Preparing for Disasters
|Disasters are defined as type two types of disasters. the two are natural and man-made disasters. Natural disasters are made from nature which include flood, fire, earthquake, tornado and windstorm. The mam-made disasters are complex emergencies/conflicts, famine, displaced populations, industrial accidents and transport accidents that affect thousands of people. When you recognize the possible disasters that are around your area. You should know what to prepare for and protect yourself, your family and community. Recognizing an impending hazard and knowing what to do to protect yourself and your family will help you take effective steps to prepare beforehand and aid recovery after the event.
Some of the things you can do to prepare for is make a disaster kit and making a plan in case of an emergency. However each emergency is unique and knowing the actions to take for each threat will impact the specific decisions and preparations you make.
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Flooding happens all over the United States. Some of the flooding that happens are slow flooding and flash flooding. Slow flooding occurs when the water table is high and the water doesn't dissipate fast enough. Flash flooding occurs when a high amount of rain falls within a short amount of time. Also it mostly occurs in the high mountains traveling down to the lowest part of the area. These types of floods are the most dangerous to people and to their homes.
Here is what you should do in preparation for a flood:
- Make an emergency kit and make a communication plan.
- Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
- Consider installing "check valves" to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
- If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
Here are some steps that you could take to protect you, your family and your house from fires:
- Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it.
- Use fire-resistant or noncombustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling, or treat wood or combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking or trim with fire-retardant chemicals evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees. For example, hardwood trees are less flammable than pine, evergreen, eucalyptus or fir trees.
- Regularly clean roof and gutters.
- Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year. Keep the dampers in good working order. Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Standard 211. (Contact your local fire department for exact specifications.)
- Use 1/8-inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas, and the home itself. Also, screen openings to floors, roof and attic.
- Install a dual-sensor smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test monthly and change the batteries at least once each year.
- Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it's kept.
- Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
- Keep a ladder that will reach the roof.
- Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes.
- Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space.
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Earthquakes can happen at anytime during the day and night. It is important to prepare for the possible earthquakes that might happen. To begin preparing for an earthquake, you should first make a emergency kit and make a communication plan if you are cut off from your group or just letting your other family members that you are alright.
Here is a list of things that you can do to your house before a earthquake hits:
- 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.
- Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors securely to walls and away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit.
- Brace overhead light fixtures and top heavy objects.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
- Get appropriate professional help. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
- Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings are more resistant to breakage.
- Secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace and gas appliances by strapping them to the wall studs and bolting to the floor. If recommended by your gas company, have an automatic gas shut-off valve installed that is triggered by strong vibrations.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
- Be sure the residence is firmly anchored to its foundation.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.
- Locate safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Reinforce this information by moving to these places during each drill.
To begin preparing for a tornado you should make an emergency kit and a family communication plan if one was separated before the tornado hit.
Some of the precautions that you should take if the there is a tornado watch in your area is;
- Listen to the NOAA or any weather station that comes on when there is any weather warning.
- Look for approaching storms in the distance.
- Look out for these dangerous weather signs:
- Dark/greenish skies
- Large hail
- A large, low-lying cloud
- A loud roar (similar to a train)
- If you see approaching storms with the mentioned dangerous weather signs, take shelter immediately!