Search results for: 'earthquakes'

  • Tropical Storm Erika is Coming. Are You Complacent?

    After 10 years without a hurricane in Florida, residents have lost interest in preparing. With tropical storm Erika traveling up towards Southern Florida, it’s high time to prepare.

    Tropical storm Erika - Path Tropical storm Erika's projected path

    Just yesterday it was thought that tropical storm Erika was expected to become a category 1 hurricane when it reached Florida, which means it would have wind speeds between 74 and 95 miles per hour. That’s definitely enough to do quite a bit of damage. Today, however, the storm is not expected to reach hurricane strength. But that doesn't mean it won't bring strong winds and a lot of rain. As Erika passed the small Caribbean island of Dominica, it left over two dozen people dead in the wake of severe floods.

    The Orlando Sentinel reports that tropical storm Erika could find its way to South Florida by Monday morning, and if that happens, it “will be too late to start planning.”

    The lack of hurricanes for the last decade has instilled an air of “it can’t happen here, it will happen to someone else” within many of the people, according to Orlando Sentinel. For folks in Florida, the time to prepare is almost past. But there is still time.

    True, tropical storm Erika could still miss Florida and hit somewhere else, but if you were living there, would you want to wait and find out? By then it will be too late.

    Floridians, it’s high time to prepare.

    Tropical storm Erika - FloodingFor the rest of you readers out there, what have you become complacent about? Florida isn’t the only state to be effected by natural disasters. Tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and even winter storms can really make a mess of things. And then there’s job loss, stock market crash, and other economical disasters. These can be just as bad – or worse – than the natural ones.

    According to an in-depth study in regards to people’s emergency prep, a 2012 public safety survey suggested that “despite an increase in the number of disasters, too many Americans remain disturbingly complacent.” This complacency causes a failure to act in time to sufficiently prepare.

    Now it’s time to look deep into your soul and ask yourself, “Am I too complacent?” If you are, you can start preparing now. Turn over a new leaf, if you will. If you aren’t, then congratulations! You’re an inspiration to us all. If you’re not sure, then you may need to check your emergency preparations and make sure you have what you need. Even if you aren’t complacent, it’s still wise to check over your emergency prep every so often to make sure everything is still in good condition and ready to go should a disaster happen.

    In the past, perhaps you were able to “ride out” a storm or disaster. According to the University of Buffalo, this “can lead people to feel complacent when receiving emergency warnings.” Maybe the disaster wasn’t as bad as it was broadcast to be, or maybe you were just on the outskirts of the storm. Or, perhaps the local emergency services came in to save the day. A University of Newcastle scholar is afraid that people have become too reliant on emergency services. Such overreliance “leads to a disempowered society.”

    When disasters head our way, the last thing we want to be is disempowered. Take the steps now to be prepared, so when a stronger storm than you’ve seen comes, you will be the one in power, not the disaster.

    Tropical storm Erika - Vigilance Be vigilant to disasters, both seen and unseen

    Florida may not have had a hurricane in a decade, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. Just because you haven’t been in the path of a tornado doesn’t mean you won’t. As the saying goes, we’re sitting on a railroad track and the train is coming. We just don’t know when it will reach us.

    Likewise, we’re all in the path of all sorts of disasters. We just don’t know when they will hit us. National Weather Service meteorologist Will Ulrich hopes that, “regardless of [Erika] or any tropical system, people already have a plan in place.”

    And that’s our hope, too. Regardless of the disasters approaching – now or in the future – we hope you will already be prepared.

     

    Have you ever wished you were more prepared than you were for a disaster? What was it like? Let us know in the comments below!

     

     

    Tropical storm Erika - Hurricane Page

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios Tagged With: economic, erika, tropical storm, preparation, Hurricane, disaster

  • Blood Moon Science...and Why You Should Still Prepare

    In ancient times, blood moons were looked upon in many different ways, depending on the culture of the people. The ancient Inca, for example, believed that during a lunar eclipse, the moon was being attacked by a jaguar. That’s why the moon appeared to turn a blood-red.

    If something happened that they didn't understand, people would come up with stories to explain these celestial phenomenon. Even natural disasters were explained using stories and were thought to occur because of a displeased god or goddess. Today, we’re pretty sure a jaguar in the sky has nothing to do with the lunar eclipse or the moon turning red. In fact, a lunar eclipse – and the resulting blood moon – can be explained by science. And so can all the other natural disasters we see happening around us.

    Blood moon science via WonderHowTo

    The way a blood moon happens is this. The sun casts her light at the earth, which then in turn gives Earth a shadow that extends far into space. Normally, we would have no idea, because outer space is dark, shadows are dark…we’d just never see it! But when the moon passes behind the earth – and therefore into the earth’s shadow – we can see the moon start to darken. This is a lunar eclipse, and is quite common.

    The red color comes from the earth’s atmosphere. According to space.com, “sunlight is scattered by passing through Earth’s atmosphere, [and] the other colors of the spectrum are removed.” But the moon has to be in the right place at the right time for this effect to happen, which is why it’s rare to have a full, blood-moon eclipse.

    So that pretty much debunks the ghost jaguar in the sky myth (although it’s still a fun story).

    Blood Moon Science - Hurricane Science Inner workings of a hurricane (via NASA)

    A lunar eclipse isn’t the only scientific event we face on Earth. Disasters happen all the time, and each one happens for a reason. The difference between blood moon science and other disasters is that natural disasters are a physical danger. The blood moon, while it is theorized that it will bring about disasters, cannot hurt us in and of itself. Hurricanes come about by warm, moist air, and wind, and progress from there according to laws of nature. Earthquakes occur due to the release of energy in the Earth’s crust, which then creates seismic waves. Floods can take over the land because – among other reasons – the ground is already fully saturated and rain water has nowhere else to go.

    The list goes on, and the scientific reasoning behind it does, too. We live in a world bound by rules, and we know they are. At least, there are people who do (ie. scientists) and they let us know what to watch for. When we talk about preparedness, we do it from a standpoint that we know something is going to happen. The only thing difficult to predict is when.

    PBS recently interviewed Judith Rodin, president of the Rockerfeller Foundation, about what it means to be resilient in the face of disaster. One of the first things she said was that no matter what the emergency – disaster, health scare, cyber-attack, financial crisis, etc. – “communities and institutions bounce back only if they can prepare for the unpredictable.”

    Being prepared for the unpredictable - whether it’s a disaster, economic crisis, or a blood moon - means being prepared now. Rodin spoke about how we focus on disaster relief, which, of course, is a good thing. However, she fears we just aren’t very focused on preparedness and readiness for disasters. According to Rodin, emergency preparedness is an investment, and this investment is something that “pays off whether or not something goes wrong. And that’s the ambition.”

    Blood Moon Science - Be prepared today

    So what does this mean for you? Well, it means that if you are prepared, you won’t need to fear the future. It means that if a hurricane or tornado blows through your neighborhood, you will have the resources to “bounce back.” It means that if the blood moon ushers in devastation and destruction, you’ll be prepared to take the calamities of the earth in stride.

    It also means that if none of those things happen, then you’ll still be ready for the next major event, because one most certainly will come.

    In the end, emergency preparedness is more than just avoiding catastrophe – that will happen no matter what. Instead, being prepared and being resilient “is learning how to fail safely, and not catastrophically, whether you’re a person or a city or a business.”

    We don’t have to be afraid of disasters, celestial events, and other happenings. We know what causes them, and we know how to prepare. It’s hard not to be effected by disaster, but we can at least lessen the damage done when one does come, as well as build back better, faster, and more effectively once it passes.

     

     

    How are you preparing for disaster, the blood moon, and other events? Let us know in the comments below!

     

    Blood moon science - Disaster Page

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: resilience, science, economic crisis, blood moon, disaster

  • 8 Ways to Improve Your Business Disaster Plan

    Business Disaster Plan - Hurricane Rita Many businesses in Beuamont, TX were badly hit by Hurricane Rita

    When Hurricane Rita hit Beaumont Texas on Sept. 18, 2005, Bill Munro, owner of a dry cleaning, uniform rental, and safety apparel business, had an emergency plan, according to ready.gov. It wasn’t enough. It didn’t account for power loss or supply shortages, and it took him a week to reopen. He’s since revised it. He was lucky. He reopened.

    Up to 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Another 25 percent fail within one year, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    A business disaster plan could prevent failure. Numerous organizations have ideas, checklists, software and apps to help small businesses prepare. The steps below come from a pamphlet by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IIBS).

     

    Know your risks

    First, know what types of disasters your business is most likely to encounter. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes has a site detailing the most common natural disasters in each state.

    Only about 20 percent of business disasters are natural, according to the Agents Council for Technology (ACT), an organization for insurance agents. Others include fire, IT failure, espionage, terrorism and theft.

    You’ll need to determine which disasters will cause your company the most damage. Prioritize those in planning.

     

    Know your operations

    Business Disaster Plan - Fire AlarmOnce he reopened after Hurricane Rita, Munro realized that while no one needed dry cleaning, many contractors needed clean clothes. So he started a wash, dry and fold service. Later, he bought a generator and supplies for vital employees for three days.

    Determine which parts of your business are most important and how long you can go without being able to perform them. Install fire and security alarms and keep the work space in good shape, says the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

     

    Know your employees

    Munro created a communication plan that required employees to contact their supervisors within two days of an emergency and give their current address and phone number. He also designated 15 employees who would be necessary to restart the business.

    You need employee contact information to make sure your employees are safe, let them know what’s going on and tell them how and when they can return to work. ACT suggests using text messaging, which is often more reliable in a disaster.

    Also help employees plan for emergencies on site, like earthquakes, fires, shelter in place events and evacuations, suggests the NAIC.

     

    Know your key customers, contacts, suppliers and vendors

    When Hurricane Katrina was headed for New Orleans in 2005, Sandy Whann, president of the local Leidenheimer Baking Company, set up a satellite office in Baton Rouge. While evacuating, he contacted his customers and told them his company’s plans, according to ready.gov. He kept current customer information in a business evacuation kit along with all the information he needed to run the business. When he arrived in Baton Rouge, he arranged for his calls and mail to be forwarded.

     

    Know your IT

    Web sites and email are important ways to stay in contact. ACT recommended you keep your web site host offsite and have daily backups stored offsite in a cloud service or secure drive. Whann kept financial and payroll records, utility contact information, updated phone lists, backup files and software and computer hard drives in a fireproof, waterproof case he could grab immediately. If you do that, make sure the case is in a secure place.

     

    Know your finances

    An important part of knowing your company’s finances is to know its insurance coverage and make sure you have enough. Another is to know what you have. Make an inventory of business equipment, supplies and merchandise, suggests the Insurance Information Institute.

     

    Know when to update and test your plan

    Ninety percent of companies with fewer than 100 employees spend less than one day a month on their community plans, according to a 2009 disaster recovery survey from Agility Recovery, a disaster preparedness company. Twenty-two percent spent no time doing so.

    Practice your plan once you’ve made it.

    “While owners of small businesses probably feel as though they don’t have the time to prepare for an emergency or disaster,” said Gail Moraton, business resiliency manager at IIBS, in a release, “it can mean the difference between permanently going out of business and reopening quickly.”

     

    Know where to go for help

    Work with local emergency management officials and utilities before a disaster. Munro, the dry cleaning company owner, gave emergency officials names of his key employees so they will be allowed to enter a closed disaster area. He also contacted his local utility to arrange for power to be turned back on within 48 hours of a disaster.

    "If businesses are up and running, individuals can receive a paycheck and the community can stabilize," Munro said.

     

    Do you have a business disaster plan for your company? Share with us some of the things you're doing!

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: business, store, Business disaster plan, Disaster Recovery

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