Thunderstorms, Earthquakes and Fire

Thunderstorms Earthquakes and FireIn my previous post, Different Types of Disasters, I covered Floods and Hurricanes.  In today’s post, I’ll cover Thunderstorms Earthquakes and Fire and the steps to take to ensure your safety.

Thunderstorms Earthquakes and Fire

Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms are a common occurrence, and for this reason people often forget that they have the potential to be extremely dangerous.

Every thunderstorm produces lightning and has the possibility to generate tornadoes, extreme winds, rain and subsequent flooding.

  • In the event that a thunderstorm occurs in the area where you live, remain indoors and refrain from going outside. If you are unable to enter a building of some sort, wait the storm out by sitting in a vehicle.
  • If you receive warning that a storm is coming, make an attempt to secure any loose items outside, or store them inside until the storm has subsided. The generation of high winds can often cause displacement of outdoor items, causing damage to surrounding structures.
  • Avoid showering during a storm, as plumbing fixtures can conduct electricity. Though the chances of them being hit my lightning is minimal, it is not a risk you should be taking.
  • If your home phone has a cord, only use this in an emergency, as this may also conduct electricity. Cordless and mobile phones are safe to use as they do not conduct electricity.
  • If lightning strikes a house, the resultant power surge can often cause serious damage to any electrical appliances still plugged in to their sockets. To prevent this from happening, it is always a good idea to unplug electric appliances during a storm.

Earthquakes: Earthquakes are characterized by a series of vibrations of the ground that can often lead to serious damage of surrounding buildings.

If you find yourself in the midst of an earthquake:

  • If you are indoors – Take cover under a strong piece of furniture or crouch in a corner and cover your face and head with your arms.
  • Ensure you stay away from all doors and windows and anything that could possibly fall. Remain inside until all shaking has subsided.
  • If you are outdoors – move away from any buildings or structures likely to fall.
  • Once vibrations have subsided, be aware that further vibration or shock waves may occur. Though these further vibrations are generally not as severe as the initial vibrations, they may serve to further weaken structures already affected by the earthquake. Ensure you stay well clear of such damaged areas.
  • If you are living in a coastal area, earthquakes can result in the formation of a tsunami (also known as a tidal wave). If a tsunami is likely to occur, move inland immediately to higher ground.
  • After a tsunami has subsided, stay away from flooded areas until authorities have declared it is safe to return.

Fire: Whether this disaster is an individualized event or large scale, fire escalates quickly and is extremely dangerous. The heat and smoke resulting from fire is also extremely dangerous.

There are some precautions that may be taken to protect you from falling victim to a fire in your home:

  • These include installing smoke alarms on each level of your residence and regularly checking these alarms to ensure they are working correctly. Ensure smoke alarms are replaced every ten years.
  • To aid in evacuation procedures during a fire, ensure windows and doors are not nailed shut and that there are appropriate fire ladders or fire escapes, if you live in a multi-story building.
  • If a fire were to occur in your home, it is important to have a predetermined escape route from each room in the family home. For more information on determining escape routes, refer to How Can I Be Prepared.
  • Remain low to the ground during your evacuation, to minimize inhalation of smoke and other toxic gases caused by the fire. Before opening any doors, check for heat by using the back of your hand to feel the top of the door.
  • If the door is hot, do not open it; find another means of exiting the building.
  • If the door is not hot, open it carefully and ensure the escape route is clear before exiting the room. If the escape route is clear, exit the room and close the door behind you.
  • If your clothes happen to catch fire during your evacuation, drop to the ground in order to extinguish the fire. Do not run as this will accelerate the burning. Ensure all family members are familiar with the “Stop, Drop and Roll” method.

If you or a member of your family becomes burned, the following first aid tips may be helpful:

  • For minor burns or burns no larger than two to three inches in diameter:
  • Cool the burn as soon as possible by rinsing in cold water or applying a cold pack.
  • Cover the burn with gauze.

For major burns or large burns:

  • Seek medical treatment immediately.
  • Do not attempt to remove clothing or to put burns under water. Instead, cover the burns with a cool, moist bandage.
  • If the individual has stopped breathing, begin resuscitation.

Thunderstorms Earthquakes and Fire are major events to deal with.  Being prepared and having plans in place that include teaching your children, is very important.

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