(HOW TO SURVIVE A NATURAL DISASTER – CONTINUED – Page 2)
– The main goal of “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is to protect you from falling and flying debris and other non-structural hazard, follow it.
– If you cannot hide quickly enough under a sturdy furniture piece stand against an inside wall
– Do no stand close to windows and doors, fireplaces and appliances (stay away from the kitchen!).
– Never use a lift (elevator)
– If at hand (try to move the least possible inside your home) protect your head with a helmet or cushion.
– Drop to the ground until the shaking stops, and as far as possible from buildings, trees, and power lines.
– If you’re near the ocean, remember: TSUNAMIS; get to high ground fast.
– Don’t go into vehicle, walk when possible to a refuge area.
TRAPPED UNDER DEBRIS
– Cover your mouth with cloth, don’t move and just tap on a pipe or wall in order to be located, shouting only as an ultimate resort.
PRACTICE DRILLS AT HOME: the main reason being that it’ll make you more aware of the dangerous spots in your house, which will obviously come very handy at a moment when you’ll need to have quick thinking and not succumb to panic. Just those drills could save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
– If the sea suddenly recedes (draws back), which may be accompanied by a sucking noise, is a major warning sign that there is about to be a sudden surge of water inland.
– Watch for animals leaving the area or behaving abnormally, such as trying to seek human shelter or grouping together in ways they would not normally do.
– Move inland, and to high ground or climb high if you are trapped, choosing a tall, sturdy and solid building and climb.
– Grab onto something that floats (tree trunks, doors, fishing equipment…)
– Don’t wait for warnings. If you think a tsunami is coming evacuate immediately and stay away from the beach.
– Never go down to ‘see the tsunami’ come in. If you can see the wave you are too close to escape it.
– Prepare your house boarding the windows and strapping the roof.
– If possible, prepare for evacuation by packing essential supplies in your vehicle and plan evacuation routes.
IF CAUGHT IN
– Stay away from windows and glass doors.
– Don’t be fooled by the eye of the storm (the area of apparent calm in the middle of the storm)
– Stay in a small interior room or hallway on the lowest level BUT if you are in an area that is in danger of flooding, do not seek refuge below ground level (such as a basement).
– Never drive through a flooded road or bridge and never stay in a flooded car. If your car is surrounded by flood water, abandon it and move immediately to higher ground.
– If your car is swept into the water and submerged, WAIT calmly for the vehicle to fill with water. Once the vehicle is full, the doors will open. Hold your breath and swim to the surface.
– If you are swept into fast moving floodwater outside of your car, point your feet downstream. Always go over obstacles, never under.
– Otherwise do not enter the floodwater, it’ll knock you down or the objects it’ll carry will.
Move to any shelter. At the first sign of a tornado, or if a tornado warning has been issued, stop whatever you’re doing and seek appropriate shelter immediately. If you are in a vehicle and a tornado is very near you, get out and seek shelter as soon as possible.
An underground tornado shelter or a specially designed tornado safe room is the safest place to be during a tornado. If a tornado shelter is not available go to the basement of a building.
– Turn off utilities, especially gas and electric.
– Stay out of elevators, as you could be trapped in them if power is lost. Instead, use the stairs to descend to the lowest floor.
– Mobile homes, even if tied-down, are unsafe during tornadoes. Get out of mobile homes immediately and seek appropriate shelter.
– In a building with no basement, avoid windows and go to the lowest floor and seek shelter in a small room (a bathroom or closet, for example) that is located near the centre of the house, under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows.
– Bathrooms can be particularly effective because they are fortified by pipes and you can lie in a bathtub.
– Make note of where very heavy objects are on the floor above you, and avoid the area beneath these, as they could fall through a collapsing floor.
– Cover yourself with a mattress, cushions, blankets or sleeping bags.
– If possible, get under a heavy table, which can protect you from falling debris.
– Regardless of where you are, crouch low to the ground or lie down, face down and cover your head with your hands and arms.
– Once the tornado danger has passed, if you smell something that is burning or if you see a spark, get out immediately, it could start a fire.
– If you are stuck on the highway and know a tornado is coming, and there is no way to find any indoor shelter, pull over to the side of the road immediately. Go to the side of the road closest to the tornado, and find a low ditch. Lie face-down with your hands over your head and neck.
– On the open water. Get out of the water, if possible. If you’re in the water when a waterspout hits, experts recommend trying to avoid it by sailing at right angles to its path, NOT straight away from it. If a strike is imminent, it’s probably best to dive overboard, as you then have a better chance of avoiding injury from flying debris, if your boat gets torn to pieces.
– Don’t seek shelter under bridges or overpasses. It’s a common misconception that these structures are safe, but research suggests that they are in fact extremely dangerous, as they can act as wind tunnels, actually strengthening the tornado’s high winds.
– Do not shelter under a tree or climb into a car, caravan or tractor. These are easily sucked up by tornadoes.
Be aware of streams, dry riverbeds, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings like rain clouds or heavy rain. If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information.
Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places, such as a friend’s home in another town, a motel, or a shelter. Make sure everyone in the family knows where each place is located and how to get there.
When you return to your home, stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Have your electricity turned off by the power company. Some appliances, such as television sets, keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
Be alert for gas leaks.
Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours, or in debris left on your property. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals.
Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
IF CAUGHT INDOORS
– Make sure you put sandbags against the doors of your house as they will give you some protection from the flood water.
– Turn off all electrical and gas lines. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
– Move valuables to higher points in your home.
In a flash flooding:
– Leave your belongings and get to the highest level possible as fast as you can.
– Get out on the roof, if possible.
– Don’t “wait it out”. If someone comes by in a boat or helicopter and offers you a way out – take it. You can always evaluate your options after you’re in a safe zone. Don’t try to be a hero and tell them to get other people, they are there now and ready to rescue you now and they’ll get to the others as they can – and they’ll be glad to have you help once you are safe.
– Keep rope and a stick in the car, and a life hammer if you have one.
– Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades. They are there for your safety.
– Do not ever go around a sign or barricade blocking off a flooded road.
– If evacuating in your car, drive through as little water as possible and take the shortest route to your meeting place. Make sure you have your emergency kit with you.
– Know that 6 inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. Most vehicles begin to float in just 12 inches of water. 24 inches of water will sweep most vehicles (including SUVs and pick-ups) away.
– If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
– Shatter the window if your car is sinking and you’re trapped.
– Never walk through moving water. The currents in even 6 inches (15 cm) of water can be dangerous. In still water, use a stick or another long object to test the area and make sure it is safe.
– If you do fall and get swept into a current, don’t fight it. Go with the flow, but twist so you are on your back with your feet together and pointing down-current to give you some steering ability and so you can see and avoid obstacles, like a turtle on its back. Keep your feet up to avoid being pulled under and to keep from whacking your feet on debris – the backs of your thighs can handle the hit better than your ankles.
Recognize a Landslide’s Warning Signs
In most cases, landslides do not happen in an instant. There are often warning signs that can tell you that a landslide is coming. This gives you precious time to take safety measures:
– Doors or windows stick or jam for the first time.
– New cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick, or foundations.
– Outside walls, walks, or stairs begin pulling away from the building.
– Slowly widening cracks in the ground or on paved areas.
– Underground utility lines break.
– Consider leaving. If you are in areas susceptible to landslides and debris flows, consider leaving if it is safe to do so. If you smell gas, leave.
– If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and for a change from clear to muddy water. Such changes may indicate landslide activity upstream, so be prepared to move quickly. Don’t delay! Save yourself, not your belongings.
– When you return to your home, walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
– If you remain or are caught suddenly at home, move to a second story if possible, or move to an interior space in the strongest part of the building.
Changes occur in your landscape:
– Patters of storm-water drainage on slopes (especially where runoff converges)
– Land movement, small slides, flows.
– Progressively leaning trees.
– Bulging ground appears at the base of a slope.
– Water breaks through the ground surface in new locations.
– Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, or trees tilt or move.
– Faint rumbling sounds that are noticed and increase in volume.
– The ground slopes downward in one direction and may shift under your feet.
– Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
– Collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, etc. on roadside embankments.
– Move away from the slide’s path as quickly as possible.
– Stay away from the slide area. There may be danger of additional slides.
– Watch for associated dangers such as broken electrical, water, gas, and sewage lines and damaged roadways and railways.
– If you cannot escape, curl into a tight ball and protect your head.
It’s important to evacuate the area as soon as possible after being told to do so. If you wait too long, you’ll have to deal with ash fall, which will muck up your car’s engine and make it more difficult to leave.
IF CAUGHT INDOORS
– Close all windows, doors, and fireplace or woodstove dampers.
– Turn off all fans and heating and air conditioning systems.
– Keep machinery and engines off.
– Drink only bottled water until the tap water is said to be clean. If you see ash in any water source, avoid drinking it.
– Remain indoors until you’re told it’s safe to come out.
– Get to high ground if you can’t find shelter. Lava flows, laggards, mudflows, and flooding are common in a major eruption. All of these can be deadly, and all of them tend to travel in valleys and low-lying areas. Climb to higher ground, and stay there until you can confirm that the danger has passed.
– Avoid areas downwind and river valleys downstream of the volcano.
– If caught in a rock fall, roll into a ball to protect your head.
– If caught near a stream, be aware of mudflows. Move upslope, especially if you hear the roar of a mudflow.
– Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
– Use goggles to protect your eyes.
– Do not stay low to the ground, as some of the most dangerous gases are heavier than air and accumulate near the ground.
– Use a dust mask or hold a damp cloth over your face to help breathing.
– Stay out of the area defined as a restricted zone, hot ash flow can reach you even if you cannot see the volcano during an eruption.
– If you see the water level of a stream begin to rise, quickly move to high ground. If a mud flow is approaching or passes a bridge, stay away from the bridge.
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