Hurricane updates and resources + free 58-pg preparedness ebook

September 6, 2017

It’s been several years since the U.S. has dealt with a major hurricane hitting our shores, but things are really starting to heat up esp. since we are in peak hurricane season.

As Texas and Louisiana continue to recover from the wrath of hurricane Harvey, an extremely powerful Hurricane Irma is barreling towards Florida and the southeastern U.S. Plus Irma’s little brother Jose is building strength as it follows her west.

Download a free 58-page PDF portion of our IT’S A DISASTER! book with tips about hurricanes, floods, evacuations, making a family plan, assembling disaster kits and more … and share ebook and this post with others ~ esp. those living along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Also visit the U.S. First Responders Association‘s Disaster Preparedness forum to find resources and updates about Hurricane Irma and Harvey recovery and the 2017 hurricane season in general, and follow the USFRA facebook page for breaking news and updates.

Stay safe out there and again – please download our free ebook and learn how to order the full 280-page ebook ($3 U.S.) or paperbacks ($4.50 U.S.) at www.fedhealth.net. j & B

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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 

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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

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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.

 


First tropical storm of Atlantic hurricane season, Andrea, in the Gulf

June 5, 2013

Tropical Storm Andrea first of 2013 Atlantic season NHCTropical Storm Andrea, the first tropical storm of the 2013 Atlantic season, has formed in the Gulf of Mexico. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for portions of Florida’s Gulf coast with a Tropical Storm Watch along portions of the Southeast U.S. Atlantic coast.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the center of Tropical Storm Andrea is forecast to reach the coast of the Florida Big Bend on Thursday afternoon or evening, and then move over southeastern Georgia and eastern South Carolina Thursday night and Friday. The main concern with Andrea is very heavy rainfall that could lead to flooding.

The below graphic is the projected forecast path of Tropical Storm Andrea from the National Hurricane Center released 5-Jun-2013:

NHC Tropical Storm Andrea forecast path as of 5jun13

We encourage visitors to download and share some free preparedness and safety tips about hurricanes, flooding, evacuations and more from our IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? book. Stay safe out there, j & B


Hurricanes 101 (hurricane basics and resources)

May 29, 2013

hurricanes101-nhpw2013The National Weather Service launches it’s annual Hurricane Preparedness Week during the last week of May so we felt this was a good time to share some information about hurricanes in general.

The Seasons

As mentioned in our May 2013 enews, experts are predicting an active 2013 Atlantic season with 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. A typical Atlantic hurricane season averages 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes, and two major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). Some experts are even predicting a few storms may strike the northeast (like Sandy did last fall) since conditions are similar to the 1950s.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), over a typical 2-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of 3 hurricanes, 1 of which is classified as a major hurricane. And, while hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depressions also can be devastating.

The Pacific Hurricane Season runs from May 15th through November 30th (with peak season being July to September), and the Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1st ending November 30th (with peak season being mid-August to late October).

However, there have been instances where tropical storms and hurricanes have formed in May and December, plus typhoons and cyclones happen during other months in different parts of the world so our planet’s oceans stay active most of the year.

Hurricanes are tropical cyclones with torrential rains and winds of 74 – 155 miles per hour (120 – 250 km/h) or faster. These winds blow in a counter-clockwise direction (or clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere) around a center “eye”. The “eye” is usually 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 km) wide, and the storm may be spread out as far as 400 miles (640 km)!

As the hurricane approaches the coast, a huge dome of water (called a storm surge) will crash into the coastline.

Hurricanes can also cause tornadoes, heavy rains and flooding along the impacted coastlines as well as far into the mainland states.

Did you know…

…the deadliest hurricane (cyclone) on record struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), flooding the low lying areas?! At least 500,000 deaths are blamed on the November 13, 1970 storm, with some estimates rising as high as 1 million.

hurricanes101-katrina-destruction…the deadliest U.S. hurricane was the Great Galveston category 4 hurricane on September 8, 1900 that caused at least 8,000 deaths on the Texas coast?!

…the costliest U.S. hurricane was Katrina (category 3) in 2005 that impacted Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee causing over $105 billion according to NOAA?! Hurricane / Superstorm Sandy is second costliest at about $50 billion.

…the 2005 U.S. season broke records with 27 named storms (previous record was 21 in 1933) and 15 hurricanes (previous record was 12 in 1969). The National Hurricane Center states this cycle could last 10-20 more years similar to the above-average activity from the 1940s through the 1960s.

…9 out of 10 hurricane deaths are due to storm surge (a rise in the sea level caused by strong winds). Storm surges can get up to 20 feet (6 m) high and 50 to 100 miles (80 to 160 km) wide!

…the northeast part (or right front quadrant) of a hurricane typically has the strongest winds and highest storm surge?! If it’s high tide when the storm slams ashore you could have serious problems.

Hurricane basics

The ingredients for a hurricane include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds aloft. If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon.

Each year, an average of 11 tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean and never impact the U.S. coastline. About six of these storms become hurricanes each year.

In an average 3-year period, roughly five hurricanes strike the US coastline, killing approximately 50 to 100 people anywhere from Texas to Maine. Of these, two are typically “major” or “intense” hurricanes (a category 3 or higher storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale).

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Hurricanes are classed into five categories based on wind speeds, central pressure, and damage potential. The chart below is the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with sustained wind speeds and examples of damage (in italics) provided by NOAA:

Category 1   (74-95 mph / 119-153 km/h)  Dangerous winds will produce some damage (Untied mobile homes, vegetation & signs)

Category 2  (96-110 mph / 154-177 km/h )  Extremely dangerous winds / extensive damage (All mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, floods)

Category 3  (111-129 mph / 178-208 km/h)  Devastating damage will occur (Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off)

Category 4 (130-156 mph / 209-251 km/h)  Catastrophic damage will occur (Roofs and mobile homes destroyed, trees down, beach homes flooded)

Category 5 (> 156 mph / >251 km/h) Catastrophic damage will occur (Most buildings and vegetation destroyed, major roads cut off, homes flooded)

Naming a hurricane

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center and now maintained and updated by an International committee of the World Meteorological Organization. The lists featured only women’s names until 1979, when men’s and women’s names were alternated. Six lists are used in rotation. Thus, the 2001 list will be used again in 2007. The only time there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate and the name is retired by the WMO. Retiring a name means it cannot be reused for at least 10 years. Source:WRAL.com

NatGeo vid “Hurricanes 101”

This short video further explains hurricanes, and scroll down to find more resources.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2013

As mentioned above, National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2013 runs from May 26 to June 1. The National Hurricane Center has posted 7 Public Service Announcements (both Youtube videos and audio files in English and Spanish) with a specific topic designated for each day of the week.

hurricanes 101-national hurricane preparedness week 2013

PSA topics include: Hurricane Basics, Storm Surge, Winds, Inland Flooding, Forecast Process, Get A Plan! and After the Storm. Learn more and find other resources and tools from NHC at www.hurricanes.gov to help educate your family and community.

Additional Resources:

Tips about Flooding, Tornadoes and more (from our IT’S A DISASTER! book)

NOAA Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide (12 pg PDF)

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 (Hurricane page)

Bounce Energy Hurricane preparedness guide and resources page

How Stuff Works: How Hurricanes Work

Hurricane.com

USA Today Resources: Hurricanes


Prepare for Hurricane Sandy NOW!

October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy remains on target to bring life-threatening storm surge flooding to the mid-Atlantic coast, including Long Island Sound and New York Harbor. Winds of near hurricane-force are also expected at landfall.

This superstorm that could menace some 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the nation, with forecasters warning New York could be in particular peril.

“The time for preparing and talking is about over,” Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate warned as Hurricane Sandy made its way up the Atlantic on a collision course with two other weather systems that could turn it into one of the most fearsome storms on record in the U.S. “People need to be acting now.”

Governors from North Carolina to Connecticut have declared states of emergency. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday. A mandatory evacuation order is in effect for residents in Zone A areas in New York City and the NYC MTA will shut down all subway, bus, and commuter railroad service at 7 PM, Sunday, Oct 28th.

NOAA forecaster Jim Cisco, who coined the nickname Frankenstorm for Sandy, said last week: “We don’t have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting.” The so-called “Perfect Storm” of book and movie fame was similar to this one, but that storm (in 1991) never made a direct hit on the United States but still caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

As of Sunday 28-Oct mid-afternoon, the center of Sandy is located about 575 miles south of New York City moving toward the northeast. It should turn toward the north and then northwest tonight and early Monday, and will be near the coast Monday Night. Most officials feel it will make landfall somewhere in New Jersey, but since it’s such a massive storm it will impact multiple states as it moves inland.

And the storm will take its time leaving. The weather may not start clearing in the mid-Atlantic until the day after Halloween and Nov. 2 in the upper Northeast, Cisco said. “It’s almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event,” he said from a NOAA forecast center in College Park, Md. “It’s going to be a widespread, serious storm.”

It is likely to hit during a full moon, when tides are near their highest, increasing the risk of coastal flooding. And because many trees still have their leaves, they are more likely to topple in the event of wind and snow, meaning there could be widespread power outages lasting to Election Day.

Weather.com and the National Hurricane Center are forecasting:

Destructive Wind Potential – Winds will be strong over a very large area and capable of downing or damaging many trees and possibly blowing out windows in skyscrapers. Power outages are expected to be widespread and could last for days so be sure to charge cell phones and have any other supplies you may need. Wind damage will spread well inland, especially over higher terrain, due to the extremely large size of Sandy. In some areas, sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph could last for more than 24 hours. Gusts may top 75 mph.
Heavy Rain Potential – Widespread heavy rainfall will likely lead to flooding problems in some areas. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are expected to be widespread in parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic with locally 10 inches or more possible.

Coastal Flooding – There remains uncertainty with where exactly the worst coastal flooding is expected. In general, the most significant coastal flooding will occur to the north of where the center eventually moves inland. This most likely will extend from New Jersey to the New York City area and southern New England.

According to NHC’s update 3p 28-Oct: A significant storm surge is expected to occur in the mid-Atlantic states and southern New England. If the peak surge occurs at the time if high tide, the depths above ground level could reach 6 to 11 feet at Long Island Sound and Raritan Bay, and 4 to 8 feet from Ocean City, Md., to the Connecticut/Rhode Island state line, and 3 to 5 feet from there to the south shore of Cape Cod.

Heavy Snow – Yes, this setup will even wrap in just enough cold air on its western edge to produce wet snow, possibly heavy, in some parts of the central Appalachians (mountains of West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania). Total accumulations of a foot or more will be possible. The combination of snow and strong winds will damage trees and cause power outages.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting snow accumulations of 2 to 3 feet in the mountains of West Virgina, with locally higher amounts, tonight through Tuesday night. The southwestern Virginia mountains are forecast to see 12 to 18 inches of snow.

Some things to do to prepare for Hurricane Sandy…

  • Have a plan, map out several evacuation routes, and make disaster supplies kits for your home and vehicles. (And make kits for your office too.) And get some Weather radios with battery backup and tone-alert feature.
  • Make arrangements for pets since shelters may not allow them. If you have horses or livestock, make a plan for an alternate site in case they must be evacuated.
  • Be prepared to have enough supplies on hand for a week or 2 since these storms may knock out power in many states. Hopefully you have propane, sterno, a sun oven or other alternative ways to cook.
  • Videotape or take pictures of home and personal belongings and store chips/cards/drives with important papers in a secure, safe place offsite.
  • If you have time, strengthen weak spots on home — Roof: Install truss bracing or gable end bracing; anchors, clips and straps, etc. Windows & Doors: Get storm shutters or keep plywood on hand; install reinforced bolt kits or doors, etc. Garage doors: Some retrofit kits install horizontal bracing onto each panel.
  • Secure / anchor mobile homes with tie-down systems.
  • Secure or tie down loose items like patio furniture, barbeque grills, water heaters, garbage cans, bookcases and shelving, etc. Loose items can become like missiles during high winds or tornadoes.
  • Keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves. Visit your local emergency management agency website to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home (esp if using sandbags in case of flooding).
  • Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves — ask local utilities for instructions.
  • Listen to local authorities for warnings, evacuation tips and instructions.

Download our free 57-pg mini ebook with tips about Emergency Plan Checklists, assembling kits for your home, office or vehicle, and dealing with Floods, Hazardous materials, Hurricanes, etc … and find more free topics from our IT’S A DISASTER! book here and please share the data with others.

Additional Resources:

Resources for those in the path of Hurricane Sandy

National Hurricane Center

Ready.gov

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety Hurricane pg

FEMA’s mobi page or free app

American Red Cross free apps


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