Thursday, March 22, 2012

Disinfecting After A Flood Part 3


A terrorist attack with conventional weapons such as firearms, explosives or incendiary devices in the United States remains possible, though unlikely.

BEFORE
Learn about the nature of terrorism. Terrorists often choose targets that offer little danger to themselves and areas with relatively easy public access. Foreign terrorists look for visible targets where they can avoid detection before or after an attack such as international airports, large cities, major international events, resorts, and high-profile landmarks. Learn about the different types of terrorist weapons including explosives, kidnappings, hijackings, arson, and shootings.

Prepare to deal with a terrorist incident by adapting many of the same techniques used to prepare for other crises. Be alert and aware of the surrounding area.  The very nature of terrorism suggests that there may be little or no warning. Take precautions when traveling.  Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers.  Do not leave luggage unattended. Learn where emergency exists are located. Think ahead about how to evacuate a building, subway or congested public area in a hurry. Learn where staircases are located. Notice your immediate surroundings.  Be aware of heavy or breakable objects that could move, fall or break in an explosion.

Preparing for a Building Explosion
The use of explosives by terrorists can result in collapsed buildings and fires.  People who live or work in a multi-level building can do the following:

  Review emergency evacuation procedures.  Know where fire exits are located. Keep fire extinguishers in working order.  Know where they are located, and how to use them. Learn first aid.  Contact the local chapter of the American Red Cross for additional information. Keep the following items in a designated place on each floor of the building. Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, Several flashlights and extra batteries, First aid kit and manual,
Several hard hats, Fluorescent tape to rope off dangerous areas.

Bomb Threats
 If you receive a bomb threat, get as much information from the caller as possible.  Keep the caller on the line and record everything that is said.  Notify the police and the building management. After you've been notified of a bomb threat, do not touch any suspicious packages.  Clear the area around the suspicious package and notify the police immediately.  In evacuating a building, avoid standing in front of windows or other potentially hazardous areas.  Do not restrict sidewalk or streets to be used by emergency officials.

DURING
In a building explosion, get out of the building as quickly and calmly as possible. If items are falling off of bookshelves or from the ceiling, get under a sturdy table or desk. If there is a fire. Stay low to the floor and exit the building as quickly as possible. Cover nose and mouth with a wet cloth. When approaching a closed door, use the palm of your hand and forearm to feel the lower, middle and upper parts of the door.  If it is not hot, brace yourself against the door and open it slowly. If it is hot to the touch, do not open the door--seek an alternate escape route. Heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling. Stay below the smoke at all times.

AFTER
If you are trapped in debris:Use a flashlight. Stay in your area so that you don't kick up dust.  Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing. Tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are.  Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort--shouting can cause a person to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

Assisting Victims
 Untrained persons should not attempt to rescue people who are inside a collapsed building.  Wait for emergency personnel to arrive.

Chemical Agents
Chemical agents are poisonous gases, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants.  Most chemical agents cause serious injuries or death. Severity of injuries depends on the type and amount of the chemical agent used, and the duration of exposure. Were a chemical agent attack to occur, authorities would instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately. Exposure to chemical agents can be fatal.  Leaving the shelter to rescue or assist victims can be a deadly decision.  There is no assistance that  the untrained can offer that would likely be of any value to the victims of chemical agents.

Biological Agents
Biological agents are organisms or toxins that have illness-producing effects on people, livestock and crops. Because biological agents cannot necessarily be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred.  If government officials become aware of a biological attack through an informant or warning by terrorists, they would most likely instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately. A person affected by a biological agent requires the immediate attention of professional medical personnel.  Some agents are contagious, and victims may need to be quarantined.  Also, some medical facilities may not receive victims for fear of contaminating the hospital population.

FACT SHEET: THUNDERSTORMS AND LIGHTNING
Some thunderstorms can be seen approaching, while others hit without warning. It is important to learn and recognize the danger signs and to plan ahead.

BEFORE
Learn the thunderstorm danger signs. Dark, towering, or threatening clouds. Distant lightning and thunder. Have disaster supplies on hand

Flashlight with 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

Check for hazards in the yard. Dead or rotting trees and branches can fall during a severe thunderstorm and cause injury and damage. Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a thunderstorm. Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water.
Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, fire department, and which radio station to tune for emergency information.

Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings
A severe thunderstorm watch is issued by the National Weather Service when the weather conditions are such that a severe thunderstorm (damaging winds 58 miles per hour or more, or hail three-fourths of an inch in diameter or greater) is likely to develop.  This is the time to locate a safe place in the home and tell family members to watch the sky and listen to the radio or television for more information.

A severe thunderstorm warning is issued when a severe thunderstorm has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.  At this point, the danger is very serious and everyone should go to a safe place, turn on a battery-operated radio or television, and wait for the "all clear" by the authorities. Learn how to respond to a tornado and flash flood. Tornadoes are spawned by thunderstorms and flash flooding can occur with thunderstorms.  When a "severe thunderstorm warning" is issued, review what actions to take under a "tornado warning" or a "flash flood warning."

Develop an emergency communication plan. In case family members are separated from one another during a thunderstorm (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together. 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 knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person. Contact you local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on thunderstorms and lightning.

DURING
If indoors:
Secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture that could blow away or cause damage or injury.  Take light objects inside. Shutter windows securely and brace outside doors. Listen to a battery operated radio or television for the latest storm information. Do not handle any electrical equipment or telephones because lightning could follow the wire.  Television sets are particularly dangerous at this time. Avoid bathtubs, water faucets, and sinks because metal pipes can transmit electricity.

If outdoors:

Attempt to get into a building or car. If no structure is available, get to an open space an squat low to the ground as quickly as possible.  (If in the woods, find an area protected by low clump of trees--never stand underneath a single large tree in the open.) Be aware of the potential for flooding in low-lying areas. kneel or crouch with hands on knees. Avoid tall structures such as towers, tall trees, fences, telephone lines, or power lines. Stay away from natural lightning rods such as golf clubs, tractors, fishing rods, bicycles, or camping equipment. Stay from rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water. If you are isolated in a level field or prairie and you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightning is about to strike), drop to your knees and bend forward, putting your hands on your knees.  Do not lie flat on the ground.

If in a car:

Pull safely onto the shoulder of the road away from any trees that could fall on the vehicle. Stay in the car and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rains subside. Avoid flooded roadways.

Estimating the Distance from a Thunderstorm
Because light travels much faster than sound, lightning flashes can be seen long before the resulting thunder is heard.  Estimate the number of miles you are from a thunderstorm by counting the number of seconds between a flash of lightning and the next clap of thunder.  Divide this number by five.

Important: You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. Knowing how far away a storm is does not mean that you're in danger only when the storm is overhead.

Hail
Hail is produced by many strong thunderstorms.  Hail can be smaller than a pea or as large as a softball and can be very destructive to plants and crops. In a hailstorm, take cover immediately.  Pets and livestock are particularly vulnerable to hail, so bring animals into a shelter.

AFTER
Check for injuries. A person who has been struck by lightning does not carry an electrical charge that can shock other people.  If the victim is burned, provide first aid and call emergency medical assistance immediately. Look for burns where lightning entered and exited the body.  If the strike cause the victim's heart and breathing to stop, give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until medical professionals arrive and take over. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people,and people with disabilities. Report downed utility wires. Drive only if necessary. Debris and washed-out roads may make driving dangerous.

Mitigation
Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies.  Investing in preventive mitigation steps now, such as installing lightning rods to carry the electrical charge of lightning bolts safely to the ground or purchasing flood insurance, will help reduce the impact of severe thunderstorms in the future.  For more information on mitigation, contact your local emergency management office.

FACTSHEET: TORNADOES
When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or-death decisions.  Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.

BEFORE
Conduct tornado drills each tornado season. Designate an area in the home as a shelter, and practice having everyone in the family go there in response to a tornado threat. Discuss with family members the difference between a "tornado watch" and a "tornado warning. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on tornadoes. 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 a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together. 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.

Tornado Watches and Warnings 
A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when weather conditions are such that tornadoes are likely to develop.  This is time to remind family members where the safest places within your home are located, and listen to the radio or television for further developments.

A tornado warning is is issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar.  The danger is very serious and everyone should go to a safe place, turn on a battery-operated radio and wait for further instructions.

Mobile Homes
Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit.  When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a building with a strong foundation.If shelter is not available, lie in ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the unit.

Tornado Danger Signs
Learn these tornado danger signs:
Large hail: Tornadoes are spawned from powerful thunderstorms and the most powerful thunderstorms produce large hail.  Tornadoes frequently emerge from near the hail-producing portion of the storm. Calm before the storm: Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.

Cloud of debris: An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.

Funnel cloud: A visible rotating extension of the cloud base is a sign that a tornado may develop.  A tornado is evident when one or more of the clouds turns greenish (a phenomenon caused by hail) and a dark funnel descends.

Roaring noise: The high winds of a tornado can cause a roar that is often compared with the sound of a freight train.

Calm behind the storm: Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm.  It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

DURING
If at home:
Go at once to the basement, storm cellar, or the lowest level of the building. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Get away from the windows. Go to the center of the room.  Stay away from corners because they tend to attract debris. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it. Use arms to protect head and neck. If in a mobile home, get out and find shelter elsewhere.

If at work or school:

Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level. Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways, or shopping malls. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture such as a workbench or heavy table or desk and hold on to it. Use arms to protect head and neck.

If outdoors:
If possible, get inside a building. If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building.  Be aware of the potential for flooding. Use arms to protect head and neck.

If in a car:
Never try to outdrive a tornado in a car or truck.  Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air. Get out of the car immediately and take shelter in a nearby building. If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle.  Be aware of the potential for flooding.

AFTER
Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid when appropriate.  Don't try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.  Call for help.
Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information. Stay out of damaged buildings.  Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately.  Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes. Take pictures of the damage--both to the house and its contents--for insurance purposes. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

INSPECTING UTILITIES IN A DAMAGED HOME
Check for gas leaks--If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building.  Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home.  If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional. Look for electrical system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker.  If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Check for sewage and water lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using toilets and call a plumber.  If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap.  You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

MITIGATION
Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies.  Investing in preventive mitigation steps now, such as checking local building codes and ordinances about wind-resistant designs and strengthening unreinforced masonry, will help reduce the impact of tornadoes in the future.  For more information on mitigation, contact your local emergency management office.

FACT SHEET: TSUNAMIS
A tsunami is a series of waves that may be dangerous and destructive.  When you hear a tsunami warning, move at once to higher ground and stay there until local authorities say it is safe to return home.

BEFORE
Find out if your home is in a danger area. Know the height of your street above sea level and the distance of your street from the coast.  Evacuation orders may be based on these numbers. Be familiar with the tsunami warning signs. Because tsunamis can be caused by an underwater disturbance or an earthquake, people living along the coast should consider an earthquake or a sizable ground rumbling as a warning signal.  A noticeable rapid rise or fall in coastal waters is also a sign that a tsunami is approaching. Make sure all family members know how to respond to a tsunami. Make evacuation plans. Pick an inland location that is elevated.  After an earthquake or other natural disaster, roads in and out of the vicinity may be blocked, so pick more than one evacuation route. Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water. Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police or fire department, and which radio station to listen for official information. 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 a tsunami (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact."  After a disaster, often it's easier to call long distance.  Make sure everyone knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on tsunamis.

DURING
Listen to a radio or television to get the latest emergency information, and be ready to evacuate if asked to do so. If you hear an official tsunami warning or detect signs of a tsunami, evacuate at once.  Climb to higher ground.  A tsunami warning is issued when authorities are certain that a tsunami threat exists. 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. Return home only after the authorities advise it is safe to do so.  A tsunami is a series of waves.  Do not assume that one wave means that the danger over.  The next wave may be larger than the first one.  Stay out of the area.

AFTER
Stay tuned to a battery-operated radio for the latest emergency information. Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate.  Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.  Call for help. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Enter your home with caution. Use a flashlight when entering damaged buildings.  Check for electrical shorts and live wires.  Do not use appliances or lights until an electrician has checked the electrical system.
Open windows and doors to help dry the building. Shovel mud while it is still moist to give walls and floors an opportunity to dry. Check food supplies and test drinking water. Fresh food that has come in contact with flood waters may be contaminated and should be thrown out.  Have tap water tested by the local health department.

INSPECTING UTILITIES IN A DAMAGED HOME
Check for gas leaks--If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building.  Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home.  If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional. Look for electrical system damage--If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker.  If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Check for sewage and water lines damage--If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using toilets and call a plumber.  If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap.  You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

MITIGATION
Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies.  Investing in preventive mitigation steps now, such as checking local building codes and ordinances about wind-resistant designs and strengthening unreinforced masonry, will help reduce the impact of tornadoes in the future.  For more information on mitigation, contact your local emergency management office.

FACT SHEET: VOLCANOES
Volcanic eruptions can hurl hot rocks for at least 20 miles.  Floods, airborne ash, or noxious fumes can spread 100 miles or more.  If you live near a known volcano, active or dormant, be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice.

BEFORE
Learn about your community warning systems. Be prepared for these disasters that can be spawned by volcanoes.

Earthquakes
Flash floods
Landslides and mudflows
Thunderstorms
Tsunamis

Make evacuation plans. You want to get to high ground away from the eruption.  Plan a route out and have a backup route in mind. Develop an emergency communication plan. In case family members are separated from one another during a volcanic eruption (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together. 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 knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person. 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 medicinesCash and credit cards
Sturdy shoes
Get a pair of goggles and a throw-away breathing mask for each member of the household. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on volcanoes.

Evacuation
Although it may seem safe to stay at home and wait out an eruption, doing so could be very dangerous.  The rock debris from a volcano can break windows and set buildings on fire.  Stay safe.  Follow authorities' instructions and leave the area before the disaster begins.

DURING
Follow the evacuation order issued by authorities. Avoid areas downwind of the volcano.
If caught indoors:
Close all windows, doors, and dampers. Put all machinery inside a garage or barn.
Bring animals and livestock into closed shelters.

If trapped outdoors:
Seek shelter indoors. If caught in a rockfall, roll into a ball to protect head. Avoid low-lying area where poisonous gases can collect and flash floods can be most dangerous. If caught near a stream, beware of mudflows.

Protect yourself:
Wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Use goggles to protect eyes. Use a dust-mask or hold a damp cloth over face to help breathing. Keep car or truck engines off. Stay out of the area. A lateral blast of a volcano can travel many miles from the mountain. Trying to watch an erupting volcano is a deadly idea.

Mudflows
Mudflows are powerful "rivers" of mud that can move faster than people can walk or run.  Mudflows occur when rain falls through ash-carrying clouds or when rivers are damed during an eruption.  They are most dangerous close to stream channels.  When you approach a bridge, first look upstream.  If a mudflow is approaching or moving beneath the bridge, do not cross the bridge.  The power of the mudflow can destroy a bridge very quickly.

AFTER
Listen to a battery-powered radio or television for the latest emergency information. Stay away from volcanic ashfall.

When outside:
Cover your mouth and nose.  A number of victims of the Mount St. Helens volcano died from inhaling ash. Wear goggles to protect your eyes. Keep skin covered to avoid irritation or burns.
If you have a respiratory ailment, avoid contact with any amount of ash.  Stay indoors until local health officials advise it is safe to go outside. Avoid driving in heavy ashfall. Driving will stir up more ash that can clog engines and stall vehicles. Clear roofs of ashfall. Ashfall is very heavy and can cause buildings to collapse. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities.

FACT SHEET:  WILDLAND FIRES
The threat of wildland fires for people living near wildland areas or using recreational facilities in wilderness areas is real.  Advance planning and knowing how to protect buildings in these areas can lessen the devastation of a wildland fire.

BEFORE
Learn and teach safe fire practices. Build fires away from nearby trees or bushes. Always have a way to extinguish the fire quickly and completely. Never leave a fire--even a cigarette--burning unattented. Obtain local building codes and weed abatement ordinances for structures built near wooded areas. Use fire-resistant materials when building, renovating, or retrofitting structures.
Create a safety zone to separate the home from combustible plants and vegetation. Stone walls can act as heat shields and deflect flames. Swimming pools and patios can be a safety zone. Check for fire hazards around home.

Install electrical lines underground, if possible.  Keep all tree and shrub limbs trimmed so they don't come in contact with the wires. Prune all branches around the residence to a height of 8 to 10 feet.  Keep trees adjacent to buildings free of dead or dying wood and moss. Remove all dead limbs, needles, and debris from rain gutters. Store combustible or flammable materials in approved safety containers and keep them away from the house. Keep chimney clean. Avoid open burning completely, and especially during dry season. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and near sleeping areas. Make evacuation plans. Plan several routes in case the fire blocks escape route. Have disaster supplies on hand

Flashlight with 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 a wildland fire (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together. 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 knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

Fire-Resistant Building Materials
Avoid using wooden shakes and shingles for a roof.  Use tile, stucco, metal siding, brick, concrete block, rock, or other fire-resistant materials. Use only thick, tempered safety glass in large windows and sliding glass doors. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on wildland fires.

DURING
Turn on a battery-operated radio to get the latest emergency information. Remove combustible items from around the house. Lawn and poolside furniture, Umbrellas, Tarp coverings, Firewood, Take down flammable drapes and curtains and close all venetian blinds or noncombustible window coverings. Take action to protect your home. Close all doors and windows inside your home to prevent draft. Close gas valves and turn off all pilot lights. Turn on a light in each room for visibility in heavy smoke. Place valuables that will not be damaged by water in a pool or pond. If hoses and adequate water are available, leave sprinklers on roofs and anything that might be damaged by fire. Be ready to evacuate all family members and pets when fire nears or when instructed to do so by local officials.

AFTER
Take care when re-entering a burned wildland area.  Hot spots can flare up without warning.
Check the roof immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers. Check the attic for hidden burning sparks. For several hours afterward, re-check for smoke and sparks throughout the home.

If Trapped in a Wildland Fire
You cannot outrun a fire.  Crouch in a pond or river.  Cover head and upper body with wet clothing.  If water is not around, look for shelter in a cleared area or among a bed of rocks.  Lie flat and cover body with wet clothing or soil. Breathe the air close to the ground through a wet cloth to avoid scorching lungs or inhaling smoke.

MITIGATION
Mitigation includes any activities that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies.  Investing in preventive mitigation steps now such as installing a spark arrestor on your chimney, cleaning roof surfaces and gutters regularly, and using only fire resistant materials on the exterior of your home, will help reduce the impact of wildland fires in the future.  For more information on mitigation, contact your local emergency management office.

FEMA - FACT SHEET: WINTER DRIVING
The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving.

BEFORE
Have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
Battery
Antifreeze
Wipers and windshield washer fluid
Ignition system
Thermostat
Lights
Flashing hazard lights
Exhaust system
Heater
Brakes
Defroster
Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the
SAE 10w/30 weight variety)

Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread.  All-weather radials are   usually adequate for most winter conditions.  However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal. Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season. Plan long trips carefully. Listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions.  Always travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person. If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation.
Dress warmly. Wear layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Carry food and water. Store a supply of high energy "munchies" and several bottles of water. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on winter driving.

Winter Car Kit
Keep these items in your car:
Flashlights with extra batteries
First aid kit with pocket knife
Necessary medications
Several blankets
Sleeping bags
Extra newspapers for insulation
Plastic bags (for sanitation)
Matches
Extra set of mittens, socks, and a wool cap
Rain gear and extra clothes
Small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels
Small shovel
Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)
Booster cables
Set of tire chains or traction mats
Cards, games, and puzzles
Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
Canned fruit and nuts
Nonelectric can opener
Bottled water

DURING

IF TRAPPED IN CAR DURING A BLIZZARD
Stay in the car. Do not leave the car to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100
yards.  You may become disoriented and lost is blowing and drifting snow. Display a trouble sign.
Hang a brightly colored cloth on the radio antenna and raise the hood. Occasionally run engine to keep warm. Turn on the car's engine for about 10 minutes each hour.  Run the heater when the car is running.  Also, turn on the car's dome light when the car is running. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a downwind window slightly for ventilation.

Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Do minor exercises to keep up circulation. Clap hands and move arms and legs occasionally.  Try not to stay in one position for too long.
If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping. For warmth, huddle together.
Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable car mats for added insulation. Avoid overexertion.
Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart.  Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.  Be aware of symptoms of dehydration.

Wind Chill

"Wind chill" is a calculation of how cold it feels outside when the effects of temperature and wind speed are combined.  A strong wind combined with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a still air temperature about 35 degrees colder.

Winter Storm Watches and Warnings
A winter storm watch indicates that severe winter weather may affect your area.

A winter storm warning indicates that severe winter weather conditions are definitely on the way.

A blizzard warning means that large amounts of falling or blowing snow and sustained winds of at least 35 miles per hour are expected for several hours.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims.  A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, or nose and ear lobes are symptoms of frostbite.

Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion. If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance.  Warm the person's trunk first.  Use your won body heat to help.  Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation
of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. Put person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket. Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine in it (like coffee or tea) or alcohol.  Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body.  Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.  A major winter storm can be lethal.  Preparing for cold weather conditions and responding to them effectively can reduce the dangers caused by winter storms.

BEFORE
Be familiar with winter storm warning messages. Service snow removal equipment and have rock salt on hand to melt ice on walkways and kitty litter to generate temporary traction. Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. Winterize your home.

Insulate walls and attic. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside. Have safe emergency heating equipment available.
Fireplace with ample supply of wood Small, well-vented, wood, coal, or camp stove with fuel
Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters (See Kerosene Heaters.) Install and check smoke detectors. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for
more information on winter storms. Keep pipes from freezing. Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing. Know how to shut off water valves. Have disaster supplies on hand, in case the power goes out.

Flashlight and extra batteries
Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
First aid kit
One-week supply of food (include items that do not require refrigeration or
cooking in case the power is shut off)
Nonelectric can opener
One-week supply of essential prescription medications.
Extra blankets and sleeping bags
Fire extinguisher (A-B-C type)
Develop an emergency communication plan.
In case family members are separated from one another during a winter storm (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.

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 knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person. Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a severe winter storm. Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire department, and
which radio station to tune to for emergency information.

Kerosene Heaters
Check with your local fire department on the legality of using kerosene heaters in your community.  Use only the correct fuel for your unit and follow the manufacturer's instructions.  Refuel outdoors only, and only when cool.  Keep your kerosene heater at least 3 feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.

DURING

IF INDOORS
Stay indoors and dress warmly. Conserve fuel. Lower the thermostat to 65 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night. Close off unused rooms. If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate). Listen to the radio or television to get the latest information.

IF OUTDOORS
Dress warmly. Wear loose-fitting, layered, light-weight clothing.  Layers can be removed to
prevent perspiration and chill.  Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellant.  Mittens are warmer than gloves because fingers generate warmth when they touch each other.
Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body.  Also take frequent breaks. Cover your mouth. Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by covering your mouth when outdoors. Try not to speak unless absolutely necessary. Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart.  Unaccustomed exercise such as
shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.  Be aware of symptoms of dehydration. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.  Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly. Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities.
Wind Chill
"Wind chill" is a calculation of how cold it feels outside when the effects of temperature and wind speed are combined.  A strong wind combined with a temperature of just below freezing can have the same effect as a still air temperature about 35 degrees colder.

Winter Storm Watches and Warnings
A winter storm watch indicates that severe winter weather may affect your area.  A winter storm warning indicates that severe winter weather conditions are definitely on the way. A blizzard warning means that large amounts of falling or blowing snow and sustained winds of at least 35 miles per hour are expected for several hours.

Frostbite and Hypothermia
Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims.  A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, or nose and ear lobes are symptoms of frostbite.

Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion. If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance.  Warm the person's trunk first.  Use your own body heat to help.  Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation
of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. Put person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket.

Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine in it (like coffee or tea) or alcohol.  Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body.  Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are Welcome.