Disaster Management – the Discipline of Dealing with and Avoiding Risks

The role of “students” in any capacity is to learn as much as they can about the subject at hand. In the case of disaster management, this is a very wide open field. A student should learn causes of disasters and figure out ways to reduce the risk of an catastrophe from happening in the first place. Here is what wikipedia has to say about disaster management: Emergency management (or disaster management) is the discipline of dealing with and avoiding risks. It is a discipline that involves preparing, supporting, and rebuilding society when natural or human-made disasters occur. In general, any Emergency management is the continuous process by which all individuals, groups, and communities manage hazards in an effort to avoid or ameliorate the impact of disasters resulting from the hazards. Actions taken depend in part on perceptions of risk of those exposed. Effective emergency management relies on thorough integration of emergency plans at all levels of government and non-government involvement. Activities at each level (individual, group, community) affect the other levels. It is common to place the responsibility for governmental emergency management with the institutions for civil defense or within the conventional structure of the emergency services. In the private sector, emergency management is sometimes referred to as business continuity planning. * Students can help in rehabilitation and resettlement of victims * They can spread awareness through rallies in streets * Volunteer in the information centres and form associations for the Disaster-Day * Provide the victims with basic needs Preventing disasters at home – stopping building fires due to petty reasons like a short circuit ____________________________________________________________ _________________________Master’s Programs (International Programs) Disaster Management Policy Program Natural disasters create human tragedy and crippling economic loss, hampering development wherever they occur. Due to recent urbanization in developing countries, the poor are settled in buildings and areas that are vulnerable to natural disasters. Thus, these disasters can severely impair efforts to alleviate poverty in developing countries. In order to reduce the impacts of natural disasters, well-balanced risk management before, during, and after disasters must be done in multi-disciplinary ways. To meet this need, disaster management experts must be fostered through professional education and training so that they can develop appropriate disaster management policies and techniques for local conditions, and can communicate with local people to raise awareness in communities. In order to enhance the capacity of professionals in developing countries to cope with natural disasters, GRIPS offers a master’s degree program in Disaster Management Policy. This Program is offered jointly with the International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (IISEE) of the Building Research Institute (BRI), the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) of the Public Works Research Institute (PWRI), and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Through the Program, students: * Acquire knowledge in the fields of seismology, earthquake engineering, tsunami disaster mitigation, and water-related disasters as well as basic knowledge necessary for disaster risk management; * Learn the theories on which disaster management policies are based and study Japanese policies and systems; and * Through a problem-solving approach, gain the capability to develop appropriate technologies and policies specific to local conditions. The United Nations designated the years 2005-2014 as the Decade for Education and Sustainable Development, led by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO supports the Disaster Management Policy Program due to the educational opportunities the Program offers for professionals across the developing world. ————————————————- The Program comprises the subprograms of Earthquake Disaster Mitigation/Tsunami Disaster Mitigation and Water-Related Risk Management WHAT IS DISASTER? Disaster is a sudden, calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, and destruction and devastation to life and property. The damage caused by disasters is immeasurable and varies with the geographical location, climate and the type of the earth surface/degree of vulnerability. This influences the mental, socio-economic, political and cultural state of the affected area. Generally, disaster has the following effects in the concerned areas, 1. It completely disrupts the normal day to day life 2. It negatively influences the emergency systems 3. Normal needs and processes like food, shelter, health, etc. are affected and deteriorate depending on the intensity     and severity of the disaster. It may also be termed as “a serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources. ” Thus, a disaster may have the following main features:- o        Unpredictability o        Unfamiliarity         Speed o        Urgency o        Uncertainty o        Threat Thus, in simple terms we can define disaster as a hazard causing heavy loss to life, property and livelihood. e. g. a cyclone killing 10,000 lives and a crop loss of one crore can be termed as disaster. TYPES OF DISASTER Generally, disasters are of two types – Natural and Manmade. Based on the devastation, these are further classified into major/minor natural disaster and major/minor manmade disasters. Some of the disasters are listed below, Major natural disasters:   ·         Flood·         Cyclone·         Drought·         Earthquake| Minor natural disasters: ·         Cold wave·         Thunderstorms·         Heat waves·         Mud slides·         Storm| Major manmade disaster: * Setting of fires * Epidemic * Deforestation * Pollution due to prawn cultivation * Chemical pollution. * Wars  | Minor manmade disaster:·         Road / train accidents, riots·         Food poisoning ·         Industrial disaster/ crisis·         Environmental pollution     | Risk: Risk is a measure of the expected losses due to a hazardous event of a particular magnitude occurring in a given area over a specific time period. Risk is a function of the probability of particular occurrences and the losses each would cause. The level of risk depends on: v      Nature of the Hazard v      Vulnerability of the elements which are affected v      Economic value of those elements Vulnerability: It is defined as “the extent to which a community, structure, service, and/or geographic area is likely to be damaged or disrupted by the impact of particular hazard, on account of their nature, construction and proximity to hazardous terrain or a disaster prone area” Hazards: Hazards are defined as “Phenomena that pose a threat to people, structures, or economic assets and which may cause a disaster. They could be either manmade or naturally occurring in our environment. ” The extent of damage in a disaster depends on: )      The impact, intensity and characteristics of the phenomenon and 2)      How people, environment and infrastructures are affected by that phenomenon This relationship can be written as an equation: Disaster Risk = Hazard +Vulnerability DISASTER MANAGEMENT CYCLE C R I S I S M A N A G E M E N T Response| Rehabilitation| Reconstruction| Disaster Impact| Development| Prevention| Mitigation| Preparedness| CRISIS MANAGEMENT| OVERVIEW OF THE DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME [2002-2007] Government of India [GoI], Ministry of Home Affairs [MHA] and United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] have signed an agreement on August 2002 for implementation of “Disaster Risk Management” Programme to reduce the vulnerability of the communities to natural disasters, in identified multi–hazard disaster prone areas. Goal : “Sustainable Reduction in Natural Disaster Risk” in some of the most hazard prone districts in selected states of India”. The four main objectives of this programme are: 1. National capacity building support to the Ministry of Home Affairs 2. Environment building, education, awareness programme and strengthening the capacity at all levels in natural disaster risk management and sustainable recovery 3. Multi-hazard preparedness, response and mitigation plans for the programme at state, district, block and village/ward levels in select programme states and districts 4. Networking knowledge on effective approaches, methods and tools for natural disaster risk management, developing and promoting policy frameworks Programme Phases: The programme has been divided into two phases over a period of six years. Phase I [2002-2004] would provide support to carry out the activities in 28 select districts in the states of Bihar, Gujarat and Orissa. In phase II [2003-2007], the Programme would cover 141 districts in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, West Bengal, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Special Focus: 38 Earthquake prone cities having more than half a million population EARTHQUAKES SAFETY TIPS Earthquakes usually give no warning at all. Prepare your family Before the earthquake Now is the time to formulate a safety plan for you and your family. If you wait until the earth starts to shake, it may be too late. Consider the following safety measures: ·        Always keep the following in a designated place: bottled drinking water, non-perishable food (chura, gur, etc), first-aid kit, torchlight and battery-operated radio with extra batteries. ·        Teach family members how to turn off electricity, gas, etc. ·        Identify places in the house that can provide cover during an earthquake. ·        It may be easier to make long distance calls during an earthquake. Identify an out-of-town relative or friend as your family’s emergency contact. If the family members get separated after the earthquake and are not able to contact each other, they should contact the designated relative/friend. The address and phone number of the contact person/relative should be with all the family members. Safeguard your house ·     Consider retrofitting your house with earthquake-safety measures. Reinforcing the foundation and frame could   make your house quake resistant. You may consult a reputable contractor and follow building codes. ·      Kutchha buildings can also be retrofitted and strengthened. During quake Earthquakes give no warning at all. Sometimes, a loud rumbling sound might signal its arrival a few seconds ahead of time. Those few seconds could give you a chance to move to a safer location. Here are some tips for keeping safe during a quake. ·      Take cover. Go under a table or other sturdy furniture; kneel, sit, or stay close to the floor. Hold on to furniture legs for balance. Be prepared to move if your cover moves. ·      If no sturdy cover is nearby, kneel or sit close to the floor next to a structurally sound interior wall. Place your      hands on the floor for balance. ·      Do not stand in doorways. Violent motion could cause doors to slam and cause serious injuries. You may also be hit be flying objects. ·      Move away from windows, mirrors, bookcases and other unsecured heavy objects. ·      If you are in bed, stay there and cover yourself with pillows and blankets ·      Do not run outside if you are inside. Never use the lift. ·      If you are living in a kutcha house, the best thing to do is to move to an open area where there are no trees, electric or telephone wires. If outdoors: ·      Move into the open, away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.       If your home is badly damaged, you will have to leave. Collect water, food, medicine, other essential items and important documents before leaving. ·      Avoid places where there are loose electrical wires and do not touch metal objects that are in touch with the loose wires. ·        Do not re-enter damaged buildings and stay away from badly damaged structures. If in a moving vehicle: Move to a clear area away from buildings, trees, overpasses, or utility wires, stop, and stay in the vehicle. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake. After the quake Here are a few things to keep in mind after an earthquake. The caution you display in the aftermath can be essential for your personal safety. ·      Wear shoes/chappals to protect your feet from debris ·      After the first tremor, be prepared for aftershocks. Though less intense, aftershocks cause additional damages and may bring down weakened structures. Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake. ·      Check for fire hazards and use torchlights instead of candles or lanterns. ·       If the building you live in is in a good shape after the earthquake, stay inside and listen for radio advises. If you are not certain about the damage to your building, evacuate carefully. Do not touch downed power line. ·        Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. In such cases, call for help. ·      Remember to help your neighbours who may require special assistance-infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities. ·       Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest emergency information. ·       Stay out of damaged buildings. ·      Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals. Open closet and cupboard doors cautiously. ·      If you smell gas or hear hissing noise, open windows and quickly leave the building. Turn off the switch on the top of the gas cylinder. ·      Look for electrical system damages – if you see sparks, broken wires, or if you smell burning of amber, turn off electricity at the main fuse box. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box, call an electrician first for advice. ·      Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets. If water pipes are damaged, avoid using water from the tap. ·      Use the telephone only for emergency calls. ·      In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster. Ask an out of state / district relative or friend to serve as the “family contact”. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number(s) of the contact person (s). CYCLONE SAFETY TIPS Before the Cyclone Season * Keep watch on weather and listen to radio or TV. Keep alert about the community warning systems – loudspeakers, bells, conches, drums or any traditional warning system. * Get to know the nearest cyclone shelter / safe houses and the safest route to reach these shelters. * Do not listen to rumours. * Prepare an emergency kit containing: * A portable radio, torch and spare batteries; * Stocks dry food – Chura, Chhatua, Mudhi, gur, etc. * Matches, fuel lamp, portable stove, cooking utensils, waterproof bags * A first aid kit, manual, etc. Katuri, pliers, small saw, axe and plastic rope * Check the roof and cover it with net or bamboo. Check the walls, pillars, doors and windows to see if they are secure. If not, repair those at the earliest. In case of tin roofs, check the condition of the tin and repair the loose points. Cover the mud walls with polythene or coconut leaves mats or straw mats on a bamboo frame. Bind each corner of the roof with a plastic rope in case of thatched roof. * Trim dry tree branches, cut off the dead trees and clear the place/courtyard of all debris, including coconuts and tree branches. Clear your property of loose materials that could blow about and cause injury or damage during extreme winds. * If your area is prone to storm surge, locate safe high ground or shelter. * Keep important documents, passbook, etc. in a tight plastic bag and take it along with your emergency kits if you are evacuating. * Identify the spot where you can dig holes to store food grains, seeds, etc. in polythene bags. * Keep a list of emergency addresses and phone numbers on display. Know the contact telephone number of the government offices /agencies, which are responsible for search, rescue and relief operations in your area. If you are living in an area where CBDP exercises have taken place, ensure: * Vulnerability list and maps have been updated * Cyclone drill including search & rescue, first aid training have taken place * Stock of dry food, essential medicines and proper shelter materials maintained Upon a cyclone warning * Store loose items inside. Put extra agricultural products/ stock like paddy in plastic bags and store it by digging up a hole in the ground, preferably at a higher elevation and then cover it properly. Fill bins and plastic jars with drinking water. Keep clothing for protection, handy * Prepare a list of assets and belongings of your house and give information to volunteers and other authorities about your near and dear ones. * Fill fuel in your car/motorcycle and park it under a solid cover. Tie bullock carts, boats securely to strong posts in an area, which has a strong cover and away from trees. Fallen trees can smash boats and other assets. * Close shutters or nail all windows. Secure doors. Stay indoors, with pets. * Pack warm clothing, essential medications, valuables, papers, water, dry food and other valuables in waterproof bags, o be taken along with your emergency kit. * Listen to your local radio / TV, local community warning system for further information. * In case of warning of serious storm, move with your family to a strong pucca building. In case of warning of cyclones of severe intensity, evacuate the area with your family, precious items and documents and emergency kit. Take special care for children, elders, sick, pregnant women and lactating mothers in your family. Do not forget your emergency food stock, water and other emergency items. GO TO THE NEAREST CYCLONE SHELTER. * Do not venture into the sea for fishing. On warning of local evacuation Based on predicted wind speeds and storm surge heights, evacuation may be necessary. Official advice may be given on local radio / TV or other means of communication regarding safe routes and when to move. * Wear strong shoes or chappals and clothing for protection. * Lock your home, switch off power, gas, water, and take your emergency kit. * If evacuating to a distant place take valuable belonging, domestic animals, and leave early to avoid heavy traffic, flooding and wind hazards. * If evacuating to a local shelter or higher grounds carry the emergency kit and minimum essential materials. When the cyclone strikes * Disconnect all electrical appliances and turn off gas. * If the building starts crumbling, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a strong table or bench or hold on to a solid fixture (e. g. a water pipe) * Listen to your transistor radio for updates and advice. * Beware of the calm `eye’. If the wind suddenly drops, don’t assume the cyclone is over; violent winds will soon resume from the opposite direction. Wait for the official “all clear”. * If driving, stop – but well away from the sea and clear of trees, power lines and watercourses. Stay in the vehicle. After the cyclone * Do not go outside until officially advised it is safe. * Check for gas leaks. Do not use electric appliances, if wet. * Listen to local radio for official warnings and advice. * If you have to evacuate, or did so earlier, do not return until advised. Use a recommended route for returning and do not rush. * Be careful of snake bites and carry a stick or bamboo * Beware of fallen power lines, damaged bridges, buildings and trees, and do not enter the floodwaters. * Heed all warnings and do not go sightseeing. FLOODS SAFETY TIPS This guide lists simple things you and your family can do to stay safe and protect your property from floods. Before flooding occurs. * All your family members should know the safe route to nearest shelter/ raised pucca house. * If your area is flood-prone, consider alternative building materials. Mud walls are more likely to be damaged during floods. You may consider making houses where the walls are made of local bricks up to the highest known flood level with cement pointing. * Have an emergency kit on hand which includes a: * A portable radio, torch and spare batteries; Stocks of fresh water, dry food (chura, mudi, gur, biscuits), kerosene, candle and matchboxes; * Waterproof or polythene bags for clothing and valuables, an umbrella and bamboo stick (to protect from snake), salt and sugar. * A first aid kit, manual and strong ropes for tying things When you hear a flood warning or if flooding appears likely * Tune to your local radio/TV for warnings and advice. * Keep vigil on flood warning given by local authorities * Don’t give any importance to rumours and don’t panic * Keep dry food, drinking water and clothes ready Prepare to take bullock carts, other agricultural equipments, and domestic animals to safer places or to higher locations. * Plan which indoor items you will raise or empty if water threatens to enter your house * Check your emergency kit During floods * Drink boiled water. * Keep your food covered, don’t take heavy meals. * Use raw tea, rice-water, tender coconut-water, etc. during diarrhoea; contact your ANM/AWW for ORS and treatment. * Do not let children remain on empty stomach. * Use bleaching powder and lime to disinfect the surrounding. * Help the officials/volunteers distributing relief materials. If you need to evacuate * Firstly pack warm clothing, essential medication, valuables, personal papers, etc. in waterproof bags, to be taken with your emergency kit. * Take the emergency kit * Inform the local volunteers (if available), the address of the place you are evacuating to. * Raise furniture, clothing and valuables onto beds, tables and to the top of the roof (electrical items highest). * Turn off power. * Whether you leave or stay, put sandbags in the toilet bowl and over all laundry / bathroom drain-holes to prevent sewage back-flow. * Lock your home and take recommended/known evacuation routes for your area. Do not get into water of unknown depth and current. If you stay or on your return ·       Stay tuned to local radio for updated advice. ·       Do not allow children to play in, or near, flood waters. ·       Avoid entering floodwaters. If you must, wear proper protection for your feet and check depth and current with a stick. Stay away from drains, culverts and water over knee-deep. ·       Do not use electrical appliances, which have been in floodwater until checked for safety. ·       Do not eat food, which has been in floodwaters. ·      Boil tap water (in cities) until supplies have een declared safe. In case of rural areas, store tube well water in plastic jars or use halogen tablets before drinking. ·      Be careful of snakes, snakebites are common during floods. TIPS ON FIRE ACCIDENTS a)      High-Rise Fires: * Calmly leave the apartment, closing the door behind you. Remember the keys! * Pull the fire alarm near the closest exit, if available, or raise an alarm by warning others. * Leave the building by the stairs. * Never take the elevator during fire! If the exit is blocked by smoke or fire: * Leave the door closed but do not lock it. To keep the smoke out, put a wet towel in the space at the bottom of the door. * Call the emergency fire service number and tell them your apartment number and let them know you are trapped by smoke and fire. It is important that you listen and do what they tell you. * Stay calm and wait for someone to rescue you. If there is a fire alarm in your building which goes off: * Before you open the door, feel the door by using the back of our hand. If the door is hot or warm, do not open the door. * If the door is cool, open it just a little to check the hallway. If you see smoke in the hallway, do not leave. If there is no smoke in the hallway, leave and close the door. Go directly to the stairs to leave. Never use the elevator. If smoke is in your apartment: * Stay low to the floor under the smoke. * Call the Fire Emergency Number which should be pasted near your telephone along with police and other emergency services and let them know that you are trapped by smoke. * If you have a balcony and there is no fire below it, go out. * If there is fire below, go out to the window. DO NOT OPEN THE WINDOW but stay near the window. * If there is no fire below, go to the window and open it. Stay near the open window. * Hang a bed sheet, towel or blanket out of the window to let people know that you are there and need help. * Be calm and wait for someone to rescue you. A)    A)    Kitchen Fires: It is important to know what kind of stove or cooking oven you have in your home – gas, electric, kerosene or where firewood is used. The stove is the No. 1 cause of fire hazards in your kitchen and can cause fires, which may destroy the entire house, especially in rural areas where there are thatched roof or other inflammable materials like straw kept near the kitchen. For electric and gas stoves ensure that the switch or the gas valve is switched off/turned off immediately after the cooking is over. An electric burner remains hot and until it cools off, it can be very dangerous. The oven using wood can be dangerous because burning embers remain. When lighting the fire on a wooden fuel oven, keep a cover on the top while lighting the oven so that sparks do not fly to the thatched roof. After the cooking is over, ensure that the remaining fire is extinguished off by sprinkling water if no adult remains in the kitchen after the cooking. Do not keep any inflammable article like kerosene near the kitchen fire. Important Do’s in the Kitchen: ·        Do have an adult always present when cooking is going on the kitchen. Children should not be allowed alone. ·        Do keep hair tied back and do not wear synthetic clothes when you are cooking. ·        Do make sure that the curtains on the window near the stove are tied back and will not blow on to the flame or burner. ·        Do check to make sure that the gas burner is turned off immediately if the fire is not ignited and also switched off immediately after cooking.         Do turn panhandles to the centre of the stove and put them out of touch of the children in the house. ·        Do ensure that the floor is always dry so that you do not slip and fall on the fire. ·        Do keep matches out of the reach of children. Important Don’ts ·        Don’t put towels, or dishrags near a stove burner. ·        Don’t wear loose fitting clothes when you cook, and don’t reach across the top of the stove when you are cooking. ·        Don’t put things in the cabinets or shelves above the stove. Young children may try to reach them and accidentally start the burners, start a fire, catch on fire.         Don’t store spray cans or cans carrying inflammable items near the stove. ·        Don’t let small children near an open oven door. They can be burnt by the heat or by falling onto the door or into the oven. ·        Don’t lean against the stove to keep warm. ·        Don’t use towels as potholders. They may catch on fire. ·        Don’t overload an electrical outlet with several appliances or extension cords. The cords or plugs may overheat and cause a fire. ·        Don’t use water to put out a grease fire. ONLY use baking soda, salt, or a tight lid. Always keep a box of baking soda near the stove. ·        Don’t use radios or other small appliances (mixers, blenders) near the sink. COMMON TIPS: ·        Do keep the phone number of the Fire Service near the telephone and ensure that everyone in the family knows the number. ·        Do keep matches and lighters away from children. ·        Do sleep with your bedroom closed to prevent the spread of fire. Do you know that you should never run if your clothes are on fire and that you should  – “STOP – DROP-ROLL. ” LANDSLIDE During a Landslide: ·       Stay alert and awake. Many debris-flow fatalities occur when people are sleeping. Listen to a Weather Radio or portable, battery-powered radio or television for warnings of intense rainfall. Be aware that intense, short bursts of rain may be particularly dangerous, especially after longer periods of heavy rainfall and damp weather. ·      If you are in areas susceptible to landslides and debris flows, consider leaving if it is safe to do so. Remember that driving during an intense storm can be hazardous. If you remain at home, move to a second story if possible. Staying out of the path of a landslide or debris flow saves lives.       Listen for any unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of flowing or falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. Moving debris can flow quickly and sometimes without warning. ·       If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and for a change from clear to muddy water. Such changes may indicate landslide activity upstream, so be prepared to move quickly. Don’t delay! Save yourself, not your belongings. ·      Be especially alert when driving. Embankments along roadsides are particularly susceptible to landslides. Watch the road for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, and other indications of possible debris flows. What to Do if You Suspect Imminent Landslide Danger: ·       Contact your local fire, police, or public works department. Local officials are the best persons able to assess potential danger. ·       Inform affected neighbors. Your neighbors may not be aware of potential hazards. Advising them of a potential threat may help save lives. Help neighbors who may need assistance to evacuate. ·      Evacuate. Getting out of the path of a landslide or debris flow is your best protection. Media and Community Education Ideas: ·      In an area prone to landslides, publish a special newspaper section with emergency information on landslides and debris flows. Localize the information by including the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the Red Cross, and hospitals. ·      Report on what city and county governments are doing to reduce the possibility of landslides. Interview local officials about local land- use zoning regulations. ·      Interview local officials and major insurers. Find out if debris flow is covered by flood insurance policies and contact your local emergency management office to learn more about the program. ·      Work with local emergency services to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do if evacuation is ordered. ·      Support your local government in efforts to develop and enforce land-use and building ordinances that regulate construction in areas susceptible to landslides and debris flows. Buildings should be located away from steep slopes, streams and rivers, intermittent-stream channels, and the mouths of mountain channels. After the Landslide: ·       Stay away from the slide area. There may be danger of additional slides. ·       Check for injured and trapped persons near the slide, without entering the direct slide area. Direct rescuers to their locations. ·      Help a neighbor who may require special assistance – infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations. ·       Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.       Watch for flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow. Floods sometimes follow landslides and debris flows because they may both be started by the same event. ·      Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury. ·      Check the building foundation, chimney, and surrounding land for damage. Damage to foundations, chimneys, or surrounding land may help you assess the safety of the area.        Replant damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding. ·      Seek the advice of a geotechnical expert for evaluating landslide hazards or designing corrective techniques to reduce landslide risk. A professional will be able to advise you of the best ways to prevent or reduce landslide risk, without creating further hazard. Media and Community Education Ideas: ·      In an area prone to landslides, publish a special newspaper section with emergency information on landslides and debris flows. Localize the information by including the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the American Red Cross chapter, and hospitals. ·      Report on what city and county governments are doing to reduce the possibility of landslides. Interview local officials about local land- use zoning regulations. ·      Interview local officials and major insurers regarding the National Flood Insurance Program. Find out if debris flow is covered by flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program and contact your local emergency management office to learn more about the program.       Work with local emergency to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments on what to do if evacuation is ordered. ·      Support your local government in efforts to develop and enforce land-use and building ordinances that regulate construction in areas susceptible to landslides and debris flows. Buildings should be located away from steep slopes, streams and rivers, intermittent-stream channels, and the mouths of mountain channels. Before a Landslide: How to Plan: Develop a Family Disaster Plan. Please see the “Family Disaster Plan” section for general family planning information. Develop landslide-specific planning. Learn about landslide risk in your area. Contact local officials, state geological surveys or departments of natural resources, and university departments of geology. Landslides occur where they have before, and in identifiable hazard locations. Ask for information on landslides in your area, specific information on areas vulnerable to landslides, and request a professional referral for a very detailed site analysis of your property, and corrective measures you can take, if necessary. If you are at risk from landslides:               Talk to your insurance agent. ·              Develop an evacuation plan. ————————————————- ·              Discuss landslides and debris flow with your family. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together. Discussing disaster ahead of time helps reduce fear and lets everyone know how to respond during a landslide or debris flow. DISASTER MANAGEMENT…. Disasters whether natural or man-made can strike at any time. In general, the general response to a disaster is in terms of relief and rescue operations – after the event. However, if we are adequately prepared, its possible to severely reduce the impact of a disaster. The impact can be reduced through a good understanding of preventive actions, as well as having the knowledge of certain life-saving tools and techniques, which when used at the time of the event of disaster can control the total damage to life and belongings. The biggest problem with the disasters is the suddenness and swiftness with which they arrive. Hence, in order to reduce the severity of a disaster the response also has to equally swift. Lets first understand, what is a disaster. Dictionary meaning of “disaster” may be taken as: “a sudden accident or natural event that causes great damage or loss of life” – Oxford Dictionary. So, as can be seen, disaster by definition itself is “sudden” and causes immense damage to property and/or life. Almost all of us can think of several disasters that have occurred in the recent past. Earthquakes, industrial accidents, oil-spills, forest-fires, terrorist activities etc. are some of the more commonly encountered disasters. Disasters themselves are not limited to specific parts of world, though, certain areas might be more prone to certain specific type of disaster, e. . area around Pacific rim is more prone to earthquakes, some countries are more prone to terrorist activities, some coastal areas are more prone to cyclones, and, some areas are more prone to floods. However, the more advanced a nation is, typically, their level of preparedness is higher. This higher level of preparedness allows them to have a better control over the loss. There are certain types of disasters, where, the loss during the actual event is not necessarily as high, but, the losses become very high due to inability to manage the situation in a timely manner. More often than not, it happens due to confusion and chaos in the context of too much loss, and, inefficient utilization of resources – which are already strained. Another thing which causes a lot of loss during certain kind of disasters is the inability to properly manage and secure the utilities, like: electricity, gas, water etc. On one side, each of these utilities are very important, and, on the other side, due to leakages/ruptures, some of these might come in contact with each other, when they should not – causing further damage. ————————————————- Thus, the main motivation behind disaster management is to minimize the losses at the time of a disaster as well as ensure most efficient utilization of resources – which are already scarce. ————————————————- ————————————————- ————————————————- TYpes of Disasters ————————————————- ————————————————- Though, all kinds of disaster require more or less similar skill-sets and rescue-efforts at least a few days after the event, it is important to understand various kinds of disasters. Depending upon the actual nature of disaster, the immediate reaction needs to be different. ————————————————- Also, the first few moments of disasters are distinctly different for each kind of disasters. Thus, understanding of each kind of disaster might also help in identifying the onset of a disastrous event, so that a trained person can undertake some key actions, during the initial few moments. This could have a major impact on the final outcome in terms of amount of final loss. ————————————————- Natural ————————————————- These are primarily natural events. It is possible that certain human activities could maybe aid in some of these events, but, by and large, these are mostly natural events. * ————————————————- Earthquakes * ————————————————- Volcanos * ————————————————- Floods * ————————————————- Tornadoes, Typhoons, Cyclones ————————————————- Man Made ————————————————- These are mostly caused due to certain human activities. The disasters themselves could be unintentional, but, are caused due to some intentional activity. Most of these (barring coordinated terrorist activities) are due to certain accidents – which could have been prevented – if sufficient precautionary measures were put in place. * ————————————————- Nuclear Leaks * ————————————————- Chemical Leaks/Spill over * ————————————————- Terrorist Activities * ————————————————- Structural Collapse General Preparedness The main characteristics of a major disaster are that irrespective of the origin, after a little while the scene is the same: * total chaos all around * lack of utilities – which we have always taken for granted * no relief and rescue teams for several days * lack of medical facilities Thus, the sufferings are not just due to the disaster, but, post-disaster, many more people die and suffer because of: 1. lack of food, shelter 2. lack of medical attention 3. hygiene issues causing health hazards The nature of disaster might only change the sequence of events – that’s all. Hence, it is important to have the following precautions/preparations done – if your neighbourhood is prone to any of the disasters. While preparing, remember, after a major disaster it might be atleast 3 to 5 days, before the first signs of relief is visible. All your preparations should be done with this in mind. Its not just important to survive the immediate disaster, but, you need to be able to sustain yourself for next several days – all on your own – maybe, without any utilities etc. First and foremost, remember, after a disaster, you might not have stores open. Everything might be closed down. Hence, its important that you have all the life-saving material with you – well in advance. Here is a list of items that you should have with you, which can help you stay without utilities for a few days: * Non-perishable food to last you several days. These should be something, which do not require cooking, have high shelf-life, without need for refrigeration or other special conditions, and, preferably take lesser space to store – so that you can store adequate amount for a few days. These include: canned food items, dry-fruits, high protein biscuits etc. * Drinking water to last you several days. Some blankets etc. to keep you warm, in case houses are damaged. Remember, there might not be electricity and/or gas-connections to provide you heating. * A supply of your medicines for several days. * Flashlight which operates on batteries. It might help you navigate your way in darkness, if electrical system has failed * A battery operated radio. It might be your only source of information. * Some spare batteries to run your flashlight/torch and the radio * If you use cordless phones, have a regular phone also connected. Cordless phones need electrical power to operate. In case of electrical failures, the cordless phones might not work. In addition, you should have the following items: a. First Aid box, to take care of minor injuries (for yourself, your family members, and/or even unknown persons – who might be injured) b. Good, comfortable long-boots. With roads damaged, and, too much debris everywhere, you could be on your feet for next several days. A pair of good long-boots would be very helpful. c. The fuel-tank of your vehicle should always be above the Half-Mark. The petrol pumps (gas-stations) might either be non-operational, or, might have long queues. In case, an evacuation is required, the last thing you want to do is – get stuck in a huge serpentine queue at the petrol pump. So, now that you have taken care of your food and shelter, one of the most important things is to maintain proper sanitary conditions. Toilet flush systems might not work – either due to lack of water, or, due to breakage/damage to plumbing pipes/fittings etc. Thus, a lot of people die due to outbreak of diseases associated with lack of sanitary conditions. Lack of water creates unhygienic conditions, which result in outbreak of such diseases. A simple technique can help you ward-off this situation. You should have several (plastic/polythene) garbage-bags. Use these bags for excretion – inside it. The toilet paper can also be thrown inside the same bag. Once it has been used a few times, close its mouth tightly, and, let it lie in a corner. As long as it has been sealed properly at its mouth, there is little risk from it. Once the relief teams start coming in, and, utilities start returning back to normal, these bags should be disposed off. This is much safer than excreting in the open. That would be risky for you, as well as open-excretion would give rise to several sanitary issues. Some other precautions that you can take, which would make it easier for you/your friends/relatives to control anxiety: * Designate a person outside your area, who should be your contact point. Instead of all your friends and family members trying to reach you (after the news of the disaster spreads) – to enquire about you, you should maybe, inform just one person – outside the zone of disaster. This one person should inform other friends and relations. This serves three main purposes: 1. After a disaster, everybody is calling all their loved ones – to enquire about their well-being. This causes a severe burden on the communication system – which are not designed to handle everybody on the phone at the same time. Hence, many of your friends and relatives are not able to get through you – and thus, their anxiety about you keeps getting increased. Instead, if it was pre-decided, they all would call just one person – who is outside the zone of disaster, and, the communication network there is not over-stretched. 2. The already over-stretched telecom network is saved some load. This allows relief agencies to use the available telecom bandwidth for rescue and relief operations. 3. Your own supply of batteries etc. asts longer, if you receive fewer calls So, suppose, I grew up in city A, and, then, have moved to city B. Hence, most of my friends and relatives are in city A. Now, if there is a disaster in city B, I would call up just one of my friends/relatives (pre-designated) in city A. All my other friends and relatives would get in touch with this pre-designated person in city A – to enquire about me. * Designate a meeting place for your entire family. When a disaster occurs, different members of the family could be at different places. Even if all of them have survived, you all might be taken to different shelter-camps and/or medical facilities. You don’t want you/your family members running all around the town – locating each other. Hence, there should be a pre-designated place, where, all of you would meet/send your locations – at the first available opportunity. This pre-designated place could be some friend/relative outside the immediate zone of disaster, say a friend’s place. Even if you can not physically be there, you can atleast call up and leave a message there – about your location and/or well-being, as soon as there is an opportunity. * If you have a school-going child, arrange with someone to pick up the child – in case of a disaster. With communication and transportation network having broken down, this someone (which could be you-yourself) has to be somebody in the walking distance of the school. This person can simply walk down to the school, and, pick up the child. The school should be informed in advance about this person being one of the allowed guardians to pick up the child in case of an emergency/disaster. Once again, have phone numbers for your child’s friends’ parents with you. Instead of everybody trying to call up the school, share information among each other. The number of phone lines that a school would have would be too few – compared to the number of parents trying to get information about the safety of their kids. Hence, if a fewer parents call up, and, can share information among each other, it would be helpful. Also, remember, with so many kids on their hands, the teachers and the school staff would have their own anxiety. Hence, cooperate with the school, rather than trying to complicate matters for them – by insisting/questioning/rushing-in etc. * The above is also true, if you have an aged parent at home, and, there is nobody at home – to help them evacuate etc. uring the time of disaster. Please enlist the help of some neighbour to provide timely assistance to the aged and feeble people. * You should know the location of the controls for your utilities, as well as how to turn them on/off – specially, water, electricity, gas etc. Depending on the situation, you might need to shut off certain utilities. E. g. if water lines are leaking, and, water is pouring in, you might want to turn off the water line. Or, if electrical wires are snapped, you might want to turn off electricity supply. Usually, there are several levels of controls, e. g. or electricity, there might be switches to turns off supply for individual rooms, entire house, or, even entire neighbourhood. Depending upon the exact risk-location and nature of the risk, you might want to turn off at the appropriate location. E. g. if the risk is only inside a house, turn off the supply for just that one house, rather than the entire neighbourhood. Now, that you are adequately prepared: A. Do NOT panic at the time of the disaster. Think clearly. If you are already prepared – by having mentally gone through your disaster preparedness several times, you might just know what to do. And, if you have lready taken the precautions – you might have all the tools to deal with the situation. B. Be prepared to stay in it for the long haul, rather than getting desperate and loosing hope. C. If possible, try to help others – those who are weak, e. g. the aged, small children, people with any special needs, those who are sick etc. Once you have secured your own life, try to help others also – depending on your strength – both physical and emotional. Just make sure – not to put your own life and safety into jeopardy. You could help in one or more of the following: i. immediate help to the possible victims ii. search and rescue iii. ecord keeping (who is being sent to which hospital etc. ) – As soon as people start coming to their senses, they would start looking for their near and dear ones. A good record keeping system would allow people to know which of their near-and-dear ones have survived, and, where have they been taken (specific relief camps, treatment facilities etc. ) iv. Crowd control – so that people don’t risk themselves by trying to go near damaged structures – because, inspite of their best of intentions, they could cause more damage to either themselves or others Try to be on your own and pick up your lives as soon as its possible and safe to do so. Don’t depend on alms and doles to bail you out. Medical and other help would be really limited. Don’t try to make too much noise about minor stuff. Adjust and compromise. Let resources be used by those who have greater need for it. If it appears that it will take a long time for the life to return to normalcy, and, one has to move (creating situations of migration/refugee etc. ), try to move in with a relative or friend for the duration, rather than relief camps being run by various relief agencies. This will have several benefits. The most notable being: a. lesser burden on the relief system b. lesser concentration at one place, because, the places running the relief centers also get overburdened by the sudden increase in demand to support a much larger number of people c. better sanitary and hygienic conditions d. Most importantly: much less distressing – psychologically and emotionally Search and Rescue The first thing before taking part in a “Search and Rescue” operation is to make sure that you don’t put yourself also at risk – by unnecessarily exposing yourself to a hazard. If the “search and rescue” operation needs you to enter or go near a structure, you should first assess the stability of the structure. Uncontrolled movement on/around the structure could further destabilize the structure, causing more damage to the people who might be already trapped beneath the debris, as well as causing damage to the rescuers and/or curious onlookers and bystanders. Searching inside a building If you are going inside a building, the biggest risk is that you might loose your way – while inside the building. At any time – while inside the building, you should always be in a position to be able to evacuate immediately – in case, there are some threat perceptions (say: aftershocks of an earthquake), or, any other instability to the structure, or, some other hazard (say: fire etc. ) One of the simplest way is: when entering a building, keep your left hand along the wall (on your left side), and, move only along this wall. If you have to move away from the wall, come back immediately to the same wall – at the earliest possible. If you encounter doors/passages along, you might enter those doors/passages – as long as – you have your left hand along the wall. The advantage is: If you follow this discipline strictly, there is no way for you to get lost. In case of a need, you can always retrace back your steps. Simply turn-around, and, put your right hand along the wall (on your right side – after turning around), and, follow the wall. It is as simple as that. Some of the reasons, why you might have to leave the wall: * Some obstruction (say, table etc. kept alongside the wall). In such cases, it might be better to walk around the obstruction, rather than walk over it. * Some victim slightly away from the wall. Since, the aim was to rescue the victim, you might want to leave the wall, and, approach the victim. This method is helpful even for conducting searches in dark-buildings. However, dark buildings could create other potential hazards. Hence, if you have to enter a dark building, you should take with you flashlights and torches – because, there might be other potential hazards, which you might not be able to see. The above approach does not guarantee that you will cover each and every portion of the building. The amount of portion covered would depend on the layout of the building, its doors etc. However, it provides 100% assurance that you wont get lost. Whenever you enter a building to conduct a search/rescue operation, always ensure that there are people outside who are aware of the fact that you have gone inside the building. While some members of the search team are gone inside the building, some other members should stay outside – but – in communication with the members who have gone inside. Searching for people trapped under debris This should be done very carefully. This presents two dimensions of danger. As you move debris, you could be changing the balance of the debris, and, thereby – further destabilizing whatever structure exists. Before you start to move large pieces of rocks and debris, make an attempt to listen below debris and catch any sign of movement, or, somebody’s response. Always call-out for somebody having been trapped below the debris. The response could be in terms of a voice from the trapped person – or, some taps by the victim. Even if there is no response, it should *not* be assumed that there is nobody below. The trapped person could be unconscious, or, might be too feeble to respond. This means, while removing debris from one place, the removed debris should not be put on top of another pile of debris – which is not guaranteed to be clear of any trapped person. Otherwise, somebody trapped below this “other pile” could be getting further trapped. This also means that the rescue operations should always be conducted from outside towards inside – unless, it is known for certain that the inner portion of the debris contains some victims – in which case, we might attend to the inner portion immediately. While removing debris, one should continuously try to assess, if there is a victim below. Its possible that a victim who was not able to hear you can now hear you – as some layers of debris have been removed. Once you know that there is a victim, and, that person has given an indication that he/she can hear you, continue to always convey messages of encouragement and reassurance that the relief team is on its way. This will provide an immense psychological boost to the victim. When conducting relief operations in debris, the entire efforts should be coordinated. If several teams are working without any coordination, the various teams could come in each other’s way – as well as cause imbalance to the structure, causing it to further fall, and, this time, it could take the rescue personnel down. Also, some simple safety precautions should be taken. 1. At any instant, no part of your body should be below any heavy object. Suppose, you have to lift a heavy object. As soon as its lifted slightly above the ground, put some piece of brick, wooden log, rock etc. directly below the object. The idea is: If for some reason, the object slips through or falls, your hand/legs should have a good clearing from the ground. Use some sturdy stick/pole etc. to place/move bricks/logs etc. below the object being lifted, rather than putting your own hand/leg below the object. 2. Lifting: If you have to lift a heavy object, don’t bend your body around waist. It could cause back-pain. The right way is to bend your knees, while, keeping your back straight. Hold the object firmly, and, now, straighten your legs/knee. 3. Instead of using your force, use the concept of levers to lift heavy objects. A lever is a sturdy pole. Place one end of this pole below the object to be lifted. Place some strong, solid piece of material below this pole, not very far (say: at approximately 1/3rd the total length of the pole – from the object to be lifted). Go to the other end of the pole. Now, you can pull the other end down, and, the object would get lifted. The effort that you would require to lift would be too less, compared to the object being lifted. The other advantage is: your limbs are nowhere directly below the object being lifted. One of the concerns could be: when there is so much destruction all-around, where would we get such sophisticated tools. Well, the tools would be found in the debris itself. 4. Don’t forget to wear gloves, when you are dealing with debris, and, a pair of good shoes. There might be glass-shards, sharp edges, and, what not. Triage The concept of “triage” was introduced by French military, and, it translates into: “sort”ing. During a disaster, there might be too many people who need medical attention – and, medical facilities would be in severe short-supply. Hence, its important to sort out the victims in terms of: * who needs immediate medical treatment * for whom can the treatment be delayed * who need not be given any treatment The last category includes people, who don’t need medical treatment, because they are not much hurt, or, people who are already dead. This last category also includes people, who need not be given any treatment, because their chances of survival are very remote. For all practical purposes, these people might be treated as “dead”. The logic here is: instead of tying up medical facilities for this person – who has almost no sign of survival, the same facility might be extended to somebody – who has a much better chance of surviving. Thus, as part of “triage”, its highly possible that a person who is actually alive might be classified as “dead”. Needless to say, this experience could provide quite traumatic for the person conducting the categorization. It is not easy to classify a living person as “dead”, and, be aware that this classification/judgement would deny him any chance of survival. However, the right context to look at is: by not tying up the medical resources for this one person, you are actually providing the chance of treatment and survival to some more people. Otherwise, an attempt to get medical treatment to this person – could result in denial of timely treatment to another person, who had a much better chances of survival, while, this person anyways does not survive. Sometimes, a person in very heavy pain could be crying the loudest, but, that does not mean he/she needs immediate treatment. His/her treatment could be delayed – without any risk of his/her life. E. g. a fractured arm etc. While, this person could be in immense pain, his treatment can wait. His sight could also evoke immense sympathy – but, once again, this is a case where, the volunteer has to exercise his/her mind judiciously. The people who might need immediate treatment are: * those who are loosing blood * those who seem to be in a state of delirium * those who are showing weakness of vital signs ———————————————— Sometimes, a person might be unconscious. In the absence of any medical instrument, and, lack of adequately trained medical staff, it might be difficult to judge the strength of vital signs. A good indication in such situations could be: Pinch and hold one of the fingers between your thumb and index finger for 2-3 seconds. Now, leave his/her finger. Observe, how long does it take for that particular place to turn back to normal (pinkish) colour. If it takes longer to turn back into the normal colour, his/her vital signs are not very good. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A big aspect of disaster management is prepardness. the preparedness phase emergency managers develops plans of action for when the disaster strikes. Common preparedness measures include the proper maintenance and training of emergency services, the development and exercise of emergency population warning methods combined with emergency shelters and evacuation plans, the stockpiling of supplies and equipment, the development and practice of multi-agency coordination etc. An efficient preparedness measure is an emergency operations center (EOC) combined with a practiced region-wide doctrine for managing emergencies. The purpose of the EOC is to coordinate the activities in the subsequent emergency response phase. Physically, the EOC may only be a couple of cabinets in a conference room combined with a significant group of professionals. The EOC have reliable external communications including access to civil and amateur radio networks. As you can understand – all this can be a 10th standard project material – making sure that students can have a big role in the management. I would like to negate student community from search and rescue since that is a highly specialised job and should be left to professionals. (say firefigters, paramilitaries etc… ) The basic role of the student, in my opinion, is AWARENESS of what to do during and after disasters. This would lessen panicking, paranoid and uncontrollable people running around. Also, knowing what to do when disaster strikes will also lessen the death toll. Knowing what to do after disaster, and at least basic first aid, will enable students help the authorities in saving lives. Remember the fire that broke out in the kitchen for the Mid-day Meals which rapidl spread throughout the ‘building’ brought down the thatched roof and consumed many small children. The teachers had saved their lives by running away. Instead of quietly fi

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Disaster Management - The Discipline Of Dealing With And Avoiding Risks. (2017, Sep 22). Retrieved September 28, 2021 , from
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