How to help organizations providing relief and recovery from #Harvey

September 2, 2017

Hurricane Harvey will have a lasting impact on the Gulf coasts of Texas and Louisiana. And the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) members will be there providing relief and recovery for years to come, and they will need your assistance.

The single best way individuals and businesses can help disaster survivors is to donate money to a recognized voluntary organization.

Cash doesn’t need to be sorted, stored or distributed, and it allows the voluntary agency to use the donation towards the needs that most urgently need addressing. The funds can also help stimulate the local economy.

For over 44 years, National VOAD’s 100 member organizations have been helping communities worldwide.

Visit the National VOAD Hurricane Harvey Response page to learn how to help those affected by the storm and subsequent flooding.

Also find a complete list of National VOAD Members’ donation pages here.

And if you would like to volunteer for a National VOAD member organization, visit their Volunteer page.

As we say in our Dedication in our book… thank you to all volunteers around the world who give their heart, soul, energy, and time unselfishly for the betterment of our society. j & B 

Save

Advertisements

Flood safety tips and resources

August 26, 2017

Floods are the most common natural disaster. Some floods develop over a period of several days, but a flash flood can cause raging waters in just a few minutes.

Mudflows are another danger triggered by flooding that can bury villages without warning, especially in mountainous regions.

Everyone is at risk from floods and flash floods, even in areas that seem harmless in dry weather. Always listen to the radio or TV to hear the latest updates. Some other types of radios are the NOAA Weather Radio and Environment Canada Weatheradio with battery backup and tone-alert feature that alert you when a Watch or Warning has been issued.

 

BEFORE A FLOOD (OR HEAVY RAIN):

Prepare – Review some Flood Mitigation tips

Learn the buzzwords – Learn the terms / words used with floods…

  • Flood watch – flooding is possible
  • Flash flood watch – flash flooding is possible so move to higher ground if in a low-lying area
  • Flood warning – flooding is occurring or will occur soon so listen to radio or TV for updates or evacuation alerts
  • Flash flood warning – flash flood is occurring so seek higher ground on foot immediately
  • Urban and Small Stream Advisory – flooding of small streams, streets and low-lying areas is occurring

Learn risks – Ask local emergency management office if your property is a flood-prone or high-risk area and what you can do to reduce risks to your property and home. Find out what official flood warning signals are and what to do when you hear them. Ask if there are dams or levees nearby and if they could be hazards.  

Be ready to evacuate – Listen to local authorities and leave if you are told to evacuate.  

Make a plan – Develop a Family Emergency Plan and Disaster Supplies Kit. And download Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium’s “Flood Recovery Booklet” to learn how to dry materials like artwork, books, photographs, etc. at www.iowaconserveandpreserve.org

Learn to shut off – Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves — and ask local utilities for instructions.

Get insurance…? – Talk to your agent and find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program or visit www.FloodSmart.gov

Did you know…

  • you can buy federal flood insurance through most major insurance companies and licensed agents?!
  • you do not have to own a home to have flood insurance as long as your community participates in the NFIP?!
  • NFIP offers coverage even in flood-prone areas and offers basement and below ground level coverage?!

Put it on film/chip/drive – Either videotape or take pictures of home and personal belongings and store them in a safe place with important papers.

 

DURING A FLOOD (OR HEAVY RAIN):

Be aware – Listen to local news and watch for flash floods especially if near streams, drainage channels, and areas known to flood. Be prepared to fill and place sandbags in areas as instructed to help combat rising waters.

Get to higher ground – If in a low-lying area, move to higher ground.

Prepare to evacuate – Review some evacuation tips, and IF time also…

  • Secure home and move important items to upper floors.
  • Turn off utilities at main switches or valves if instructed by authorities and DO NOT touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water!
  • Fill up your car with fuel.

Obey warnings – If road signs, barricades, or cones are placed in areas – DO NOT drive around them! Find another way or you may get fined.

Things to avoid:

  • moving water – 6 inches (15 cm) of moving water can knock you off your feet and 2 ft (0.6 m) can float a car
  • flooding car – if flood waters rise around your car, get out and move to higher ground if you can do it safely
  • bad weather – leave early enough so you’re not trapped
  • flooded areas – roadways and bridges may be washed-out
  • downed power lines – extremely dangerous in floods!!

 

AFTER A FLOOD (OR HEAVY RAIN):

Things to avoid:

  • flood waters – avoid since they may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage or may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines – local authorities will say when it’s okay to return
  • moving water – 6 inches (15 cm) can knock you off your feet and 2 ft (0.6 m) can float a car
  • flooded areas – roadways and bridges may be washed-out
  • downed power lines – extremely dangerous and report them to the power company

Obey warnings – If road signs, barricades, or cones are placed in areas – OBEY THEM! Most areas fine people who ignore posted warnings. DO NOT drive around barricades… find another way to get there!

Strange critters – Watch out for snakes and other wildlife in areas that were flooded. Don’t try to care for a wounded critter since it may try to attack you… call your local animal control office or animal shelter.

Flooded food – Throw away food that has come into contact with flood waters since eating it can make you sick.

Drinking water – Wait for officials to advise when water is safe to drink. If you have a well that gets contaminated, find another source or boil water.

Wash your hands – Wash hands often with clean water and soap since flood waters are dirty and full of germs!

Use bleach – The best thing to use for cleaning up flooded areas is household bleach since it helps kill germs.

Sandbags – If any sandbags come into contact with floodwaters, wear rubber gloves when removing them and follow officials’ instructions on where to discard them since they’re most likely contaminated.

Listen – Continue listening to radio or TV for updates on weather and tips on getting assistance for housing, clothing, food, etc.

Insurance – Call your insurance agent or representative to discuss claims.

Mold – Consider asking a restoration professional to inspect your house for mold and visit www.epa.gov/mold for flood cleanup tips.

Above extracted from our book called IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it?

Additional resources:

Flood mitigation and safety resources

Information and tips about NOAA Weather Radios

Landslide and debris flow safety tips

Tips and resources about disaster declarations, response, assistance and recovery

Save


Get Ready to Participate in America’s PrepareAthon

April 7, 2014

FEMA PrepareAthon Tagline Logo Lock Up_v4America’s PrepareAthon! is a national community-based campaign for action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises. 

Ready.gov explains the goal of America’s PrepareAthon! is to build a more resilient nation by increasing the number of individuals who understand…

  • which disasters could happen in their community;
  • know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage;
  • take action to increase their preparedness;
  • and participate in community resilience planning.

The spring and fall events are designed to encourage Americans to practice preparedness before an emergency or disaster strikes. For example, each year the Great ShakeOut earthquake drills encourage millions of people to physically practice what to do during an earthquake, and America’s PrepareAthon is modeled on the same principle. Participants must commit to take action and take at least one step (or more!) to prepare for a hazard they may face.

As mentioned above, the PrepareAthon! will occur twice a year — once in the spring and once in the fall — with the 2014 events planned on April 30 and September 30. Each event will concentrate on specific hazards and themes, but communities, organizations and families are encouraged to use the various resources throughout the year since disasters can happen anywhere and anytime.

According to Ready.gov the first National Day of Action is scheduled for April 30, 2014 and will focus on taking actions to prepare for four specific hazards:

— Tornadoes

—  Wildfires

—  Floods

  Hurricanes

Agencies, organizations, businesses, schools and individuals can visit www.ready.gov/prepare and register to participate in America’s PrepareAthon! During the signup process organizers would like to know a few details about activities you are planning for the April call to action (similar to registering for ShakeOut events), plus you can join the National Preparedness Community to post events and network with others in the forum.

Also America’s PrepareAthon! organizers are providing customizable guides, social media tools and promotional materials for families and groups to use whether you just do the National Day of Action on 4/30 or hold drills or exercises year-round. The key is turning knowing into doing!

Additional Resources

View custom samplesIn addition to the above and below links, consider learning more about FedHealth’s customizable disaster preparedness and first aid manual for your public outreach efforts too.

Our IT’S A DISASTER! book qualifies as community education on grants and provides about a $3 or $4-to-$1 return on match since we discount it up to 70% off list (or as low as $4.50 each) and customize it for free.

Plus we have collaborative revenue sharing ideas to help fund first responders, nonprofits and schools and educate local communities while saving people money! It’s a whole community approach to resilience and preparedness that can complement your Awareness campaigns. Learn more and download a free mini ebook

Some other informational tools include…

FLOOD resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mold cleanup tips

EPA’s 20-page guide, “Mold, Moisture and Your Home”

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (Floods)

NOAA’s Flood Safety

Ready.gov flood safety

HURRICANE Resources

Hurricanes 101 (hurricane basics and resources) / a 2013 post on our IAD blog

Florida’s Foundation “Make Mitigation Happen” (21-pg PDF for FL but could help most everyone)

National Hurricane Center

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (Hurricanes)

NOAA Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide (12 pg PDF)

Ready.gov Hurricane safety

TORNADO Resources

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (Tornadoes)

NOAA Tornado safety tips

More NOAA tips

Ready.gov Tornado safety

The Tornado Project Online!

WILDFIRE Resources

Wildfire Mitigation Tips (on USFRA.org) 

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (Wildfire)

National InciWeb

National Interagency Fire Center

Ready.gov Wildfire safety

US Fire Administration Wildfire safety

Or download some free preparedness topics from our It’s A Disaster! books … or visit your state or local Emergency Management, Health or Fire or Police or Sheriff department’s website to find local emergency information, safety tips and tools to help you and your loved ones get prepared.

And again… learn how to take action and get involved with America’s PrepareAthon at www.ready.gov/prepare and follow them on Twitter @PrepareAthon or Facebook.

 


Flood Awareness Week + flood mitigation and safety resources

March 15, 2014

National Flood Awareness week is a nationwide campaign each March designed to highlight some of the many ways floods can occur, the hazards associated with floods, and what you can do to save life and property.

But keep in mind floods can happen anytime and anyplace. Some floods develop over a period of several days, but a flash flood can cause raging waters in just a few minutes.

Mudflows are another danger triggered by flooding. Mudflows are rivers of rock, earth, and other debris soaked with water mostly caused by melting snow or heavy rains that creates a slurry. A slurry can travel several miles from its source and grows in size as it picks up trees, cars, and other things along the way.

Did you know…

  • floods are the most common natural disaster … and flood damage is the second most common disaster-related expense of insured losses reported worldwide?
  • all Americans live in a flood zone – it’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate or high risk area?
  • nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related?

Turn Around…Don’t Drown

flood-turn-around-dont-drown2Speaking of vehicles, a major NOAA National Weather Service campaign all states have been promoting for years is “Turn Around…Don’t Drown” or TADD.

In fact, several states are cracking down on people who drive around barricades into flooded areas who then become stranded.

For example, since 1995 Arizona has had a “Stupid Motorist Law” meaning any motorist who becomes stranded after driving around barricades to enter a flooded stretch of roadway can be charged for the cost of his/her rescue. And if public emergency services are called to rescue the motorist and tow the vehicle out of danger, the cost of those services can be billed to the motorist, up to a maximum of $2,000.

Both Pennsylvania and Tennessee have similar laws where motorists who drive around a barricade or flood warning sign and get stranded will face fines and possible restitution for the cost associated with any rescue efforts.

It’s a shame we even need statutes and laws such as these and would be nice if people would obey signs and barricades and not put themselves, their passengers and first responders in danger due to their actions. But people think their vehicle will keep them safe or they underestimate the power of water.

Before you try to drive through a flooded area, remember it only takes 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) of water to lift your car or SUV. Once your vehicle becomes buoyant; the water will easily push it sideways. Most vehicles will then tend to roll over, trapping those inside and washing them downstream. And flooded roads may have hidden dangers, such as washed out roadbeds or underwater obstructions.

Some flood mitigation and safety tips

Find your flood map – To identify a community’s flood risk, FEMA conducts a Flood Insurance Study. The study includes statistical data for river flow, storm tides, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses, and rainfall and topographic surveys. FEMA uses this data to create the flood hazard maps that outline your community’s different flood risk areas. Visit www.floodsmart.gov to find your local flood map.

Get flood insurance – Regular insurance companies will cover some claims due to water damage like a broken water main or a washing machine that goes berserk. However, standard home insurance policies DO NOT generally cover flood (or mud) damage caused by natural events or disasters!

The U.S. offers a National Flood Insurance Program available in most communities and there is a waiting period for coverage. Both homeowners and renters can get flood insurance as long as your community participates in the NFIP.

Did you know…

  • you do not have to “own” a home to have flood insurance as long as your community participates in the NFIP?
  • NFIP offers coverage even in flood-prone areas and offers basement and below ground level coverage?!
  • if you live in a moderate-to-low risk area and are eligible for NFIP’s Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $129 a year, including coverage for your property’s contents?!

Talk to your insurance agent or call the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-888-379-9531 or visit www.floodsmart.gov

Currently Canadians do not have a national flood program, however certain parts of Canada offer limited flood-damage coverage but it must be purchased year-round and rates are relatively high. Visit www.ibc.ca

Get weather radios – NOAA Weather Radio or Environment Canada Weatheradio with battery backup and tone-alert feature can alert you when Watches or Warnings have been issued.

Move valuables to higher ground
 – If your home or business is prone to flooding, you should move valuables and appliances out of the basement or ground level floors.

Elevate breakers, fuse box and meters – Consider phoning a professional to elevate the main breaker or fuse box and utility meters above the anticipated flood level so flood waters won’t damage your utilities. Also consider putting heating, ventilation and air conditioning units in the upper story or attic to protect from flooding.

Protect your property – Build barriers and landscape around homes or buildings to stop or reduce floodwaters and mud from entering. Also consider sealing basement walls with waterproofing compounds and installing “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into drains.

Learn risks – Ask your local emergency management office if your property is a flood-prone or high-risk area and what you can do to reduce risks to your property and home. Find out what official flood warning signals are and what to do when you hear them. Ask if there are dams or levees nearby and if they could be hazards.

Make a plan – Develop a Family Emergency Plan (e.g. map out evacuation routes, decide where you and your family will meet if separated, teach family members how to shut off main utility switches, discuss what to do with pets and critters, etc). And assemble Disaster Supplies Kits in case you have to bail.

Stay safe – Floodwaters may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage or may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.

Other disasters – Be aware flooding can also cause landslides and mudflows. Listen for trees cracking, rocks banging together or water flowing rapidly (esp. if near a stream or river) – debris flow may be close by.

In addition to the below resources, consider learning more about Fedhealth’s customizable disaster preparedness and first aid manual for your public outreach efforts.

Our IT’S A DISASTER! book qualifies as community education on grants and provides about a $3 or $4-to-$1 return on match since we discount it up to 70% off list (or as low as $4.50 U.S. each) and customize it for free.

Plus we have collaborative Public-Private Partnership ideas to help fund volunteers and schools and educate local communities while saving people money! It’s a whole community approach to resilience and preparedness that can complement your Awareness campaigns. Learn more and download a free mini ebook

Additional resources 

Flood safety tips (3-pg PDF from our IT’S A DISASTER! book)

The Cost of Flooding (interactive tool shows what a flood to your home could cost inch by inch)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mold cleanup tips

EPA 20-page guide called “Mold, Moisture and Your Home

EPA Safewater site (emergency disinfecting data, tips for well & septic owners, etc)

National Flood Insurance Program + Flood maps

National Landslide Information Center

NOAA’s National Weather Service Flood Safety page

Ready.gov Flood safety


%d bloggers like this: