What to Do in a Natural Disaster

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by Rebelkid, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Rebelkid

    Rebelkid Regular Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    Emergencies and natural disasters can happen any time, in any place. Planning ahead can make dealing with emergencies easier, especially since communications and transportation, food and water supplies, and shelter may be disrupted. Natural disasters such as fires, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes affect thousands of people each year. Four main steps will help you know what to do to protect yourself during a natural disaster.

    Be Prepared

    The impact of any emergency or disaster can be lessened by being prepared and knowing what to do before, during and after the emergency has occurred. Know what warning signs your community has in place to signal an emergency. Learn to recognize these warning signals and what to do when they occur. Listen to local media outlets to find out forecasts and emergency instructions. During a natural disaster, keep phone lines open to notify local authorities.

    Learn the emergency plans for your work site, as well as your children's day care emergency plans. Also learn the community's evacuation route, particularly in low-lying areas that can flood and in volcanic areas. Take a first aid class. You may not have access to professional medical assistance.

    Make a Family Plan

    Families should organize a plan for what to do, where to go and safety precautions during a natural disaster. This plan should be in writing and every family member should receive a copy of it.

    Go from room to room in the house and imagine what would happen to each of the objects during disasters. Then identify potential "safe" areas, such as under desks during earthquakes or in cellars during tornadoes. Identify all potential exits that could be used during a natural disaster.

    Select a potential alternative meeting spot outside of your area in case family members are separated. Also, select a contact person located outside of your area so everybody can communicate via that chosen contact. Teach family members who are old enough how to turn off the gas, electricity and water at the main switches.

    Stockpile Supplies

    Always have at least five days worth of food and water available for each family member. Water should be stored in sealed containers and food should be composed of nonperishable goods, such as canned goods or food sealed packages.

    Keep an emergency kit handy with a battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra batteries, candles and matches. Also include a first aid kit, fire-fighting equipment for small fires, a battery-operated or solar-powered heater and any special medicines needed, such as insulin.


    Keep a fire-proof, waterproof safe with important family information, such as vital records, mortgage papers, medical records, insurance information and birth certificates, as well as other irreplaceable items. Medical devices should always be carried with you.

    Listen to the radio and television to find out if your area needs to evacuate. Then use recommended travel routes and leave immediately. Once in a safe area, stay there until you have been told by the authorities that it is safe to return.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  3. Rebelkid

    Rebelkid Regular Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    What to Do Before a Dam Failure

    Knowing your risk, making sure an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is in place, and evacuating when directed by emergency response officials are the most important steps you can take to staying safe from a dam failure. For information on how to prepare for a flood, visit Before A Flood.
    Ways to Plan Ahead

    Know your risk.

    Do you live downstream from a dam? Is the dam a high-hazard or significant-hazard potential dam?

    Find out who owns the dam and who regulates the dam.

    Once you determine that you live downstream from a high-hazard or significant-hazard potential dam and find out who owns the dam, see if a current EAP is in place for the dam. An EAP is a formal document that identifies potential emergency conditions at a dam and specifies preplanned actions to be followed to reduce property damage and loss of life. An EAP specifies actions the dam owner should take to take care of problems at the dam. It also includes steps to assist the dam owner in issuing early warning and notification messages to responsible downstream emergency management authorities of the emergency.

    If there is a dam failure or an imminent dam failure and you need to evacuate, know your evacuation route and get out of harm's way. In general, evacuation planning and implementation are the responsibility of the state and local officials responsible for your safety. However, there may be situations where recreational facilities, campgrounds, or residences are located below a dam and local authorities will not be able to issue a timely warning. In this case, the dam owner should coordinate with local emergency management officials to determine who will warn you and in what priority.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  4. Rebelkid

    Rebelkid Regular Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    What to Do Before an Earthquake

    Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Identifying potential hazards ahead of time and advance planning can reduce the dangers of serious injury or loss of life from an earthquake. Repairing deep plaster cracks in ceilings and foundations, anchoring overhead lighting fixtures to the ceiling, and following local seismic building standards, will help reduce the impact of earthquakes.

    Six Ways to Plan Ahead

    Check for Hazards in the Home

    Fasten shelves securely to walls.
    Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
    Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
    Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
    Brace overhead light fixtures.

    Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
    Secure a water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
    Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
    Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.

    Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors

    Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
    Against an inside wall.
    Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.
    In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.

    Educate Yourself and Family Members

    Read the "How-To Series" for information on how to protect your property from earthquakes.
    Teach children how and when to call 1-0-0, police, or fire department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
    Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.

    Have Disaster Supplies on Hand

    Flashlight and extra batteries.
    Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
    First aid kit and manual.
    Emergency food and water.
    Nonelectric can opener.
    Essential medicines.
    Cash and credit cards.
    Sturdy shoes.

    Develop an Emergency Communication Plan

    In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
    Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

    Help Your Community Get Ready

    Publish a special section in your local newspaper with emergency information on earthquakes. Localize the information by printing the phone numbers of local emergency services offices.
    Conduct a week-long series on locating hazards in the home.
    Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do during an earthquake.
    Provide tips on conducting earthquake drills in the home.
    Interview representatives of the gas, electric, and water companies about shutting off utilities.
    Work together in your community to apply your knowledge to building codes, retrofitting programs, hazard hunts, and neighborhood and family emergency plans.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  5. Rebelkid

    Rebelkid Regular Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    Before a Flood

    To prepare for a flood, you should:
    Avoid building in a floodprone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
    Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
    Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
    Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the homes in your area.
    Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  6. Rebelkid

    Rebelkid Regular Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    Tsunamis (pronounced soo-ná-mees), also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”), are a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite. A tsunami can move hundreds of miles per hour in the open ocean and smash into land with waves as high as 100 feet or more.

    From the area where the tsunami originates, waves travel outward in all directions. Once the wave approaches the shore, it builds in height. The topography of the coastline and the ocean floor will influence the size of the wave. There may be more than one wave and the succeeding one may be larger than the one before. That is why a small tsunami at one beach can be a giant wave a few miles away.

    All tsunamis are potentially dangerous, even though they may not damage every coastline they strike.

    Earthquake-induced movement of the ocean floor most often generates tsunamis. If a major earthquake or landslide occurs close to shore, the first wave in a series could reach the beach in a few minutes, even before a warning is issued. Areas are at greater risk if they are less than 25 feet above sea level and within a mile of the shoreline. Drowning is the most common cause of death associated with a tsunami. Tsunami waves and the receding water are very destructive to structures in the run-up zone. Other hazards include flooding, contamination of drinking water, and fires from gas lines or ruptured tanks.

    How can I protect myself from a tsunami?

    Take protective measures:

    Know Your Tsunami Terms

    Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a tsunami hazard:

    An earthquake occurred in the Pacific basin, which might generate a tsunami and produce strong currents or waves dangerous to those in or near the water. Coastal regions historically prone to damage due to strong currents induced by tsunamis are at the greatest risk. The threat may continue for several hours after the arrival of the initial wave, but significant widespread inundation is not expected for areas under an advisory. Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include closing beaches, evacuating harbors and marinas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so. Advisories are normally updated to continue the advisory, expand/contract affected areas, upgrade to a warning, or cancel the advisory.

    Information Statement
    An earthquake occurred or a tsunami watch, advisory, or warning was issued for another section of the ocean. In most cases, information statements are issued to indicate there is no threat of a destructive tsunami and to prevent unnecessary evacuations as the earthquake may have been felt in coastal areas. An information statement may, in appropriate situations, caution about the possibility of destructive local tsunamis. Information statements may be re-issued with additional information, though normally these messages are not updated. However, a watch, advisory, or warning may be issued for the area, if necessary, after analysis and/or updated information becomes available.

    A potential tsunami with significant widespread inundation is imminent or expected. Warnings alert the public that widespread, dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents is possible and may continue for several hours after arrival of the initial wave. Warnings also alert emergency management officials to take action for the entire tsunami hazard zone. Appropriate actions to be taken by local officials may include the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas, and the repositioning of ships to deep waters when there is time to safely do so. Warnings may be updated, adjusted geographically, downgraded, or canceled. To provide the earliest possible alert, initial warnings are normally based only on seismic information.

    A tsunami was or may have been generated, but is at least two hours travel time to the area in watch status. The watch area may be upgraded to an advisory or warning or canceled based on updated information and analysis. Therefore, emergency management officials and the public should prepare to take action. Watches are normally issued based on seismic information without confirmation that a destructive tsunami is underway.

    What to do Before and During a Tsunami

    The following are guidelines for what you should do if a tsunami is likely in your area:
    Turn on your radio to learn if there is a tsunami warning if an earthquake occurs and you are in a coastal area.

    Move inland to higher ground immediately and stay there.

    Stay away from the beach. Never go down to the beach to watch a tsunami come in. If you can see the wave you are too close to escape it.

    CAUTION - If there is noticeable recession in water away from the shoreline this is nature's tsunami warning and it should be heeded. You should move away immediately.

    What to Do After a Tsunami

    The following are guidelines for the period following a tsunami:
    Stay away from flooded and damaged areas until officials say it is safe to return.

    Stay away from debris in the water; it may pose a safety hazard to boats and people.

    Save yourself - not your possessions

    Flood form Tsunami's


    Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.

    However, all floods are not alike. Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days. But flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path. Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached, but still can be destructive. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods.

    Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood. Every state is at risk from this hazard.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  7. Rebelkid

    Rebelkid Regular Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    Thunderstorms and Lightning

    Facts About Thunderstorms
    Facts About Lightning
    How Can I Protect Myself From a Thunderstorm or Lightning?

    All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. In the United States, an average of 300 people are injured and 80 people are killed each year by lightning. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms. Other associated dangers of thunderstorms include tornadoes, strong winds, hail, and flash flooding. Flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities—more than 140 annually—than any other thunderstorm-associated hazard.

    Dry thunderstorms that do not produce rain that reaches the ground are most prevalent in the western United States. Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires.

    Facts About Thunderstorms

    They may occur singly, in clusters, or in lines.

    Some of the most severe occur when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.

    Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 3 0 minutes to an hour.

    Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable for thunderstorm development.

    About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe—one that produces hail at least three-quarters of an inch in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher, or produces a tornado.

    Facts About Lightning

    Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property.

    Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.

    "Heat lightning" is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction!

    Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.

    Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000, but could be reduced even further by following safety precautions.

    Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.

    To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:

    Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.

    "If thunder roars, go indoors" because no place outside is safe when lightning is in the area. We want everyone to stay indoors until 30 minutes have passed after they hear the last of the thunder.

    Summary of Lightning Safety Tips for Inside the Home

    Avoid contact with corded phones

    Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.

    Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.

    Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.

    Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.

    The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:

    Postpone outdoor activities.

    Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.

    Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.

    Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.

    Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.

    Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.

    Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.

    Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.

    Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

    Avoid the following:

    Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.

    Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.

    Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.

    Anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
  8. Rebelkid

    Rebelkid Regular Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    What Should I Do after a Nuclear Explosion? :happy_2:

    An extremely bright flash could indicate a nuclear detonation. Many nuclear explosions have a "double flash" effect, and some can glare for several seconds. Looking at a nuclear flash even momentarily could cause blinding burns.

    Immediately "duck and cover": that is, get your head down and try to find something to hide under that may protect you -- or at least your head -- from collapsing walls and falling objects. Don't wait for the sound of an explosion; the blast wave of an atomic detonation expands at the speed of sound, and you may only have seconds to react.

    The blast wave could take up to a minute to reach you. Wait twice this long before assuming you are safe from the blast.

    Maintain your cover for several seconds after you feel an impact. The blast may effect your location more than once as it reflects off of hills or structures, and powerful wind gusts may be blow back towards the explosion or swirl unpredictably.

    Your next concern should be fire. A nuclear flash can ignite fires even in areas far enough away to escape the blast. Dark, flammable surfaces facing the fireball are especially vulnerable, but all damaged structures carry their own fire risks, especially from broken electrical wiring or natural gas leaks. If you cannot be certain your structure is not on fire or filling with gas, follow the evacuation procedure for your location and get out immediately.

    If this may have been a nuclear blast, you need to think carefully about where you want to be during the next few minutes, hours, and days.

    If you believe this attack might be part of a nuclear war, and you are in a major city or militarily important location, it is very likely that more attacks will occur shortly. Stay in the safest place you can reach within seconds, and remain there for at least a few minutes. If you need to move outside, be constantly on the lookout for potential shelter in the event of another attack.

    Your next concern is fallout: highly radioactive dust or flakes that will fall to the earth after the blast. This can start landing within minutes and continue falling for hours, and can spread over many miles. It will fall mostly in the immediate vicinity of the blast and in the areas downwind of it. It may affect your area even if you felt little or nothing of the blast, and can remain deadly for days or weeks. As soon as safely possible, you will want to determine where you are in relation to the blast and the direction of the wind.

    A mushroom cloud is an obvious clue to where a blast occurred, but dust, smoke, or structures may obscure your view. In these cases, look to fallen poles, trees, or signage. Most will have fallen in the direction opposite the blast. You may also look for flash burn damage, which would occur mostly on surfaces that had faced the explosion.

    Look to clouds and high trees to determine wind direction. If no wind direction is apparent, assume the prevailing wind pattern for your location. If you do not know this information, assume that the wind blows west to east if you are in the middle latitudes of the northern hemisphere (i.e. North America), and east to west if you are in the middle latitudes of the southern hemisphere.

    If you are downwind of the blast, do not attempt to outrun the fallout by moving farther downwind. Instead, plan to move in a direction perpendicular to the wind and thereby sidestep most of the fallout. If you are lucky enough to receive official instructions regarding the fallout from this attack, follow them. Otherwise, gather any available supplies and leave as soon as possible. Try to put several miles between you and the likely fallout path.

    The pattern of possible fallout expands with distance. The farther you are downwind, the farther you will have to go before you can be sure you are out of harm's way. Travel after a nuclear attack could prove slow and dangerous, and you should weigh your options carefully before deciding to move.

    Whether you have moved or not, you can add an extra measure of safety by creating a "fallout room" at your location. The ideal fallout room is a small interior room that will put as much distance and mass as possible between yourself and the outside of the structure. Cellars and basements are good choices. Take any measures you can to thicken the walls and ceiling of this room by moving furniture and other items. Plan to spend as much time as possible in this room for the next few days, and to a lesser extent the next few weeks. Take all possible steps to avoid breathing, consuming or even touching outside dust during your stay.

    Whatever your plans, keep in mind that electronic-dependent devices in the vicinity, including most motor vehicles, may have been rendered inoperable by an electromagnetic pulse accompanying the nuclear explosion.

    Protect thyroid

    You can take potassium iodide tablets to protect your thyroid. The thyroid is most vulnerable to radiation poisoning.

    A booklet issued in 1960-1980s Britain. Protect and Survive. stated before an attack paint windows white (it reflects heat) stay indoors in a single room or cupboard(fallout room) (away from outside walls if possible), Stock up on supplies, Prop thick wooden doors or simalar against an inside wall away from windows at a 45degree angle and fix to wall or floor, Stay in shelter for 48 hours and 2 weeks in fallout room, remove burnable materials e.g. paper or thin wood
  9. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

    Apr 5, 2009
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    An extremely bright flash could indicate a nuclear detonation. Many nuclear explosions have a "double flash" effect, and some can glare for several seconds. Looking at a nuclear flash even momentarily could cause blinding burns. Immediately "duck and cover": that is, get your head down and try to find something to hide under and finally "kiss your a$$ goodbye" :)

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