Preparing for a disaster can considerably lessen the distress, apprehension, fatalities, and destruction that are accompanied by such disastrous events. Tragedies could be human-made catastrophes such as terrorist attacks and toxic chemical spills that are common today when the rate of crime has risen all over the world. However, the most common disasters are natural calamities that are not in the control of human beings. A natural disaster can occur in many forms most notably storms, cyclones, floods, earthquakes, and floods among others (Ranke, 2015). It is essential for everyone to know the hazards and signs of danger related to different types of disasters. Wisner (2012) suggest that this can be vital to the early mitigation or even prevention of a calamity, therefore, saving lives and helping to control associated destruction. In addition to knowing the different types of disasters, it is crucial to have a well-defined and ready to execute disaster plan. The plan should have specific step by step procedures to follow before, during and after a calamity which will significantly assist in preparing for and recovering from a natural disaster situation.
The occurrence of natural disasters globally is considered to be on the rise each year mainly because of the greenhouse effect that has affected the weather and climate patterns. Excessive urbanisation and increased population density are also considered some of the reasons for the regular natural calamities (Richardson et al., 2008). According to research statistics, there were only 78 reported disasters globally which are a small number compared to the 350 cases reported in 2004 (Richardson et al., 2008). The numbers continue to increase with each passing year as the natural disasters occur more often and become more destructive. Richardson et al. (2008) state that it is projected that since the beginning of the year 2000, there are more than 200 million individuals who are affected by disasters annually. The numbers and effects of these calamities are dependent on where people live and what type of tragedy affects them. It also matters how often these catastrophes occur in a specific region and how intense and adverse the accompanying effects are after the occurrence.
Conditional on the location a particular community resides, it may be in more danger of experiencing specific calamities such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis among others. Magomedova (2015) mentions that schools and other institutions of learning are now more vigilant when it comes to disaster cases as they are becoming more prepared for any cases of calamity and are also integrating disaster management lessons into their curriculum. In extreme cases of tragedy, various institutions will notify students and everyone how they are supposed to react and when they should evacuate. No matter what kind of disaster occurs, there is always some associated emotional distress and usually physical effects. After such a hazardous event, recovery can take time depending on the extent of destruction that occurs. Therefore, it is necessary and essential that everyone is informed about how best to react and respond before, during and after the occurrence of a natural calamity.
Preparing for a Natural Disaster
In the case of a pending calamity or even after it has occurred, various steps can be taken to ensure the safety of people. Particular things can be done to ensure that people are prepared both physically and psychologically for the occurrence of major disasters. It is advisable that people with an affiliation to a particular institution such as students in a school sign up to receive text messages from their specific organizations which will alert them of any possible hazards related to weather patterns in their locality. The same text messages can instruct the people about where to go and what to do to remain safe during such emergency situations (Magomedova, 2015). Higher learning institutions can also send electronic mail to their students in such cases of pending or imminent natural calamities. The students having mobile phones can also subscribe to receiving wireless emergency alerts posted by the National Weather Service which usually alerts the masses in cases of incoming natural disasters such as tornados and hurricanes (Kaaland & Lokey, 2015). Their warning alerts can be of great assistance to people who reside in places with no apparent warning options such as sirens. The phone which is more reliable and accessible will be of more help when trying to reach and alert the masses of impending danger from a natural disaster so that immediate action can be taken.
People should also ensure that they have an emergency kit particularly in regions that are susceptible to a certain kind of natural disaster. Alexander (2015) recommends that such a package contains the following amenities: a minimum of 3 gallons of clean drinking water for each individual, three days worth of durable food, a battery-powered radio with enough batteries or other power source to receive mass announcements, a flashlight for lighting, a first aid kit for injuries, a whistle to attract attention, maps of surrounding areas for navigation, a dust mask to sieve air in cases of wildfires, earthquakes and of course some money to use during the disaster period. Depending on the locality of a specific population, and th kind of natural calamity that the area may be subjected to, it may also be necessary to carry some clothes, sleeping bags, and a source of fire such as matchsticks or a lighter. For people who take prescription drugs on a regular basis, it is also crucial for them to carry their medication. The emergency kit containing all these amenities including medicine should be kept in an easily accessible place where they can be retrieved quickly in case of an emergency (Alexander, 2015). It is also advisable to have an extra emergency kit in the car in cases of people who spend a lot of time driving; this will ensure that they are not found unaware during an emergency situation.
APA suggests that it is also advisable to acquire the property holders insurance which is particularly important for people who reside in places that are prone to natural calamities. When getting policies specifically on a home, it is important to inquire about certain kinds of insurance such a floods or earthquakes which are some of the more common types of natural calamities (Richardson et al., 2008). These guarantees are not usually included in the basic insurances policies. It is considered that if there is no natural disaster specific insurances, then the person or people living in a home could be liable for the whole cost of any repair that may be required after a calamity ccurs. It is recommended that everyone in need of more information about how to get ready and plan for the occurrence of various types of natural disasters visit the government website ready.gov. The website is devoted to providing useful information to the public about different emergencies which include natural and human-made disasters.
Recovery after a Natural Disaster
After the threat of a natural disaster has already happened, some actions should be taken as soon as possible to make sure that the effects and destruction experienced is managed early enough. This can help to ensure that no further damage of fatalities occur in the moments after a calamity has passed. The first thing that should be done immediately after a catastrophe has occurred is to ensure that family and friends are safe. If there are any people around that are injured, buried or trapped under debris, then it is vital to communicate with the relevant experts about getting some help to defuse such a situation (Ranke, 2015). If there is access to an emergency kit, then everything possible should be done to help the injured as they wait for further help from emergency medics. In cases of people buried under debris, it is advised that the whistle in the emergency kit is used to attract attention to the area. If there is access to a phone, then the 911 emergency call should be made to get some emergency help. However, if none of the mentioned options is available or is not feasible, then the people trapped or buried should try to contact the people around the area by banging on pipes or any loud surfaces that will help communicate to the responders (Ranke, 2015). If it is possible to get out, then it would be wise to leave immediately before the situation gets any worse. However, it is not advisable for the severely injured to move because doing so could make the injury worse and even lead to death. For slight injuries, self-administered assistance can be applied and once in a safe environment, communication to other people can be attempted to get further help. After getting a quick check-up to ensure that there are no significant injuries that one might not have seen such as internal bleeding, then the individuals should check in with their families and friends. This will enable them to communicate that they are safe and also to let them know more about the situation.
In the case of people who evacuated an area affected by a natural calamity, they should only go back to their homes after the relevant authorities in charge of ensuring safety give them the go ahead. Magomedova (2015) suggest that it is crucial for people travelling by road especially during floods to find alternative paths to use in case there are still signs of flowing water which could be dangerous to go through. It is also essential to desist from driving or walking through stagnant flood water since they could be electrified by fallen electric power lines. The relevant utility firm should be contacted so that they take care of the situation to prevent any fatalities from unknowing people walking through the water. It is considered that taking needless risks to try and get back home can be detrimental to the prevention of deaths or further destruction after a natural disaster occurrence. It is advisable that if there is a dire need to travel, then people driving should be highly cautious and avoid danger zones that could cause them harm. One thing that is highly ill-advised after the occurrence of a natural calamity is seeking shelter under partly destroyed structures such as damaged houses as this could cause many unique risks. If one is inside a house that has been damaged by a natural calamity and there is a smell of gas that has leaked which usually has a garlic-like or rotten eggs odour, then it is advisable to leave immediately. The smell might be accompanied by a hissing sound which will often indicate a damaged gas pipe that is causing a leakage that could be highly destructive if ignited (Mukherji, 2017). Since gas is highly flammable, the concerned gas company should be contacted immediately. They will be able to manage the situation before it gets any worse as in the case of a fire that could burn down that house and others in the neighbourhood. Water leakages should also be managed by turning off the water source as that combined with electricity could be dangerous to anyone in the house. After a home is cleared and determined as being safe enough with all leakages managed and every other safety issues mitigated, then it is okay to go back and begin cleaning the mess caused by the calamity (Mukherji, 2017). In cases where the damage is extensive, then it is advised that the renters insurance policy is applied by taking photos of the damage caused and filing a claim for insurance coverage for the damages.
If a home is not conducive to living, probably because of too much damage, then it would be best to find an alternative place to stay temporarily such as a school or church. However, the need for a...
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