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Major Types of Emergencies & Disasters:
Flooding - may result from severe weather (e.g. heavy rains, hurricanes), geological events (e.g. earthquakes, tsunamies) and breaches in levees, dams or other water containment and management structures (typically occurs with little warning). Homes in flood zones should be built on high ground or elevated foundations and existing homes shouls be protected by erecting flood barriers. Residents in flood zones should move important belongings and electronics to the upper floors whenever a flood warning is issued for your area. During periods of flooding, never enter or try to cross moving waters either in cars or on foot, as the risk of being carried away or drowning is a real possibility.
Hurricanes - are giant spiraling tropical storms that can pack wind speeds of over 160 miles (257 kilometers) an hour and unleash more than 2.4 trillion gallons (9 trillion liters) of rain a day. These same tropical storms are known as cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, and as typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean. Hurricane-prone areas recognize certain times of the year as "hurricane season" (Atlantic Ocean’s season peaks from mid-August to late October and averages five to six hurricanes per year). Proper home defense tactics against hurricanes include installing hurricane shutters, trimming or removing trees which can fall and damage roofs, and checking for loose roof shingles. In addition to wind damage, hurricanes also present the threat of flooding, which means preparations for hurricanes must also include precautions that one takes against flooding.
Hurricane Preparedness - Be Ready (National Weather Service)
Tornadoes - are violently rotating columns of air that are in contact with both the earth's surface and a cumulonimbus cloud (or in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud). They are often referred to as twisters or cyclones. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but they are typically seen as a visible condensation funnel with the narrow end touching the earth and often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Conducting practice drills are important due to quick reaction time required and should include actually seeking refuge in a basement, safe room or a bathroom (preferrably tube) at or below ground level in the center of the structure (away from any windows or doors). Structures should have their walls secured to the foundation as well a reinforced roof securely attached to the walls using heavy duty hurricane straps.
Tornado Safety (Kids Crossing - National Center for Atmospheric Research)
Hazardous Waste & Toxic Spills - can cause death, injury or birth defects to living organisms. It spreads quite easily and can contaminate lakes, rivers, soil and the atmosphere. It may pose long-term health and environmental risks to the area directly impacted as well as adjacent areas. These toxins may be liquid, solid, gas or sludge like sunstances that contain chemicals, heavy metals, radiation or dangerous pathogens. Some toxins, such as mercury, persist in the environment and accumulate. Thus, the best course of action is take take whatever percautions are necessasry to avoide any type of incident from occurring. In the event an incident does occur, stay clear and on the up wind and/or uphill side, contact appropriate authorities as quickly as possible and follow any instructions they provide, flush / rinise off any potential contaminents with lots of know safe potable running water and done any available protective gear.
Earthquakes - typically provide very little advance warning and can topple even modern heavily reinforced buildings. Whether or not one lives in a designated earthquake zone, it is advisable to secure cabinets, appliances and bookcases to inhibit them from falling over as wekk as moving chairs and desks out from beneath ceiling fixtures, fans and lights. During an earthquake event, you should shelter under a desk with and head and neck covered. Since doorways in modern homes may not be strong enough to provide protection, they are not safe places to take refuge. People should not attempt to enter or leave a building, as falling debris and electric wires could present potentially fatal hazards. Earthquake safety drills that employ the outlined techniques are an important step in being appropriately prepared.
Wildfires - are typically associated with weather related events such as long droughts or an extended heat wave and are ignited by lightning strikes or some reckless action such as not properly extinguishing a camp fire, improperly discarding a ciggerate, exhaust system on automobiles or other similiar careless human behavior. As a result, many wildfire-prone areas have designated "wildfire seasons," typically during the summer months. Homeowners can best prepare for these disasters by fireproofing their roofs, keeping gutters and roofs clean, and clearing away dead, dry vegetation from around their houses. When planning landscaping projects, planting fire-resistant vegetation such as ice plant, is preferable to cedar trees, which are more flammable. Watering down roofs, lawn grass and nearby vegetation, is another good defense against wildfires, as is moving all flammable furniture and other materials indoors.
Protect your Home, Property & Forest from Wildfire (Colorado State University)
Volcanoes - have vast potential for widespread destrution and devistation. While domed roofs can reduce the threat of collapse under the weight of volcanic ash, no home can survive a direct hit from lava rivers and pyroclastic flows. Lava flows reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and will burn, melt and bury homes caught in their path. Pyroclastic flows are a tsunami of hot and heavy debris that barrel down a volcano's sides at hundreds of miles per hour. In addition, eruptions can hurl large, burning volcanic debris at high speeds, striking and destroying homes like small meteorites. The best course of action in the event of an impending eruption is to evacuate. In some cases a homeowner can prepare well in advance for lava flows by digging deep trenches that can redirect the flow of lava around the property. Falling volcanic ash can damage both the eyes and lungs, which means people near volcanoes should wear breathing masks and goggles. In addition, ash can collapse roofs and block the flow of air into buildings. People in homes affected by ash-fall should not venture outside for long, and should consider evacuating because of the poor air quality.
Information & Resources to Help "Prepare, Respond & Recover" from Emergencies/Disasters:
Are You Ready Guides:
- FEMA Coping with Disaster
Be sure to check Insurance Policies for special provisions that apply during Hurricane Season such as increased deductibles, mandatory vessel haul-out & tie down requirements
Use of Auxiliary personnel, vessels, aircraft, radio facilities & assets to assist in performance of USCG Missions is authorized by United States Congress
USCG Hurricane Conditions or Alert Levels are set by District Commander or local CG Unit Officer-in-Charge (OIC) any time it is consider necessary or for drills / exercises after clearly identifying them as such.
Five Condition or Alert Levels are:
Sector Maryland-NCR Maritime Hurricane Contingency Plan