Is seems like emergencies and natural disasters have been striking with a vengeance the last year or two. Just look at some of what has happened in March 2012 alone:
- M 5.4 strong earthquake Offshore Chiapas, Mexico (@ 85 km depth) with epicenter located just 17 km SW Acapetahua. The populated area Tapachula is located 74 km far from epicenter where light shaking of MMI IV will have felt.
23:06 UTC (local time Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 05:06 PM @ epicenter)
- M 4.7 moderate deep earthquake in Southern Peru (@ 186 km depth) with epicenter located 37 km W of Puno. Light to weak shaking will have experienced as far as Arequipa, Peru
21:30 UTC (local time Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 04:30 PM @ epicenter)
- M 3.3 weak very shallow earthquake in Maui Region, Hawaii (@ 0.6 km depth) with epicenter located just 6 km SSE from Lanai City. Weak shaking of MMI II-III will have felt around epicenter rea
20:27 UTC (local time Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 10:27 AM @ epicenter)
- M 4.3 moderate earthquake in Cyprus Region (@ 53 km depth) with epicenter located 105 km NW of Paphos. It will have faintly felt as Alanya, Turkey
10:44 UTC (local time Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM @ epicenter)
- M 4.5 moderate shallow earthquake in Dominican Republic Region (@ 19 km depth) with epicenter located 107 km NE from Higüey. Weak shaking will have felt as far as Santo Domingo
04:15 UTC (local time Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 12:15 AM @ epicenter)
- M 4.0 moderate very shallow earthquake in Eastern Turkey (@ 2 km depth) with epicenter located 14 km E Van. Light to weak shaking will have experienced within 50 km radius
03:23 UTC (local time 05:23; 2012/03/13 @ epicenter)
- M 5.0 moderate shallow earthquake in Comoros Region (@ 15 km depth) with epicenter located 81 km N of Moroni. Just a weak shaking will have experienced by the people of Moroni 02:39 UTC (local time Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 05:39 AM @ epicenter)
- Flash flood in Northern Chile
-About 300 people evacuated from Valley of Azapa after flooding of the Rio San Jose in the town of Arica
-Heavy rainfall with flooding knocked down bridges and blocked the rail line to neighboring Peru
-Red Alert is declared for the Province of Magallanes. Also for the Province of Tamarugal
-1,500 customers in Punta Arenas coastal remained without power
-The classes in the town of Punta Arenas are suspended
- Flash flood in Port Moresby Region, Papua New Guinea
-Road collapsed between Port Moresby’s central business district and outlying suburbs
-A temporary bridge is being considered so traffic can resume
-No deaths or injuries reported so far
- Flooding in Australia
-Further three local government areas across NSW declared as Natural disaster area. The areas of Cobar, Jerilderie and Queanbeyan have been declared as a natural disaster area, taking the total number of natural disaster areas to 59
-Flood evacuation order for 2000 residents is in affect for those in Hay and Maude
-Following, Ministry of police and emergency, the current operational focus is around Hay, where an Evacuation Order remains in place. On the Lachlan River, planning and operational response for towns downstream of Forbes, including Bedgerebong, Condobolin, Willow Bend, Euabalong, Murrin Bridge and Lake Cargelligo are underway
-Landslide at Ellis Beach cut-off the Captain Cook Highway yesterday
-Flood warnings have been issued for coastal and adjacent inland catchments from Cairns to Bowen including the Tully and Murray Rivers (minor flooding) and the Bohle River (moderate flooding) and Don River (minor flooding)
- Tornado Hits San Antonio, Texas
-Tornado touched down about 25 miles southwest of San Antonio, damaging houses and flooding across the region
-Six homes reported to be damaged so far in the Ted Williams and Ladd Road area in Southwest Bexar County
-The National Weather Service had issued flash flood warnings for parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana
Once the emergency strikes, it is too late for preparation. Many emergencies and natural disasters strike with little or no warning, just like those mentioned above. The best strategy to be prepared for an emergency is to plan in advance, even if the likelihood of the emergency is remote. If you ask me, it is always better to be safe and prepared than sorry you weren’t.
General Emergency Preparation
- Consider what types of emergency you are likely to encounter where you live and how you will cope with them. Discuss them with your family.
- Put emergency procedures in place in case of fire, local flooding and power failure. This will include safe evacuation routes, preservation of life and emergency supplies. Involve the whole family and make sure children are aware of what they need to do and where they need to go. It is a good idea to have occasional practice drills to make sure the kids understand.
- Keep an up to date list of emergency telephone numbers beside your phone and make sure all family members understand what each one is for.
- Prepare an emergency kit and keep it where it is easily accessible to all family members. The kit should contain a torch, spare batteries, first aid kit and a portable radio with spare batteries.
- Store important documents, irreplaceable valuables and photos in the one place so they can be quickly grabbed if you need to evacuate the house. Consider using a fire-proof box or small safe in case you have to leave them behind.
- Plan for your pets and other animals in an emergency. Have a safe place for them if you have to leave them behind, stocked with food and water.
- Understand what your household insurances actually cover and what is excluded. Make sure you have sufficient cover for the most likely emergencies.
- Learn when you need to turn off the utilities to the house and how to do it.
- Make sure at least one family member learns CPR.
- Plan ahead for the possibility of an emergency in different locations, such as home, work or your car. Keep emergency supplies in each location. Understand the evacuation procedures at your workplace.
Possible Emergencies Specific to your Area
- Be aware if you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters like cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and bushfires. Take precautions even if you could only expect a 100 year flood.
- Take all the necessary precautions to limit damage to property, injury and loss of life. Get the latest information from the local authorities.
- Have a planned escape route or somewhere to sit out the emergency.
- Understand where the safest places are for your type of emergency or disaster.
- Decide under what circumstances you will stay or leave your home. This needs to be carefully planned in advance as there is often little time to be making major decisions during an emergency.
- During the emergency season, keep supplies of water, first aid and non-perishable food in the house. You may be stranded for several days, without power, phone or water, so make contingency plans for this possibility.
- Organize for a relative or friend from outside the area to act as the contact in the event that family members are separated during an emergency.
- When outside you home, be aware of exit points, stairways, fire extinguishers etc.
When an Emergency Strikes
- Stay calm.
- Put your advance planning into action quickly, safely and without panic.
- Follow the instructions of emergency personnel.
- Contact your family as soon as you can so that they know that you are safe.
- Have a card with your contact details in your wallet so that you can be identified and your family can be contacted.
Being prepared and knowing what to do in an emergency greatly increases your chance of survival. Always assume and plan for the worst possible situation to be sure you come through it safely.
So, do you have an emergency plan in place? Or, have you ever had to endure an emergency situation, and if so, what happened?
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