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How to Stay Safe During Natural Disasters

Statistics show approximately 770 fatalities occurred due to natural disasters in the United States in 2021. These figures included 230 people dying from winter storms and cold waves. In addition, 33 people lost their lives in flash floods, while 165 died due to severe thunderstorms.

Natural disasters remain catastrophic events that pose significant problems to human civilization, damaging lives, property, livelihood, and transportation. These disasters often occur without warning though meteorological tools and technology to help track such events have been developed. 

The reality is preventing these disasters from occurring is nearly impossible. However, that doesn’t mean that the damage from natural disasters cannot be mitigated. Proper action and planning can help minimize the damage. 

Different Types of Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can vary from thunderstorms to floods. Some natural disasters include:

Earthquakes

Earthquakes occur when tectonic plates underneath the Earth’s crust shift. They’re responsible for causing mass destruction. Earthquakes cause a sudden shaking of the ground and can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Earthquakes always happen without warnings. Some states, like California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Washington, are more prone to earthquakes. Earthquakes are more common than most people realize. They occur throughout the world daily. However, most are minor. According to Volcano Discovery, over 170 earthquakes occurred in the United States in the past 24 hours. Humans generally cannot feel tremors below a magnitude of two.

But that doesn’t mean more severe earthquakes don’t occur. These earthquakes can cause significant property damage. In addition, they lead to many fatalities. Consider taking cover underneath sturdy pieces of furniture if you’re caught indoors during an earthquake. Stay away from windows, lighting fixtures, etc. These things can topple during an earthquake, damaging you. It’s also recommended you stay indoors until the shaking stops. Trying to move during the shaking can cause people to get injured. Most importantly, avoid using elevators during an earthquake; stay away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires if you’re outdoors when an earthquake occurs. Instead, stand in an open area until the shaking stops. 

Floods

Floods are among the most common and hazardous natural disasters. Floods occur when water flows on normally dry lands. Generally, floods occur because of excessive rainfall, damage to nearby damages, and hurricanes. 

Floods can be incredibly dangerous. You must follow the proper safety tips to protect yourself during a flooding event. 

For instance, avoid walking, swimming, or driving through a flood. Floodwater often contains debris and contamination. Electrical lines can also fall in the water, causing electrical shocks and electrocution. You must also stay clear of bridges over fast-moving water because they can collapse. Try to move to higher ground if possible. 

File-Name: Flooding

Alt-text: A truck driving through a flood in Jacksonville, Florida

Hurricanes

Hurricanes are storms that form in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes affect millions of people living on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Hurricane Michael, for instance, caused severe damage in the United States in 2018. Hurricanes often result in prolonged power outages, storm surges, and other disruptions.

Consider seeking shelter immediately if your area will be affected by a hurricane. It’s a good idea to close all interior doors and brace external doors. In addition, try to take refuge in a small room on the lowest level of your house. Ensure that you lie down underneath a sturdy piece of furniture.

File-Name: Wildfire in a forest

Alt-text: A wildfire originating in the forest and engulfing trees

Wildfires

Lightning and accidents can often trigger wildfires. Wildfires usually start because they go unnoticed. However, they spread quickly and become incredibly destructive as they grow. Wildfires are particularly dangerous if they occur near forests, or remote settings, in rural areas, or woodland locations. Wildfires are generally not reported as often as floods or hurricanes, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. Wildfires are especially common in California. The state has witnessed some of the most destructive wildfire seasons recently. 

Wildfire smoke often has numerous air pollutants. Breathing this can cause asthma and other problems. It’s also incredibly dangerous for children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with respiratory conditions. 

Protecting yourself from wildfires is challenging because air pollutants can travel a significant distance. The California Air Resources Board recommends staying indoors to protect yourself from wildfire smoke. It also recommends setting your central ducted air conditioning and heating system to “On” rather than ”Auto”. This ensures constant air filtration.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines to help people protect themselves from wildfires and recommends wearing a respirator mask to filter air pollutants and keeping track of nearby fires. 

File-Name: Wildfire

Alt-text: A truck driving through wildfire smoke

Prepare Yourself for Natural Disasters with Counterspherics

Counterspherics has a budget-friendly safety technology or service to help you personally or your business.  

Check out Counterspherics.com. They provide a Crisis & Incident Management & Support Systems (CIMSS) service to help you prepare, act, and recover from emergencies, natural or otherwise.   

You can check out their video animated case study about the 2011 Japan triple disaster; and how a California university used its system to provide real-time alerts and instructions to their students and families in Japan on where to go, what to do, and how to get out of the country after the earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear disaster ravaged the countryside. Counterspherics is constantly working on safety and threat management systems to help people and businesses in crises. 

You can reach out to them today for more info. 

About The Editors and Counterspherics®

Rushton Prince and Henrie Watkins are Safety and Disaster Preparedness experts. Both have extensive backgrounds as First Responders, Safety Technology Implementers, Human Protection, and Occupational Health and Safety Trainers. 

Counterspherics, the company behind MERLENN® has 22 years of experience in providing crisis response infrastructure and boasts a 100% customer satisfaction rate. To view illustrated examples of the software in action, follow Counterspherics on YouTube.

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