There are many different types of disasters that may occur and can happen anywhere. Some areas are more prone to particular types of disasters than others. This post provides a list of the more common types of disasters that can happen in most places and how you can effectively deal with them:
Floods: Characterized by increasingly rising water levels, generally due to heavy storm activity. Floods can happen just about anywhere in the world. If you feel a flood is likely to occur where you are living, ensure you stay up to date on the current situation by monitoring news reports on the television or radio.
If you must venture out in the midst of a severe storm, be aware that flash floods may occur. Flash floods are characterized by large amounts of water that appear almost instantaneously (i.e. an instant flood with no warning). If a flash flood occurs move to high ground immediately.
If a flood becomes excessive, you may be required to evacuate your home. If you have the time, try to bring in any outdoor furniture or possessions, and place furniture in the highest possible point in the house (ideally this would be upstairs in a two story house). Unplug all electrical equipment from the wall.
If you are walking through a flood, ensure you do not walk through any flowing water, regardless of how shallow it is.
If you are driving, do not drive into or through flooded areas, if you find that flood waters begin to rise around your car, abandon the car and make your way to higher ground.
Areas in which flood waters are rising are extremely dangerous. There are many instances in which people have been swept away and consequently drowned.
If you happen to see a person in danger of being swept away, help to the best of your ability without jeopardizing your own safety. Try to help them out of the water by holding out a long rod or stick.
Should you pull a person out of flood waters, the following first aid procedure may just help in saving their life:
- Lay the person on their back and apply pressure to the stomach in order to force any water out. Alternatively the person may lie on their stomach and pressure could be applied to the back.
- If a person is unconscious, mouth to mouth resuscitation may be necessary.
- Warm the person up by any means necessary, whether this involves a blanket or sharing body heat.
- Alert emergency services.
Hurricanes: A hurricane is an extreme type of storm or cyclone that generally forms in the tropics. Hurricanes are accompanied by intense, windy, storms, and often result in the production of tornadoes, storm surges (similar to a tidal wave – a storm surge is a dome of water that is forced onto the shore as a result of intense winds) and generally result in heavy damage due to extensive rainfall and subsequent floods.
If the area in which you live is experiencing a hurricane, ensure you listen for up to the minute updates provided on the television or radio.
Due to the intense winds generated by a hurricane, it would be advisable to tie down any loose objects outside, or to store them indoors until the wind subsides.
In some cases, a hurricane may become so extreme that authorities will request you evacuate your home. If this is the case, ensure you follow all instructions.
- If you find yourself unable to evacuate your home for one reason or another, ensure you remain indoors at all times and away from any windows or doors.
- Close all internal doors, and find a means of bracing all external doors.
- Depending on the severity of the hurricane, you may have to shelter in a small internal room or closet on the lowest level of a house.
- If you are in a room, lie flat on the floor and take shelter under a sturdy object – such as a table.
In an upcoming post, you can read about different types of disasters, such as thunderstorms, earthquakes, and fires.