It is all about the prevention of disasters by learning basic knowledge about it.
By this, we can effectively take initiative by just taking small steps towards a better future for ourselves and for the generations ahead of us.
Let’s join hands to create a new and better world!
Below are some simple steps to get knowledge about disasters !
An earthquake is a sudden slipping or movement of a portion of the Earth’s crust or plates, caused by a sudden release of stresses.
Onset-type and warning:
Earthquake is a sudden onset hazard. It occurs at any time of the year, day or night, with sudden impact and without any warning sign.
Extensive research has been conducted in recent decades but there is no accepted method of earthquake prediction as on date.
An earthquake may last for seconds or minutes, while aftershocks may occur for months after the main earthquake. India has had a long history of earthquake occurrences. About 65% of the total area of the country is vulnerable to seismic damage of varying degrees.
India is divided into the following 5 seismic zones:
Zone V: This is referred as a very high damage risk zone.
Zone IV: This is referred as a high damage risk zone.
Zone Ill: This is termed as a moderate damage risk zone.
Zone II: This is termed as a low damage risk zone.
Zone I: This termed as very low damage risk zone.
The most vulnerable areas, according to the Pre c zone map of India, are located in the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan regions, North-East Kutch and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
• Physical Damage – Damage and loss of buildings and service structures Fires, floods may erupt due to dam failures landslides could occur.
• Casualties – Often high, near the epicenter and in places where the population density is high and buildings are not resistant to earthquake forces.
• Public Health – Multiple fracture injuries, moderately and severely injured is the most widespread problem Breakdown insanitary conditions and other unhygienic conditions could lead to epidemics.
• Water supply – Severely affected water supply due to failure of water supply distribution network and storage reservoirs If supply lines of fire hydrants arc vulnerable they could hamper fire service operations
• Transport network – Severely affected due to damage to roads and bridges, railway tracks, airport runways, and related infrastructure
• Electricity and communication – All links affected Transmission towers, transponders, transformers may collapse.
Main mitigation strategy:
• Engineering structures should be designed and built to withstand earthquakes, dependent on the soil type
• The Bureau of Indian Standards has published building codes and guidelines for safe construction against earthquake
• Building plans, me to be chocked by the Municipality as per the laid down bylaws.
• Public awareness needs to be created through sensitization and training programs
• Drop cover, and hold Move only if necessary, to reach a safe place
• If indoors, stay there. Many fatalities occur when people run outside, only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls
• If outdoors, find a spot away from buildings. trees, streetlights and power lines, and overpasses. Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops
• If traveling in a vehicle or driving yourself stop the vehicle at a clear location. Stay in the vehicle with the seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops
• If in a coastal area, move to higher ground. Earthquakes often generate tsunamis
• It is a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris that could be loosened by the earthquake Also, watches for landslides that could be triggered by the earthquake.
• Look for and extinguish small fires
• Avoid keeping potted plants in heavy earthen pots on terrace walls
• Help neighbors who may require assistance
• Tune to the TV and Radio News channel for emergency information and instructions.
• Inspect the home for damage Aftershocks can cause additional damage to unstable buildings. If there are major cracks in the foundation or the home or utilities have been moved by the earthquake, get everyone out of the home Take photographs of the home and its contents for insurance purpose
• Don’t enter come back into the house immediately after an earthquake. Stay out in the open.
• Don t cook anything such as tea or snacks.
Immediately after an earthquake, there could be another shock in the next few minutes
• Don’t switch on or off any power plug gas cylinder etc.
• Don't go close to bridges, flyovers sheds, and covered porches during the shake. If you are on the main road or lanes, don't stand on footpath or close to the shops.
• Don’t drink well or tube well water after an earthquake until It Is tested scientifically. There could be traces of poisonous gases or minerals in the water that harm your health. Therefore, it is recommended that you always store enough water sufficient
for at least three days.
• Do not spread rumors.
Floods are temporary inundation of large regions as a result of an overflow of the reservoir, or of rivers flooding their banks because of heavy rains, high winds, cyclones, storm surge along the coast, tsunami, melting snow or dam bursts.
Floods can happen gradually and take over hours, or can even happen suddenly due to heavy rains, breach of the water storage and control structures,
spillover, storm surge Warning. Except for flash floods, there is usually a reasonable warning period. Heavy rainfall will give sufficient time to anticipate the occurrence of floods in India, a warning is issued by Central Water Commission Irrigation and Flood control Department, and Water Resource Department.
Anything in flood plains will get inundated. Buildings built of earth, weak foundations, and water-soluble materials will collapse and endanger humans and property Basements of buildings are at risk.
- Physical damages like landslides can happen, structures may damage due to high intensity flowing water.
- People and livestock deaths caused by drowning and outbreak of epidemics like diarrhoea, viral infection, etc.
- Water supplies can get contaminated.
- Food shortage can be caused due to loss of the entire harvest and spoiling of the stored grains due to flood water.
- Land can become infertile due to erosion or can turn saline it seawater floods the area.
- Mapping of the flood plain is the primary step involved in reducing the risk of floods.
- Land use control will reduce the danger of life and property when water inundates the flood plains and the coastal areas. Important facilities should be built in safe areas i.e. mainly on elevated land in urban areas water-holding structures like ponds and lakes may be constructed.
- Construct structures in the flood plains to withstand flood forces and seepage. If necessary, build structures on stilts and platforms.
- Flood Control aims to reduce flood damage. This can be done by Flood Reduction which decreases the amount of runoff by treatment like reforestation Protection of vegetation, clearing of debris from streams and other water-holding areas, conservation of ponds and lakes, etc. Flood diversion includes reeves, embankments, dams and channel improvement. Dams can store water and can release water at a manageable rate Floodproofing reduces the risk of damage. Measures include the use of sandbags to flood water away blocking or sealing of
and Windows of the house, etc. Houses may be by raising them through structural means or the land. Buildings should be constructed the water bodies.
- Unchain pet & domestic animals In the flood situation so that they can save their lives.
- Try to shift to higher elevation points out of your house
- Use boiled water for drinking and pay attention to hygiene
- If your home has suffered damage call the agent who handles your insurance to file a claim
- Check for structural damage before re-entering your home Don’t go inside before proper checking by the qualified engineer as there is the possibility of building collapse
- Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety
- Check for sewage and water line damage If you suspect damage, avoid using the toilets and the tap and call a plumber
- Throw away any food — Including canned goods – that has come in contact with floodwaters
- Make sure to follow local building codes and ordinances when rebuilding Use flood-resistant materials and techniques as recommended by Municipal building codes to protect your property from future flood damage
- Remain calm and listen to elders
- Check your emergency kit
- Keep a check on the warning issued by the local authorities
- Don’t drink the flowing water at any cost Floodwaters may carry raw sewage. chemical waste and other disease-spreading substances If you’ve come in
contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and clean water
- Don ‘t walk through floodwaters as little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Don’t drive through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. A car can be earned away by just 2 feet of floodwater
- Don t walk through flooded areas Electric current passes easily through water, so stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires
- Upon re-entering your property, do not use matches, cigarette lighters or other open flames since gas may be trapped inside If you smell gas or hear a hissing
noise. open a window, leave quickly, and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home.
- If the floodwaters are rising, and there’s nothing you can do to stop them then you should make sure your family stays safe until the water levels drop again.
- Look out for stranded animals and insects – especially snakes
- Do not close offices when there is a flood situation. In city, town, the staff can wait in the office safely rather than venturing on the roads under risk. This will also reduce the pressure on traffic.
Cyclones are violent storms often of vast extent characterized by high winds rotating about a calm center of low atmospheric pressure. This center moves onward often with a velocity of 50 km an hour.
Onset-type and warning:
Cyclones strike suddenly although it takes time to build up. Satellite tracking can track the movement since the build-up and the likely path can be projected Warning and evacuation are done along the projected path It Is difficult to predict the path of cyclones with accuracy. The Indian Meteorological Department issues warning against severe weather phenomenon like tropical cyclones heavy rains and snow, cold and heat waves, etc
- Physical effect- Structures will be damaged or destroyed by the wind force, flooding storm surge and landslides. Buildings and communication systems can be damaged Roofs of lightweight material suffer severe damage.
- Casualties and Public Health- Due to flooding the water supplies can get contaminated and lead to casualties, viral outbreaks, diarrhea, and malaria.
- High winds and rains will ruin the standing crops and food stock lying in the low lying areas.
Cyclones in India generally strike the East Coast some of the Arabian Sea cyclones strike the West Coast of India as well, mainly the coasts of Gujarat and North Maharashtra. Out of the storms that develop in the Bay of Bengal, over 58 percent approach or cross the east coast in October and November.
Main Mitigation Strategies:
Hazard mapping: A hazard map will illustrate the areas vulnerable to the cyclone in any given year. It is an effective mitigation tool.
Land use control designed so that the least critical activities are placed in vulnerable areas. The location of settlements in the flood plains is of utmost risk. Vulnerable areas should be kept for parks, playgrounds or grazing lands.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
- If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
- If you live in a high-rise building since cyclone wind is stronger at higher elevations.
- If you live on the coast, on a flood plain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
- If you feel you are in danger.
- Structures need to be built to withstand wind force. Good construction practice should be adopted such as,
- It is advised to construct houses on stilts or on earthen mounds.
- All elements holding the structures need to be properly anchored to resist the uplift of the object.
- Shelterbelts along the coastline will mitigate the impact of strong cyclonic winds and thus check soil erosion and inward sand drift.
- Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/ 8 ” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Make plans to secure your property.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
- Clear loose and clogged rainwater gutters.
- Close all interior doors secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed.
- Take refuge in a small interior room on the lowest level.
- Lie on the floor under a table or beside a sturdy object.
- Listen to the radio or T.V. for information.
- Turn oft utilities it instructed to do so.
- Turn off gas cylinders.
- Moor your boats if time permits.
- Ensure a supply of water for a sanitary purpose like cleaning and flushing toilets.
- Fill large containers with drinking water as per the guideline of WHO stating that minimum of 15 liters of water is required for consumption by an average family per day.
- Avoid using a mobile phone since the signal may attract thunderbolt and cause serious injury or death.
- Do not go out if there is a lull or no wind immediately after a cyclone because it could be the eye of the storm-winds will pick up again.
- Don’t go near windows and glass doors.
Fire is part of our life. When handled incorrect manner, it is a workable tool in the kitchen, garden, factory laboratory, and jungle. If not handled properly the same beautiful fire turns into an inferno that may kill, damage or destroy people and property in no time. Therefore, it is necessary to learn about fire and take care before it goes out of control.
Easy to understand the Concepts and Parameters of severity:
- Fire is FAST!
In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames. Most fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won’t have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape
- Fire is HOT!
Heat is more threatening than flames. A fire’s heat alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs. This heat can melt clothes to your skin in five minutes a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once. This is called flashover.
- Fire is DARK!
Fire isn’t bright, it is pitch black. Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke
and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you’ve lived in tor years.
- Fire is DEADLY!
Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can even you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You deep wake up in time to escape.
KNOW YOUR VULNERABILITY
What is more difficult than extinguishing a fire is to prevent a fire from occurring. In order to minimize the damage caused by fire, the fire-Fighting Departments of Local Self-Governments are actively promoting the review of fire-prevention equipment in new and existing residential and commercial buildings. In residential fires, the number of elderly people who fail to escape and lose their lives is increasing yearly. It is our urgent task to precisely analyze the state of damage caused by fire, to install fire prevention equipment, and to adopt measures for fire control which minimize damage. The use of fire indispensable for our daily life. On the other hand, if we
are careless in using fire, it may lead to a disaster, which damages or harms people and property.
There are time-tested ways to prevent and survive a fire. It’s not a question of luck. It’s a matter of planning ahead.
- In the event of a fire, remember – the time is the biggest enemy and every second counts! Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. Immediately leave the place.
- When a fire occurs, do not waste any time-saving property. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low, under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. The smoke contains toxic gases which can disorient you, or, at worst overcome you.
- Designate under a specific tree or away from the home. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has got out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to go to the neighbor’s home to phone the fire department.
- Escape first and then call for help.
- Make sure everyone in the family knows the way to escape from every room. Practice feeling your way out with your eyes closed.
- Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm. It is inexpensive protection for you and your family. Working smoke alarms can double your chances of survival.
- When using household appliances follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions.
- Overheating, unusual smells, short circuits, and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired.
- Unplug appliances when not in use.
- Use safety caps to cover all unused outlets, especially if there are small children in the home.
- Use deep ashtrays and soak ashes in water before disposal.
- Don’t stand up in the fire, always crawl low under the smoke and try to keep your mouth covered.
- Don’t put ashtrays on the arms of sofas and chairs.
- Don’t leave cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended. Put out all smoking materials before you walk.
- Don’t return to a building for any reason, it may cost you your life.
- Don’t overload circuits or extension cords.
- Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas.
- Don’t come back to houses/Offices till the Fire Brigade allows you.
- Once Out, Stay Out
Remember to escape first and then notify the department or proper local emergency number in your area. Never go back into a burning building for any reason. Teach children not to hide from firefighters. They are equipped to perform rescues safely.
Tsunami: A tsunami is a series of waves of extremely long wavelength and long periods generated in a body of water by an impulsive disturbance that vertically displaces the water. Tsunami is a Japanese word represented by two characters: “tsu” and “nami. The character “tsu” means harbour, and the character “nami” means wave.
Causes of tsunami:
There are many causes of tsunamis but the most prevalent is earthquakes. In addition, landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions, and even the impact of cosmic bodies, such as meteorites, can generate tsunamis. Not all earthquakes generate tsunamis.
Onset-type and Warning:
Tsunami is a sudden onset hazard. It occurs during any time of the day and coastal areas are prone to be struck by tsunamis.
- Contamination of drinking
- Fires from ruptured tanks or gas
- Loss of vital community
- Loss of agriculture and
- Loss of human life and
Most deaths caused by tsunamis result from drowning. Tsunamis are often most destructive in bays and harbors. Tsunamis are least destructive in deep, open ocean waters. Tsunamis can travel upstream in coastal estuaries and rivers, with damaging waves extending farther inland beyond the coast. A tsunami can occur during any season of the year and at any time, day or night. A tsunami can move hundreds of miles per hour in the open ocean and smash into land with waves as high as 100 feet or more.
The first wave of a tsunami is usually not the largest in a series of waves, nor is it the most significant. One coastal community may experience no damaging waves, while another, not far away, may experience destructive waves. Depending on a number of factors, some low lying areas could experience severe inland inundation. A major earthquake or landslide occurs close to hor· the first wave in a series could reach the beach in a few minutes, even before a warning is issued. Areas are at greater risk if they are less than 25 feet above sea level and within a mile of the shoreline
- Know the risk of tsunamis in the area. Know the height of your street above sea level and the distance of your street from the coast or other high-risk water. Evacuation orders may be based on these numbers.
- Plan and practice evacuation routes. If possible, pick an area 100 feet or more above sea level, or go at least two miles inland, away from the You should be able to reach your safe location on foot within 15 minutes and be able to follow your escape route at night and during inclement weather.
- Discuss tsunamis with your family. Discussing tsunamis ahead of time will help reduce fear and anxiety and let everyone know how to respond. Review flood safety and preparedness measures with your
- Take life insurance, insurance of property, household utilities and
- Avoid building or living in buildings within several hundred feet of the coastline. These areas are most likely to experience damage from tsunamis, strong winds, or coastal
- Follow flood preparedness precautions. Many of the precautions that are appropriate for floods are also appropriate for
- If you are visiting an area at risk from tsunamis, check with the hotel, motel, or campground operators for evacuation information.
If a strong coastal earthquake occurs:
- You should protect yourself from the earthquake first follow the Dos in earthquake
- When the shaking stops, gather your family members and evacuate quickly. Leave everything else behind. A tsunami could occur within Move quickly to higher ground away from the coast.
- Avoid downed power lines, and stay away from buildings and bridges from which heavy objects might fall during an aftershock.
- If you hear an official tsunami warning or detect signs of a tsunami, evacuate at once. A tsunami warning 1s issued when authorities are certain that a tsunami threat exists, and there may be little time to get
- Follow instructions issued by local authorities. Recommended evacuation routes may be different from the one you planned, or you may be advised to move to higher ground than you had
- Get to higher ground as far inland as officials cannot reliably predict either the height or local effects of tsunamis.
- Return home only after local officials tell you that it is safe. A tsunami is a series of waves that may continue for hours. Do not assume that after one wave, the danger is over. The next wave may be larger than the first one.
- Stay out of damaged areas, buildings until told that it is safe to enter.
- Turn off utilities, if necessary.
- Don’t enter the house or show without precaution. Poisonous snakes may have come into buildings with the water. Use a stick to poke through debris.
- Don’t go near fallen power lines or broken utility lines and immediately report those to the authorities.
- Don’t drink well water until examined by the local authorities.
- Don’t keep the house closed. Open the windows and doors to help dry the building.
- Don’t rearrange the things till you photograph the damage. These photographs will be useful to claim insurance.
- Don’t allow your pets and other domestic animals to go away from house. Watch your animals closely.
Stampede is the sudden trampling of individuals in a crowded place ultimately resulting in injuries or even deaths.
EASY TO UNDERSTAND CONCEPT AND PARAMETERS OF SEVERITY:
Stampede is crowd without discipline and control, often occurring in places like temples, exhibitions, shopping malls, cinema staircases or stadiums where people start pushing and shoving each other to get through crowds. Stampede starts when people are tense and in a hurry to go somewhere while pushing others. If someone falls, many people also fall and get trampled by many more. It happens in a crowd when it becomes unmanageable and indisciplined. It could happen in a pilgrimage, during the procession, etc.
KNOW YOUR VULNERABILITY BY THESE SIMPLE TOOLS:
- Be alert & attentive about the surrounding
- You should know where emergency exits are,
- Know which floor you’re on in case you need to take stairs down
- Know how to exit a building or an area safely.
- You should also know how to contact emergency services.
- Being aware also means that you should notice things that are strange or unusual. If you do notice a strange person or situation, do not confront that Instead, contact the appropriate authority and let them handle the situation. Awareness can go a long way in keeping yourself and others safe.
The main casualties in stampede are injuries and death.
Main mitigation Strategies:
- Tight security
- Restrict the number of visitors and lane system should be implemented
- Try to stay at the edge of the crowd, avoid the middle where you would have trouble exiting quickly.
- Have communication plans and take some time to consider how you might contact friends and family in case some kind of emergency occurs. The worried families may panic if they can’t contact you in the crowd.
- Avoid special days of workship if you plan to visit a religious place. If you need to visit such a place on some
auspicious day, you should go early morning and leave the place before midday. Most of the rush starts by midday and the risk of stampede increases.
- If you begin to feel uncomfortable, physically pushed from all sides or suffocated in the crowd, just leave the place immediately.
- Wear bright, solid-colored shirts, jackets, caps, or hats for ease in finding every one of your family and friends.
- Be courteous to others.
- Always follow the rules. They are for your safety.
- Don’t enter or go near a building that has been damaged by an explosion, fire or smoke. Also, try to move away from the scene of any incident. Be cautious that you avoid becoming part of a crowd. Sometimes panic can set a crowd into a frenzy and more injuries may result. Also, never put yourself in danger.
- Don’t get into a rush. Leave with plenty of time to get to your destination.
- Don’t go alone in dense crowds. If you have a family with you, have one parent in front and one parent in the back. The leading parent should make sure everyone is keeping up and no one is missing.
- Do not rush. Stop frequently to make sure everyone is still with you.