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HAZARDS AND DISASTERS

What is a hazard?

A hazard is any source of danger that can cause injury or death to humans or that can cause property damage. Hazards range from airline accidents to tsunamis to asteroids smashing into the Earth.

Why is it important to have an out-of-state contact in case of a disaster?

It's usually easier to call outside of a disaster area than inside one. By identifying a relative or friend who lives outside of your home state as an emergency contact, your family can ensure communication following a disaster.

What is the difference between a watch and a warning?

The U.S. National Weather Service issues watches and warnings for a variety of hazards when they may be imminent. A watch (such as a tornado watch or a flood watch) means that such an event is likely to occur or is predicted to occur. A warning is more serious. It means that a hazard is already occurring or is imminent. Warnings are usually broadcast on television and radio stations via the Emergency Alert System (formerly known as the Emergency Broadcast System).

How should we prepare for disaster?

Disasters can and do happen everywhere. You should prepare for disaster by having a disaster supply kit with supplies for you and everyone in your family available at home and work, as well as a mini kit in your automobile. It should include food, water, first aid equipment, sturdy shoes, an AM/FM radio (with batteries kept outside of the radio), a flashlight (with batteries kept outside of the flashlight), vital medication

What's the difference between the old Emergency Broadcast System and the Emergency Alert System?

The Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), created in 1964 to warn the country of a national emergency such as nuclear attack, became the Emergency Alert Service (EAS) in 1997. The old EBS system relied on one primary radio station in each region to receive an emergency message and then broadcast it to the public and other media outlets. The new system, which also includes cable television, operates via computer and can be automatically and immediately broadcast to the public. It also allows additional local governmental agencies the opportunity to broadcast emergency messages. Future plans for the EAS include radios and televisions that will automatically turn on when an alert is announced.

(especially prescription medication), blankets, cash (if the power and computers are down, credit and ATM cards won't work), games and toys for children, and any other essentials. Contact your local chapter of the Red Cross for more information about disaster preparedness.

Should we use candles after a disaster or power outage?

Many deaths and a great deal of property damage have been caused by fires resulting from people using candles following a disaster. People leave candles burning as a source of light, but these can fall over and start fires. It is strongly advised that people not use candles when the power goes out. There are many flashlights and battery operated lanterns that are available commercially and should be part of your disaster supply kit.

What is the leading cause of disaster-related death in the United States?

Lightning is the leading cause of disaster-related death in America. From 1940 to 1981, about 7,700 people died from lightning strikes, 5,300 from tornadoes, 4,500 from floods, and 2,000 from hurricanes. So, it's best to avoid open spaces, high ground, water, tall metal objects, and metal fences during an electrical storm.

How can I learn more about disasters in my town?

Each community should have its own disaster plan that includes a history of past disasters (those that have happened in the past are likely to occur in the future) along with plans for dealing with future disasters. You should be able to consult this plan to learn how your community would cope with disaster and to find out the locations of evacuation routes and shelters. Many communities place important disaster planning information in the telephone book for easy reference.

What do medical geographers do?

Medical geographers and epidemiologists (scientists who study disease and health) regularly use maps and spatial information to help control illness and death. Mapping has solved the mystery behind high levels of cancer in small areas and has been used to understand the spread of AIDS. Medical geographers don't just study the distribution of disease, they also investigate the accessibility of people to health services.

 
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