see on the news.

What to expect during an earthquake

  • They occur without warning
  • Small and moderate earthquakes usually last less than one minute
  • Strong earthquakes last up to several minutes
  • The ground will move
  • Expect to feel dizzy and unable to walk
  • You may feel the ground shaking and rolling, much like being at sea
  • In high-rise buildings, you may experience sway, since the building may move from side to side
  • Furniture and unsecured light fixtures and ceiling panels may fall or topple violently
  • Windows may break
  • Fire alarms may go off
  • You may lose power
  • Hours, days or months after the initial earthquake, there may be even more destructive aftershocks​

Effects of an earthquake

  • Human and animal casualties
  • People and animals trapped under the debris
  • Immediate impacts on buildings, bridges, roads
  • Fires and explosions as gas pipes are often damaged
  • Landslides
  • Tsunamis and flooding in coastal areas
  • Disrupted transportation, communications, water, gas, and electricity supply
  • Long-term impacts as all structures may have damage that is not apparent in the aftermath of an earthquake
  • Economic impacts, as infrastructures and logistical chains are disrupted
  • Environment pollution and water contamination​

With all of this in mind, take the following precautions to ensure that you’re ready if and/or when an earthquake hits.

Before an Earthquake​

Begin your earthquake safety preparations by knowing your risks. Check the U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazard Map, which is an annual forecast highlighting the high-risk zones prone to earthquakes.​

Secure your home

There is unfortunately no one-size-fits-all solution to preparing your home for an earthquake. Depending on when, where and how it was designed and built, your home may have structural weaknesses that make it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes.

Buildings without proper anchoring to their foundations, weak crawl space walls, unreinforced masonry walls, and unbraced pier-and-post foundations will require professional assessment and help.

When renting, ask your landlord what has been done to strengthen the structure against earthquakes. If you are building or buying property, have a professional review the structure and its design and see if it’s built according to the local building codes.​

The good news is that there are plenty of steps you can take to prepare the interior of your home:

  • Note potential hazards – tall, heavy items such as bookshelves, mirrors and pictures, home electronics, and anything that is hanging from walls and ceilings
  • Secure these items – consider flexible fasteners, or closed hooks
  • Install flexible connectors on gas appliances
  • Relocate potentially hazardous items such as heavy book shelves away from beds, sofas, and chairs
  • Anchor overhead lamps to joists
  • Latch wardrobe doors
  • Strap the water heater to wall studs​
  • Anchor heavy and tall furniture to wall studs
  • Learn how to shut down the gas supply in your home
  • Have your house evaluated by a professional structural design engineer and ask about strengthening tips for your porch, deck, sliding glass doors, and garage doors

Prepare your family and pets

As is the case during any emergency, your worst enemy is panic. If an earthquake strikes, your family will not have time to calm down and think – they will need to act quickly. Proper safety planning and preparation will ensure that injuries are minimized.

Earthquake preparedness plan

  • In your home, identify the safest places during an earthquake
  • Practice Drop → Cover → Hold On drills, especially with young children
  • Keep a family emergency kit somewhere accessible
  • Establish a communication plan ahead of time so that everyone knows how to stay in touch, especially when parents are at work and kids are at school
  • Learn CPR and first aid, as well as how to use a fire extinguisher
  • Know how to shut down your home utilities such as water, gas, and electricity
  • Plan out where you will stay if your home is damaged and you need to shelter elsewhere
  • Make preparations for pets in advance, since they may not be allowed in hotels or emergency shelters
  • Consider having earthquake insurance if you live in a high-risk zone​
  • Ask your children’s schools or daycare centers about their earthquake emergency plans
  • Check your office emergency plan; know your escape routes
  • Know how to find NOAA radio stations in your area
  • Keep a flashlight and comfortable shoes by the bed at all times (these are useful in any emergency, not just earthquakes

Earthquake emergency kit

72 hours – that’s how long you need to be self-reliant after an earthquake occurs. So, when you’re assembling your emergency kit, make sure you have enough food, water, medication, and other supplies to sustain your family – and pets – for at least three days.

Also, consider keeping additional, smaller kits in your garage, cars, and office.

Include the following items in your earthquake emergency kit

Earthquake emergency communication plan

Infrastructure disruption after an earthquake can leave entire communities without roads, bridges, electricity, Internet, and wireless networks. Families can get separated. Knowing how to reconnect and where to find each other is a vital part of your family safety plan.

Earthquake communication plan

During an Earthquake

Even though what you do while an earthquake is happening is critical, this section is short because you’ll have very little time to actually think about what you’re going to do.

  • Whatever you decide, act quickly
  • Do not hesitate
  • Don't panic​

Earthquake Do’s

Depending on where you are when an earthquake hits, your actions may differ. But the logic behind them must follow the same rules – get away from anything that can fall on you, and seek something solid to use as a short-term cover.

If you're in a building

  • ​Drop down to your hands and knees before the earthquake drops you
  • Crawl under a sturdy desk or table, if possible
  • Cover your head and neck with your arms
  • If no sturdy desk is around, crawl to an interior wall, away from windows
  • Stay away from glass, outside doors, outside walls, windows, furniture, and light fixtures
  • Stay put until the shaking stops
  • If you smell gas, get out as quickly as possible
  • ​Stay in bed until the shaking stops
  • Use a pillow to cover your head and neck

If you're outside

  • ​Move away from buildings, bridges, utility wires, and streetlights
  • Move to an open space and Drop → Cover → Hold On
  • Stay put until the shaking stops

If you're in a car

  • ​Stop as quickly as possible, and preferably in an open area
  • Avoid stopping near bridges, buildings, trees, utility wires, and overpasses
  • Stay in your vehicle until the shaking stops
  • If a power line falls on your car, wait for help. Do not get out.
  • In mountainous areas, watch out for landslides and falling rocks

Earthquake Don’ts

Earthquakes are surrounded by myths and misconceptions, many of which are extremely dangerous if you follow them as “best safety practices.”

  • ​Don’t use elevators. Even if they don’t collapse, they’ll probably get stuck due to power outages.
  • Don’t stand in a doorframe. In many homes doorframes will collapse easily.
  • Don’t shelter next to furniture as opposed to under it
  • Don’t go back to sleep without checking for gas leaks after an earthquake
  • Don’t use matches or lighters until you are certain no gas pipes are damaged
  • Don’t go surfing or boating, as earthquakes can trigger tsunamis
  • Don’t ignore abnormally anxious pets. Animals detect approaching earthquakes better than seismological equipment.

After an Earthquake

After an earthquake, the danger is far from over. Debris may fall from buildings. Structures may collapse. Landslides and tsunamis may follow. So once the shaking stops, be cautious.

  • ​Check yourself, your family members, and your pets for injuries
  • Provide first aid, if needed
  • If you’re in your home, go outside. If you’re in an office building, go out to the parking lot. Get to an open space, away from damaged structures.
  • Look up and around for falling debris – or the potential of it
  • Check on your neighbors; they may need help
  • If you choose to stay inside your home, shut down the gas supply
  • Check water and electric lines for damage. If you suspect any leaks, shut off the valves.
  • Do not use matches or turn on the lights until you are certain there is no gas leak
  • If tap water is still available, fill your bathtubs and sinks
  • Be careful around chimneys and stairs, as they may collapse
  • Stay away from brick walls, as they often become weakened
  • Only use phones for emergency calls
  • If you need assistance, but cannot get outside, place a HELP sign in your window

If trapped

  • ​Do not try to move.
  • Do not kick dust
  • Whistle if you can. Tap on a pipe or wall to help rescuers find you
  • Try to reach your cell phone to call for help
  • ​Turn on the radio, monitor local news for tsunami alerts
  • If you live in a coastal area, move inland and to higher ground immediately
  • Be alert for aftershocks, as they may be even more destructive
  • In case of an aftershock, Drop → Cover → Hold On
  • Assist rescue workers, if you can
  • Don’t try to remove heavy debris by yourself
  • If helping rescuers, wear work gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and sturdy shoes
  • If you can’t assist in clearing out debris, but want to help, take part by bringing emergency supplies to the rescuers and volunteers
  • Be vigilant of people who may seek to take advantage of the situation and, disguised as volunteers, go looting in unattended houses and shops, or worse, physically harm disaster victims

It is possible that after a major earthquake you may need to leave your home and spend several days in a shelter. Consider downloading one of the American Red Cross or FEMA mobile apps so that you’re constantly getting live updates.

  • Take your emergency kit with you
  • Post a note in a clear view indicating where you can be found​

Wildfire Preparedness

Every year, devastating wildfires burn across the U.S. In fact, according to Weather.com, around 1.2 million of acres of U.S. woodland burn each year, while the National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 45 million homes border with forests and heavily wooded areas. More than 72,000 communities are located in areas prone to wildfires.​

Did you know?​

  • Wildfires can happen at any time throughout the year
  • Weather factors like drought conditions, high winds and lightning cause only 10% of wildfires
  • The other 90% are caused by humans, either accidentally—from cigarettes, campfires, or outdoor burning—or intentionally. Careless and uninformed actions like equipment fires from lawn-mowers, fireworks and improperly discarding of ashes can also result in massive forest fires.
  • Wildfires can happen anywhere in the country – in remote wilderness areas, in national parks, or even in your backyard
  • Federal suppression costs typically range from $1 billion to nearly $2 billion annually​

According to Verisk’s Wildfire Risk Analysis 2017, losses from wildfires amounted to $5.1 billion over the course of the past ten years.

  • Wildfires can cause death or serious injury to both people and animals
  • Structures may be significantly damaged, and often are destroyed
  • Transportation, gas, power, and communication services may be disrupted for extended periods of time
  • Flying embers can set fire to buildings more than a mile away from the wildfire itself
  • Smoke causes health issues even for those who live far away from where the actual fire is located
  • Extensive acreage can be devastated, watersheds and critical natural areas can be damaged
  • Flash flooding and mudslides can result from fire damage to the surrounding landscape

Unfortunately, wildfires can affect the land for many years. Trees, shrubs, and grasses roots stabilize the soil while leaves and stems slow the water. During wildfires, trees burn to the roots, and the litter layer is destroyed. When a fire destroys plant material, it can cause severe soil erosion, which increases the risk of future floods.

Compounding the situation is that megafires – those that consume 100,000+ acres of land – are becoming increasingly more common. There are roughly ten megafires a year in the U.S. Prior to 1995, there was an average of 1.

Do you know what to do to when a wildfire happens, and you need to evacuate in a matter of minutes?

Do you know how to protect your family, pets, and property?

Preparation is critical, so follow these recommendations to ensure your loved ones and your property are protected during wildfires.

Before a Wildfire

To be prepared for a wildfire, you need to start now by following FEMA landscaping recommendations to give your property a better chance of making it through a wildfire without severe damage.

Additionally, you need to understand wildfire warnings and know your reliable sources for weather updates, as well as have a detailed plan that covers personal protection. You also need to plan ahead for all household members, especially young children, seniors, and pets, and account for their needs when buying items for your emergency kit.

Stay informed

Awareness saves lives in any emergency but during wildfires, every second counts. Weather alerts are the first source of reliable information you need to make a timely decision to stay, evacuate, or call 911.

  • Regularly scan your local TV and radio stations for severe weather alerts
  • ​Stay alert to notifications issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Know the differences between:
    • A Fire Weather Watch – potentially dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 12 to 72 hours​
    • A Fire Weather/Red Flag Warning – the danger of a wildfire exists, and weather patterns that increase the probability of wildfires are either occurring or expected to occur within 24 hours
    • An Evacuation Notice – the danger is imminent and local authorities may issue an evacuation notice
  • Evacuation orders range from voluntary to mandatory and vary by state
  • When authorities issue a mandatory evacuation notice, LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY

Establish an evacuation plan

Everyone on an evacuation alert must be prepared to leave on short notice. Your evacuation may be organized, or it could turn into a panic-driven mess. It all depends on how prepared you are.

  • Plan two ways out of your area and assign a meeting place if you need to evacuate in different cars
  • Know how you will evacuate people with disabilities, as well as pets, and livestock
  • If you plan to evacuate by car, keep your car fueled and in good working condition. Don’t leave your planned evacuation vehicle unattended for months on end. Start it regularly. The last thing you need during an emergency is a vehicle with a battery that’s dead.
  • Keep your emergency kit and a change of clothes in your car
  • If you plan to share transportation, such as help neighbors or relatives who don’t drive, or on the contrary, if you need someone to help you, make arrangements with your friends or neighbors now
  • If you plan to use public transportation, contact your local emergency officials to ask how an evacuation will work, how you will receive timely information, as well as the location of staging areas
  • Arrange for a place where you could stay if you have to leave for an extended period. Consider a relative or a friend outside of your area.
  • Consider installing The American Red Cross Shelter Finder App to receive live updates on available shelters at all times​

Have a communication plan

In a wildfire emergency, your priority will be the safety of your family and friends. If you are not together when officials issue an evacuation order, practice how you will communicate with each other.

  • Decide where your household members will meet if separated
  • Keep important numbers written down in your wallet, not just on your phone. Include all family members contact details, emergency contacts and medical facilities, schools, and service providers
  • Add a reminder to your emergency contact list that texts often get through faster than phone calls
  • Have your children memorize the phone numbers, addresses, and the emergency plans
  • Have all family members carry a copy of this list
  • Post a copy of this list in a central location in your home where everyone can find it
  • During an emergency, it can be easier to reach people outside of your area, so assign an out-of-area friend or relative for all family members to call. Consider using social media to keep in touch.​

Build your wildfire emergency kit

Store emergency supplies in an easily accessible location so that you can grab your go-bag quickly if you need to evacuate. Consider having several emergency kits - one in your house, one in your car, and one in your office.

Items to include in your wildfire safety kit

Prepare your property

If possible, choose fire-resistant materials for renovation, repairs, and construction, and practice good maintenance.

  • To prevent embers from igniting your home, clear dry leaves and debris from gutters, porches, and decks and within 10 feet of your house​
  • Dry grass is fuel for wildfires, so keep your lawn hydrated. Cut it down when it turns brown.
  • Dispose of debris and lawn cuttings quickly
  • To prevent debris from accumulating around your house, screen areas below patios and decks with wire mesh
  • Remove firewood stacks, propane tanks and other flammable materials within 30 feet of your home, garage, and sheds
  • Since wildfire easily spreads to treetops, make sure the lowest branches are always pruned to 6 to 10 feet from the ground
  • To prevent ember penetration through your roof, inspect shingles or roof tiles and repair the loose or missing ones
  • Consider covering exterior attic vents and under-eave vents with metal wire mesh to prevent ember entry
  • ​Know how to shut off gas and electricity quickly
  • Learn how to use an ABC-type fire extinguisher
  • Consider having an insurance covering damages caused by wildfires

As you are preparing your property, here are a few landscaping tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep an area 30’ away from your home free of wood piles, brush, dried leaves, newspapers, and anything that burns easily
  • From 30’ to 100’ away from your home, reduce the flammable vegetation as much as possible
  • Create “fuel breaks” on your property, such as driveways, gravel walkways, and ponds
  • Work with neighbors to create spaces up to 200 feet around your homes free of dry vegetation. Prune trees so that they don’t touch and create continuous canopies.​

During a Wildfire

Leave as early as possible. Do NOT hesitate once evacuation orders have been issued. You need to leave promptly and clear roads for firefighters to get equipment in place to fight the fire. Leaving early is also vital to getting your loved ones to safety.

Note: if you see a fire nearby or approaching, call 911 and report. Do not assume someone has already done it.​

Tips to help firefighters protect your house

  • Leave the lights on to make your house visible in heavy smoke
  • Remove curtains from your windows
  • Move furniture away from windows and doors
  • Close all doors, windows, vents, and fireplace screens
  • Move patio and deck furniture, as well as potted plants either indoors or away from the house, shed and garage
  • Connect garden hoses
  • Fill large containers, garbage cans, sinks and bathtubs with water

When leaving

  • Close all car windows and air vents
  • Expect reduced visibility, so drive slowly with headlights on
  • If possible, do not drive through heavy smoke
  • Watch for pedestrians and fleeing animals​

If trapped at home

  • Call 911 ASAP
  • Turn on the lights to help firefighters find your home in heavy smoke
  • Breathe through a moist cloth
  • Cover your head and body with wet towels made of natural fabric
  • Seal doors, windows, and vents with plastic sheets and duct tape
  • Fill whatever you can with water
  • Move furniture away from windows and doors
  • Remove curtains
  • Stay away from outside windows and walls

If trapped in a car or outdoors

  • Immediately call 911 to provide your location
  • Stay low to decrease the effects of heat and smoke
  • Steer clear of fuel sources, if possible
  • Stay in a near a water source, in a rocky area or roadway
  • Breathe through moist cloth to avoid inhaling smoke
  • If possible, cover yourself with a wet towel, coat, or even dirt​

After a Wildfire

Once the local fire or law enforcement authorities say that it’s safe, you may return to your home. Because fire damages the stability of a structure, have a professional examine your home or office and certify that it’s safe before entering.

Returning home

Be vigilant when returning to your area, as hidden dangers such as ash pits, hidden embers and hot surfaces can cause grave injury.

  • Keep a "fire watch" for several hours after a fire. Check and double-check for sparks or hidden embers throughout the house, including the roof and the attic
  • Be careful when entering burned areas as hazards may persist, such as hot spots that can flare up
  • Do not walk on smoldering surfaces as the ground may contain heat pockets that can cause severe injury or spark another fire
  • Check the attic, but if you spot smoke or fire, get out and call 911
  • Wear leather gloves to protect your hands and heavy, thick-soled shoes to protect your feet

Cleaning your home

Expect the environment to be filled with smoke, dust, and inspect your property for possibility of live embers, which can cause another fire.

  • Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator (dust mask)
  • Wet debris down to reduce inhaling dust particles
  • Be on the lookout for power lines that may be unstable due to the fire. Do not approach downed power lines and report them to 911.
  • Watch for ash pits (holes created by burned tree roots that are filled with hot ash), charred trees, smoldering debris, and live embers, and mark them for safety. Warn family and neighbors to stay away from them
  • Check the roof and gutters. If possible, hose them down to completely smother any remaining smoldering sparks or embers
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes​

Keep in touch

Expect power outages to linger for several days following a disaster. The portable battery-powered radio from your emergency kit will provide you with news updates when nothing else works.

  • Use other information sources, such as FEMA or American Red Cross apps, to get current information
  • Use texts and social media to communicate with family and friends
  • Telephones and cellular phone systems may be overwhelmed following a disaster, so use phones only for emergency calls​

Stay healthy

A wildfire may drastically alter the environment, and when it’s over, contaminants can be found in soil and water. If possible, wait for the local authorities to confirm the soil is not contaminated and the water is safe.

  • Immediately call 911 if you or someone you’re with has been burned. Cool and cover burns to reduce the chance of further injury or infection
  • Discard food exposed to heat, smoke, or soot. When in doubt, throw it out
  • Do not drink, brush teeth, prepare food, or wash/bathe in water you think may be contaminated
  • Follow the recommendations from your local health department (for example, authorities may recommend tetanus vaccines because the contaminated soil may contain bacteria)​

It is possible that during and after a wildfire, you may need to spend several days in a shelter. Download one of the American Red Cross or FEMA mobile apps so that you’re getting live updates on available shelters.

  • Take your emergency kit
  • Post a note in a clear view indicating where you can be found
  • If you have pets, call to inquire whether the shelter can accommodate pets. Red Cross shelters accept service animals
  • Contact out-of-area animal shelters for availability if your public shelter can not accommodate your pets with you. Do not leave them behind.​

Tornado Preparedness​

Although tornadoes touch down in many parts of the world, the greatest number of them hit the United States.

Because the Rocky Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico create conditions that favor tornadoes.

Each year, 1,200 tornadoes cause 70 human fatalities and 1,500 injuries nationwide on average. The tornado season peaks March through May in the southern states and June through August in the northern states. It’s important to note, however, that tornadoes can happen at any time of the year, not just during the peak season. But typically, they strike between 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm.

Categories of tornadoes​

  • Weak Tornadoes (EF0 or EF1): winds less than 110 mph, and last 1 – 10+ minutes
  • Strong Tornadoes (EF2 or EF3): winds 111-165 mph, may last 20 minutes or longer
  • Violent Tornadoes (EF4 or EF5): winds greater than 166 mph, can exceed 1 hour, cause 70% of all tornado deaths, but are rare​

Always remember

  • Tornadoes may look almost transparent until they pick up dust and debris or cloud forms within the funnel
  • On average, a tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but they can move in any direction and can suddenly change their course
  • Tornadoes can follow tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land

A tornado's destructive course can be more than one mile wide and 50 miles long and can devastate entire neighborhoods within seconds. You may have little warning, so be prepared to act quickly. After all, thorough planning is key to reducing injuries.

It's extremely important to know what to do before, during, and after a tornado if you want to stay safe.

Before a Tornado

To ensure that you can act quickly and get the best available protection during a tornado, you need to plan ahead. Know where you would go to have the highest possible level of protection from a tornado for every location where you spend a lot of time, such as home, office, school, or house of worship.

  • Find out whether you live, work, or frequently travel through regions prone to tornadoes
  • Stay informed and monitor weather reports
  • Know the difference between a tornado WATCH (a tornado is possible) and a tornado WARNING (a tornado is already happening or will hit soon)
  • Tornado warning means you need to GO TO YOUR SAFE PLACE IMMEDIATELY

Identify your tornado safe location

Plan with others and conduct tornado drills regularly. You will have greater success in getting to a shelter or other protective location quickly if you have identified this area in advance and practice getting there. Be sure to consider people with disabilities and others with access or functional needs, as well as pets.

  • Practice moving quickly to the safe location in the places where you live, work, or study
  • If you live in an area prone to frequent tornadoes, consider building or installing a FEMA safe room
  • If you live or work in mobile homes or buildings with long-span roofs, your community should consider building a community safe room or shelter
  • Identify possible safe locations. In a sturdy building, it should be a small, interior room without windows on the lowest level of the building. It could be as a closet or bathroom – preferably underground
  • If there are young children, seniors, people with access or functional needs in your family, as well as service animals, or pets, plan now how they can get to a protective location quickly
  • In most cases, when someone is hurt, a person on the scene will need to be able to provide the first assistance, before professional help arrives, so make sure you practice your first aid skills

Have a communication plan

In case your family members are not together when authorities issue a tornado watch or tornado warning, plan for how you will communicate with each other.

  • ​Keep important numbers written down in your wallet
  • Have children memorize the phone numbers and addresses, and know the emergency plans
  • Have a plan for how family members will contact one another during an emergency
  • Assign an out-of-area contact (such as a relative or family friend) who can coordinate family members' locations and information should you become separated
  • Make sure everyone is aware that sending texts is often faster than making a phone call
  • Decide on the location where your household members will meet after the tornado

Tornado emergency kit

Identify the things you would need most when you emerge from your protective location to find severe damage, no power, and no water. If possible, keep some of these items in your pre-identified protective place at home, work, school, or your place of worship. Have your children create their personal packs.

  • Battery-powered flashlight to inspect your home or office after the tornado has passed. Note: Do not use a battery-powered flashlight inside because, if gas is present, the battery could produce a spark and cause a fire. Have spare batteries
  • Battery-powered radio to listen for emergency updates
  • First aid kit
  • Warm clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants made of natural fabric. Also include work gloves and sturdy, thick-soled shoes to protect you from possible injury by broken glass or exposed nails
  • Whistle or air horn to help rescuers find you, should you get trapped by debris
  • Protective dust mask
  • Food and water supplies for a day or two; account for specific dietary considerations
  • Your medications and medical supplies
  • If you have children, a special item (toy, book, game) to provide comfort​
  • Include pet food, water, medicines, health records, a blanket, and a toy in your emergency kit​

During a Tornado

When the weather is warm, humid, and windy, or skies are threatening, monitor for severe weather watches and warnings. Staying on top of weather alerts and acting quickly is vital to your safety.

During a tornado watch

A tornado WATCH is issued when a tornado is possible, so you should stay alert and monitor further updates for severe weather notifications.

  • Remain inside, away from windows and doors
  • Listen to the radio or TV
  • Make sure your emergency kit is complete
  • Be vigilant during a thunderstorm watch as severe thunderstorms can cause tornadoes. Being prepared will give you more time should the conditions turn severe

During a tornado warning

​Officials issue a tornado WARNING when a tornado is already happening or is expected to occur soon.

At home​

  • Take shelter immediately! Go to your basement, safe room, or an interior room
  • Watch out for flying debris
  • Stay away from doors, outside walls, windows, and corners
  • Pick an interior wall and crouch on the floor near it or under a heavy table
  • Bend over, place your arms on the back of your head and neck to protect the vulnerable parts of your body
  • Cover yourself with any materials that may protect you from debris, such as cushions, a sleeping bag, or a blanket​

At work or school

  • Stay calm, act quickly
  • Follow your tornado drill and go to your tornado shelter location
  • ​Stay away from windows and large open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, or auditoriums

Outside

  • Sheds and storage facilities are not safe
  • Seek shelter in a building or a basement
  • Do not leave a sturdy building to try to escape a tornado
  • If getting quickly to a shelter is impossible, immediately get into a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy building. Buckle your seat belt.​

In your car

  • The best course of action is to drive to the closest shelter
  • Stay away from highway overpasses and bridges
  • Do not attempt to drive through violent winds and flying debris. Pull over, keeping your seat belt on and engine running. Lower your head below the window level, and cover it with your hands or a blanket
  • Alternatively, get to a flat location lower than the level of the roadway such as a ditch, and lie down, covering your head with your hands​

Pet safety

  • Get your pets to safety at the first sign of an approaching tornado
  • Put your cat in a carrier, your dog on a leash
  • Move your pets to the shelter well ahead of the storm

Tornado myths and facts

Tornadoes are surrounded by myths and misconceptions. Some of them are very dangerous and can urge you to make the wrong decision in a critical situation.

Myth 1: Rivers, lakes, and mountains protect areas from tornadoes.

Fact: No location is safe from tornadoes.

Myth 2: You should open windows before a tornado to equalize pressure and minimize damage.

Fact: All buildings leak air. Don't waste precious time opening windows. Leave them closed and get to safety.

Myth 3: Highway overpasses are safe places during tornadoes.

Fact: The area under a highway overpass is extremely dangerous during a tornado.

Myth 4: Bathrooms, hallways, and closets of a mobile home are safe areas during a tornado.

Fact: Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes! Immediately seek shelter in a sturdy building.

After a Tornado

Tornadoes can cause death and serious injury and can make buildings and roads extremely unsafe. Once the tornado has passed, and the warning is canceled, use extreme caution. Continue to listen to the news and weather updates.

After a tornado has passed, exercise extreme caution when leaving your shelter or safe room. Hazardous debris will be scattered around, while gas pipes and electrical lines may be downed and damaged.

  • Use extreme care when leaving a building
  • Avoid debris and sharp objects
  • Stay away from broken glass, power lines, and chemical spills
  • If you smell gas or chemical fumes, immediately evacuate the area and call 911
  • Do not use matches or lighters inside

If you're trapped

A severe tornado can destroy buildings and sturdy structures. If you get trapped under the debris, do not panic, scream, or start moving debris by yourself. Instead, make it easier for the rescuers to find you.

  • Stay where you are and cover your mouth with a cloth or mask to avoid breathing dust
  • Try not to move the debris around you or stir up dust
  • Send a text, if possible, or bang on a pipe or wall or use a whistle instead of shouting so that you do not breathe in dust

Cleanup safety

During post-tornado cleanup, some recovery and repair operations can cause injury. Be cautious around damaged buildings and exercise caution when removing debris.

  • Do not enter damaged buildings until professionals deem them as safe
  • Use caution when removing debris, doing repairs, and using chainsaw
  • Wear boots or sturdy shoes with heavy soles to protect your feet; injuries from exposed nails and debris are common after tornadoes
  • Take photos of damage to your property for insurance purposes​

Helping others

During the initial hours after a disaster, the first person to find someone injured is the person who should be administering first aid. Know the following basics to help those in need of immediate assistance.

  • When providing first aid, do not move anyone who is seriously injured unless they are in danger of further injury or death
  • If you must move an injured person, hold their head and neck in the position in which you found them
  • If an injured person is wearing a helmet, do not remove it; this could cause further injury

Infographic: Fire Safety Tips

It’s easy to see why fire safety is so important, especially since most fire-related deaths are preventable. Fires can start suddenly and spread quickly. A small flame can turn into a devastating fire in under 30 seconds, so preparation is key. The following can help families prevent fires, stay organized, and act fast if the unthinkable should occur.

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Infographic: Halloween Safety Tips

Most children go into hypermode on Halloween while parents put their worries on overdrive -- and with good reason. Halloween warrants precautions that go beyond candy inspections. Stranger Danger and killer candy aside, parents need to make sure they're doing all they can to keep their children safe, and that includes considering the safety of costumes, makeup, and possibly a rebreather in cautionary driving. Even "walking" transforms into its own kind of monster on Halloween. Check out the stats below and help spread the word. 

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