Natural Disasters;When They Strikes, How to React
In most cases of natural disaster, victims are caught completely off guard. The blindsiding event renders thousands every year to make split second choices that impact the outcome for both themselves and their family. Educating oneself and practicing to the point where reaction is replaced by calm muscle memory is important. It seems every year these events such as floods and earthquakes become more severe. Remember that no matter where you lived on earth, your region is pron to some natural event including fire; don't be a person who says, "it will never happen to me" because you simply never know.
Follow me as I outline natural disasters to include fires and how to react if you ever come under threat of one.
House Fire in Eugene, Oregon
Of all the following situations, this particular event is the most likely because it can occur anywhere for a multitude of reasons from faulty electrical wires in your walls to a cigarette not fully extinguished after use and coming into contact with some flammable source such as a carpet. test your alarms monthly to be sure they are working properly and that they are in all rooms.
Always be prepared! No one is invincible to this happening to them so better to be safe than sorry. The following are items to have at your disposal.
- Fire Extinguisher; Be sure to purchase multiple extinguishers, preferably "ABC" grade so they are effective against most fire causing items such as paper, liquids and electrical equipment. Inspect them yearly and be sure they are fully charged at all times. Using the extinguisher as follows by following the "P.A.S.S." method:
- P: Pull the pin from the handle.
- A: Aim nozzle at the base of the fire.
- S: Squeeze the handle
- S: Sweep from side to side
- Fireproof safe; this you can purchase for fairly cheap at stares like Walmart, Target, Lowes, etc. This has a two fold reason, first having all your valuable paperwork, photos, etc in fireproof setting saves months of issues trying to get a new social security card, birth certificate and any other document that requires forms to be filled out and time to be wasted as well possible irreplaceable items such as an old picture or family earlooms. The second reason is during the duress of collecting your family and escaping your home you won't have any motivation to run around your house to attempt to collect these things to save them from burning.
- Emergency Escape Ladder; if your home has two or more floors it would be a good idea to purchase one or even a few of these for the upper stories in your home. Many retail stores such as Walmart and Target, as well as Lowes and Home Depot have them for prices $40+ depending on the individual needs such as height from window to ground. Store them somewhere close to the windows that would be used in the case of an evacuation. Be sure to exercise drills with them especially if you have children to be sure of the quickest response time from first alarm to touching the ground outside.
- Evacuation Plan; These are not just for businesses and factories, it is important to know where to go in an emergency and where to meet up either in the home or outside. Run through the plan so that everyone is aware and prepared. If you have overnight visitors it is important that they be made aware of the plan, as well if an item such as a fire extinguisher or fire ladder is in the room they will be occupying, make them aware of the items and how to use them properly. Remember as long as they are in your home, they are your responsibility. Always have a primary exit of choice as well a secondary in case the primary becomes inhibited.
Remember if your alarm sounds and you're not in the kitchen cooking something is emitting smoke to sound it, so treat every alarm as the real deal and activate your emergency evacuation plan. Quickly collect your family and get to the nearest window (Fire Ladder if elevated floor) or door designated, always have a secondary plan in case your primary exit of choice is blocked by fire or smoke; if you see or encounter smoke hit the floor, smoke rises, so the idea is to stay below it to prevent becoming subdued to smoke inhalation.
Before you open any door, check the doorknob, if it is hot chances are you have a fire in that room so try to avoid it. If you do succumb to flames and your clothing catches fire immediately Stop, Drop and Roll to put out the flames. When exited, get as far away from the house as possible and dial 911 if you haven't done so already.
2 Story Fire Ladder
Tornado Ripping Apart House
Tornadoes hit without much warning and can leave total devastation in their wake. Take all Tornado watches and warnings seriously because these are in reality your only real indicator of the potential of a strike, Unlike hurricanes and thunderstorms that can be traced and tracked, a tornado is a sudden event that is almost impossible for a meteorologist to pinpoint until after it has formed and is extending to the ground and even then they rely on mostly it being called in be another source, so take no indication lightly. If you spot a funnel cloud forming in your area, call your local news immediately as you are taking shelter so that it can be reported quickly over the radio and TV to alert others in the area, YOU COULD SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE!
Items to have in case of a tornado event:
- Flashlight ; in case of a night tornado, loss of electricity or your evacuation point is a dark area such as a cellar or basement being able to see is essential to survival, be sure the batteries work at all times be testing the light once a month.
- AM/FM Handheld Radio; a tornado will destroy everything in its path causing you to lose television and radio service in your home and possibly even area if enough power lines fall, being able to listen to weather reports as well where local relief stations and shelters are located is also essential. Simply knowing when it is safe to come out is critical, so you don't come out too soon assuming the storm has passed, remember a large storm system can produce multiple tornadoes. Have both the radio and flashlight together in a location that is quick to access and near the door you will be using to evacuate or the room you'll be using in your home to ride out the tornado.
A tornado is a high wind, high impact event so being aware of the very structure you're in is pivotal in a tornado warning.
If you are in a manufactured building such as a trailer home or trailer office GET OUT! It is a known fact that trailer parks are always the most devastated areas of a tornadoes path, usually resembling a war zone. Even if anchored down the very nature of the "portable" buildings make them almost certain death traps for the occupants inside. It is important to have a pre-designated area to evacuate to in the event of a tornado warning, you evacuation point should be a solidly build building such as "brick and mortar" home that is stronger to such threats. Even if it's a neighbors house, survival is the only thing that matters at this point, having a plan with a local home owner or business owner could be crucial in your evacuation plans as well it builds a sense of community.
When in a permanent building such as a business or house get to a low level room including a basement, Do Not Go Upstairs. These rooms should have no windows such as a closet, hallway or bathroom. Also find something to cover your body with including your head such as a blanket or sleeping bag. Remember to be on the lowest floor but be aware of what rooms are above you, the tornado, if a direct hit occurs, will level your home and anything above you will come down on top of you such as beds, dressers and other heavy items, so try to avoid rooms that have this risk factor. It may seem an inconvenience but if you live in a tornado susceptible area it is important that you take these steps to ensure you have at least one safe room to get to if your house come under threat and that it is easily accessible, remember that tornadoes strike without warning and are quick, also that weathermen can't predict where that will occur, even their path once on land is not 100% predictable, they can literally jump over one house and come back down on the neighboring home. Get to this location with your flashlight and radio, have the radio tuned already to your local news/weather station and follow the updates as you recede to your safe area in your home.
If you are caught outside either driving (or walking) and you spot a funnel cloud above immediately seek shelter, DO NOT TRY TO OUTRUN THE TORNADO when in congested areas. Also, though movies tell you otherwise, do not seek an overpass to hide under, in fact a wind tunnel effect happens in such locations and debris is more likely to pass through the underpass at a greater speed; debris is the largest recorded reason for fatalities ion a tornado. Instead seek low level or areas of depression such as a ditch and cover your head, the tornadoes funnel will not dip into the ditch instead it will pass over it also you are more protected from flying debris.
American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger
Hurricane Wilma 2005
Hurricanes & Typhoons!
Though called two different things, hurricanes and typhoons' effects are just the same and knowing how to prepare for them is the difference between survival and being counted as another statistical fatality. Both of these extreme weather events starts over their respective oceans, churning and gaining strength until the landmass in their path intercepts it, bombarding land and those living on it whether it be island or coastal region with high intensity storm surges of high velocity winds and rain accompanied by flooding that leaves these areas destroyed. Though very accurately tracked where these storms will make landfall isn't always 100% clear so if you live in an area that lays in the area in which it could strike be on high alert and prepare to deploy your plan of action.
Always obey evacuation orders for your area if one is declared, for officials to make this call then expect that what's coming is extreme, they wouldn't uproot an entire population for no just cause. You may have a feeling of pride to ride it out but keep in mind those you effect if you succumb to the storm and become a fatality, it's not just about you but those around you. If you try to stay others may as well, evacuate, even if there have been past evacuations and the storm had missed, it's never worth the risk.
If you live in a known hazard area such as Florida,USA or Samar,Philippians, you should always be on the ready during your storm seasons and if you are simply vacationing in areas that come under threat, be on alert.
If on vacation it may be wise to cut your trip short and return to your home; there will be enough locals in the areas trying to prepare and survive the storm adding hundreds or thousands of vacationers will add to the havoc, if of coarse you are in an area such as an island like Puerto Rico follow all directions from local officials, they know this area better than you and they know which areas are safer than others for you to evacuate to. If you do not speak the local language, attempt to find someone who is bilingual in your language as well as the local language so that no instructions are missed, communication is survival.
Items to have it preparation of these storms as stated by the American Red Cross:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Dust masks and goggles for every member of the household
- Sturdy shoes
- AM/FM Hand Radio
Secure and cover all windows in the coming storm, if you live in an area that is often under threat of these type of storms investing in permanent storm shutters may be in your interest. Also obtaining a back-up generator is a good idea in case of the highly possible event of power loss, high winds are notorious for bringing down power lines and flooding by the storms can flood the power stations supplying power to those lines. Anything not tied down such as trash cans and outdoor décor should brought inside to help limit the impending flying debris brought in by the winds as well you won't have to replace the items after the storm passes.
If you are home when the storm reaches land, hopefully because an evacuation wasn't declared, and because you refused to leave, stay away from all doors and windows. Find a sturdy room such as your bathroom on the main floor to ride out the storm as it passes over, remember that basements can become flooded due to the storm surge so stay alert if you do try to seek shelter in a basement. keep your radio tuned into the local weather reports to stay aware of where the storm is in relation to you as well as where any shelters have been set up for after the storm.
The Eye of the Storm, remember that these storms are circular with a hollowed out area in the middle called the eye. When the eye passes over it will seem calm, as if the storm has ended, this is deceptive, once the eye passes the other wall of the storm will strike as strong as the first wall had so again stay secured in your safe area until weather officials give the all clear.
A tsunami is a series of large waves that are reflective of an event such as an earthquake or underwater explosion that has caused the oceans water in that area to become displaced. The two sure signs of an impending tsunami wave is coastal quake lasting 20 or more seconds, the second is the most important sign, A SUDDEN RAPID RESEEDING OF COASTAL WATERS INTO THE OCEAN EXPOSING LAND (SAND) THAT NORMALLY WOULDN'T BE SEEN, GET AWAY NOW! Get inland immediately!
If an earthquake has occurred first get on the ground away from falling objects, once it has passed you may have only minutes to respond to a impending tsunami. collect your family and pets and get to higher ground at once. Do not be tempted to watch the waves as the breach the shore, if you can see them you are too close. The speed of the waves is far greater than how fast you can run so do not be tempted to watch, just run until higher ground is accomplished.
If there is warning of a tsunami do not take it lightly, following all evacuation instructions set forth by officials, if you are visiting the area on vacation this is even more important as you are not as familiar with the area as the locals are.
Boston, MA Snow-lapse of Blizzard 2015
Blizzards are all about preparation seeing as it has the potential to pin you in your home for days possibly even without power. The following list of items is the suggested inventory by the American Red Cross.
- Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
- Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Sand, rock salt or non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
- Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and extra blankets and warm clothing for all household members
- Ample alternate heating methods such as fireplaces or wood- or coal-burning stoves
Official Websites of Disaster Relevance
These official sites offer further detail into these and other emergency situations.
American Red Cross
- American Red Cross | Disaster Relief, CPR Certification, Donate Blood
Disaster relief at home and abroad, CPR certification and first aid courses, blood donation, and emergency preparedness. Support the American Red Cross today.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. It plays several distinct roles within the Department of Commerce.