Tag Archives: natural disaster

  • The Yellowstone Super Volcano is even bigger than we thought

    Yellowstone Volcano More than Twice as Big as Expected

    A sleeping giant lies gently snoring in the northwestern quadrant of the United States—the Yellowstone Super Volcano. Researchers from the University of Utah recently determined its magma chamber to be 2.5 times larger than previously thought, measuring at least 55 x 20 miles and running between 3 and 9 miles below the surface of the earth.

    Professor Bob Smith of the University of Utah was surprised by these findings. Smith states, “We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger…but this finding is astounding.”

    Unlike the traditional cone-shaped mountains of Mt.St. Helens and the Lassen Volcano—the two most recent volcanoes to erupt in the 48 contiguous United States —the Yellowstone Volcano has a wide, slightly bulging area. However, its surface is rising at the rate of about three inches per year, and according to Professor Smith, seismic activity in the area is increasing.

     

    Impact of an Eruption of the Super Volcano

    If Yellowstone really blew its top, scientists estimate that much of the United States and western Canada would be uninhabitable. Lava, poisonous gases, and a potential ten-foot layer of ash would cover the ground up to 1,000 miles away. Living in much of North America would become unbearable.

    The eruption would drastically affect climates in various parts of the world, just like after the 1816 eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia. This eruption was the main cause of crop failures throughout the northeastern U.S. and much of Europe. 1816 became known as the miserable “year without a summer.” Sheep and migratory birds died of the cold—in June.

    For more details about the Yellowstone Super Volcano, check out the New York Post article, “Beneath Yellowstone, a Volcano that could wipe out the U.S.

    Although scientists predict that the Yellowstone Volcano will not erupt for at least another 60,000 years, realizing that events like volcanic eruptions can cause food shortages suggests that it’s important to prepare before an emergency hits. Since disasters are unpredictable, we encourage building a supply now.

     

    In addition to storing food, having an emergency kit would give you an edge on survival if any natural disaster or emergency happens in your area and you need to evacuate. If you’re not sure of potential dangers that may exist where you live, do a little research so that you can be as prepared as possible for any event.

    Photo of the "Crested Pool Hot Spring" at Yellowstone in same area as the Super Volcano

    Photo Courtesy of the New York Post

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, emergency kit, emergency preparedness, natural disaster

  • Thousands of commuters in the South were stranded en route Tuesday and into Wednesday because of  snowy conditions during an unexpected winter storm. 

    Many spent 10-12 hours in their vehicles, trying to conserve gas, power, and warmth. Others took shelter with nearby strangers, who generously opened their homes; and some (like the 5,300 students in Alabama) were even forced to camp out in school buildings or sleep the night in buses.

    CNN reported the panic that spread when what was supposed to be a light dusting of snow turned to chaos. A thin sheet of ice and 3-10 inches of snow on the roads (depending on location) left thousands of people stranded in their vehicles during their commute home.

    As one woman went into labor, she set off for the hospital only to find gridlock after gridlock blocked her path. She called the paramedics, but they, too, had no clear route to reach her car through the disorder that Tuesday’s winter storm blew in, leaving her stranded on the road.

    The weather was also a factor in over 1,000 fender benders, five deaths in Alabama, and another 23 injuries.

    The traffic problems began when schools, businesses, and government offices sent people home at the exact same time due to the weather.

    According to Yahoo! News, “as people waited in gridlock, the snow [built up], the roads froze, cars ran out of gas and tractor-trailers jackknifed, blocking equipment that could have treated some of the roads.”

    Winter storms catch the South by surprise

    The desperate situation brought many people together to help stranded motorists. Residents near the highway opened their homes to strangers who needed food, water, and a warm place to stay. Others offered their services, as well, including a police officer who helped deliver a daughter to the pregnant woman stranded in her car.

    "There was a sense that we are all in this together,” said Mira Lowe, a CNN editor who watched as people left their vehicles to help others.

    Check out stories from other stranded drivers here

    Read the rest of CNN’s article “Atlanta mayor blames poor coordination for storm snafu

    Read Yahoo! News’ article “Helicopters search for stranded Southern drivers

    Do you know what to do in a snow and ice storm? Having a car emergency kit can definitely help by giving you food, water, warmth, and other needed supplies.

    Check out these articles for more ways you can stay safe in the cold:

    Emergency Warmth

    Stuck in the Snow? How’s your Emergency Car Kit?

    How to Winterize your Car

     

    Video Courtesy of CNN

    Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: winter storms, Winter, emergency kit, Survival, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, winter preparedness, South

  • Drought conditions help spread wildfires across California

    Wildfires swept through Central and Coastal California earlier this week and the severe drought conditions aren’t helping this prolonged fire season.

    CBS News reported fires engulfing buildings, burning homes, climbing mountainsides, and forcing evacuations across the state.

    "The lack of rain and the unseasonably dry conditions . . . make fire conditions just as bad as in the middle of fire season," said Scott Bahrenfuss of the Rio Vista Fire Department.

    On Kimball Island, what began as a 10-foot brush fire sparked into a 40-acre wildfire as intense wind speeds picked up. In Southern California, a 2-acre fire damaged two homes, two mobile homes, three motor homes, 40 vehicles, and roughly a dozen structures.

    Other areas left fire fighters scrambling to fight off the flames encroaching on some homes, while others were left to burn. As the fires spread, many residents were forced to abandon their homes, including the 15 people on Kimball Island.

    Check out CBS News’ newscast:

    With the extremely arid conditions in California, people should be extra careful with how they use fire. Simple actions such as flicking a cigarette butt out a car window or lighting a small campfire could start a rapid wildfire the sparks hit dry grass.

    To read more about the fires in Southern California, check out the following articles:

    What would you do if you were caught in a wildfire? Would you be prepared to bug out right away?

    Check out the articles below to make sure you’re prepared:

    Make and Practice a Fire Escape Plan

    Fire Season Safety and Preparedness Tips

     

    Video courtesy of CBS News

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, fire, California Wildfire, drought

  • Twitter Alerts

    Twitter has just made it easier for iOS and Android users to receive critical information during times of crisis. On Dec. 19th, Twitter added new features to its emergency alert system.

    Twitter Alerts now lets users subscribe to emergency alerts directly from a participating organization’s Twitter profile. Simply click on the bell-shaped icon next to the follow button to enroll for emergency alerts and to follow that participating organization. When facing the threat of a natural disaster, or in another emergency, these organizations will send alerts and information to your electronic device. These alerts appear as a separate bar of text along the bottom of your Twitter stream.

    Twitter Alerts first appeared in September 2013, and in the past three short months over 120 organizations from seven different countries have been enrolled. According to Gabriela Pena, a blogger on The Official Twitter Blog, “More than 50 U.S. organizations — state, regional, federal — have Twitter Alerts enabled. Participants include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of State, Department of Homeland Security and the Red Cross.”

    Read the rest of the story from Mashable or straight from The Official Twitter Blog.

    Communication during times of unrest is vital. Apps like Twitter Alerts are being created so you can be better informed during an emergency when other communication sources may not work.

    To learn more about communication during emergencies, check out our Insight Article Communication During and After a Disaster

     

    Do you have any kind of emergency alerts set up on your devices? Which ones?

     

    Photo Courtesy of The Official Twitter Blog

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: twitter, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, emergency alerts

  • Tornado Warning in the Midwest saves countless lives

    At any time, a natural disaster can strike without any warning. Preparation for any type of emergency, but especially for a natural disaster, can and will pay off in the event one comes to your town.

    Mother Nature reached out with her fickle hand once again in November, spreading tornadoes across the Midwest.

    Dozens of tornadoes traversed through seven of the states—and Illinois was hit the hardest. Although most of the destruction happened in Washington, IL, only one fatality resulted in the area. And why is that?  Preparation.

    For days, various weather service centers watched the weather and charted the rising storm, allowing them to predict when the tornado would arrive in Washington. On the day of the storm, local weather service centers broadcasted a warning 16 minutes before the tornado hit. This warning was broadcasted three minutes earlier than any other tornado warning Illinois has had in the past. Those three extra minutes saved countless lives as people fled to safety.

    “You are in a life-threatening situation,” said the last warning. “Complete destruction possible. Flying debris will be deadly.”

    To learn more about the Midwest tornadoes and Washington’s victory over fatalities, check out CBS News

    You may never face a tornado (and we hope that’s the case!), but check out this article to prep yourself in case one ever does cross your path.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Survival, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, Tornado, Midwest Tornados

  • Natural Disasters and Gender: An Unexpected Factor

    In 1970, the Bhola Cyclone hit Bangladesh, killing close to 300,000 people. Of every 15 victims, 14 were women. Since then, researchers have been looking into the cultural factors that affect genders differently in an emergency situation. In third world countries (historically hardest hit by natural disasters) for instance, social taboos might make it difficult for women to evacuate unescorted.

    While we may live in a community free from the same restrictions, other factors are less foreign, in the article, “Improving Women’s Odds in Disasters,” the World Bank reports that “most women in Bangladesh were home-based, and responsible for children and elders . . . They died in cyclones because they did not hear warnings, or because they had to fend for others as well as themselves.”

    The circumstances of these women are in some ways similar to what we may experience in the U.S. during an emergency. In a crisis, many women and men may put aside their own safety to lend a helping hand to a spouse, the elderly, children, neighbors, friends, and other loved ones. However, it is also important that in addition to helping others, we learn to help ourselves as well. Or in another circumstance, fathers or mothers who work to provide for their families and may not be home when an emergency strikes, thus it is important that all family members know how to be prepared. Our own preparedness education will allow us to not only help our loved ones, but will enable us to do so without jeopardizing our own health or safety.

    This is why for the last 40 years, Bangladesh has labored to involve women more in their emergency planning so that they can help themselves as well as others during an emergency. This increased effort has caused the gender gap in disaster casualties to dramatically decrease. One of the major lessons we can take away from emergency planning in Bangladesh is that no matter what our social, cultural, professional, or domestic circumstances may be, whole families (men, women, children, and the elderly) need to be educated about preparedness.

    Learn more about Bangladesh’s efforts to educate citizens about emergency preparedness in the World Bank.org article, “Improving Women’s Odds in Disasters.” Then check out the following articles and resources to get started on your own family’s emergency plan.

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Emergency plan, family, Survival, emergency preparedness, natural disaster

  • Midwest Tornados

    According to CBS News, several late-season tornadoes hit the Midwestern United States on Sunday, November 17th, 2013. The biggest impact of the storm was felt in Illinois, where at least six people have been confirmed dead and hundreds of homes were flattened. The Chicago Tribune states, “Since 1986, there have been 194 tornado warnings issued in the month of November in Illinois: More than half of them, 101, were issued Sunday, according to the Chicago Weather Center.”

    After interviewing National Weather Service Meteorologist Tom Skilling, the Chicago Tribune quoted him as saying, "It appears the storm may have produced the most powerful Illinois November tornado on record outside of St. Louis (and possibly elsewhere) and may be one of the four most intense Great Lakes storms of the past five decades." But Illinois was not the only state affected by this massive storm.

    The storm traveled through parts of Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky on Sunday night. These tornadoes were accompanied by hail and damaging winds, knocking out the power in several communities across these states. At least 75,000 people lost power in the Chicago area and many are still without it.

    To learn more about the Midwest tornadoes, check out these links.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57612737/at-least-6-dead-as-dozens-of-late-season-twisters-pummel-midwest/

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-tornado-disaster-area-20131118,0,5469499.story

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: storm, Survival, natural disaster, Tornado

  • Know your Avalanche Safety

    With winter sprinting towards us, all sorts of backcountry activities race to the front of our minds—skiing, sledding, snowshoeing . . . Although sparkling, fresh snow presents a gorgeous landscape, it can also lead to destructive (and deadly) avalanches.

    “When it comes to avalanche safety, the statistics are grim. Skiers and snowmobilers are the most likely to suffer an avalanche fatality. The odds of survival, if you get completely buried, are less than 30%. After 15 minutes, your chances of rescue drop significantly.”

    Check out our Insight Article Avalanche Safety to learn of three crucial avalanche safety “tools” you can’t carry with you, but that you’ll need in the great outdoors.

    Love winter outings and snow-filled fun? Check out these additional articles for tips to keep you prepared and safe:

    Winter Camping (and Other Signs of Insanity)

    http://beprepared.com/blog/10584/winter-camping-and-other-signs-of-insanity/

    Staying Warm in the Outdoors

    http://beprepared.com/insight/7142/staying-warm-in-the-outdoors/

     

    Kim

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Winter, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, natural disaster, avalanche safety, avalanche

  • Flooded house after heavy rain in the evening sunlight.

    If you’re ever in an area affected by severe flooding, you may have to evacuate your home or walk to safety. If this is the case, there are 5  tips for walking around safely in a rural area that would be helpful to know. These tips come to us from the Craft Theory blog.

    In light of the recent flooding in Colorado, the folks at Craft Theory shared these 5 tips. The tips on their list include items that you may not have thought about when it comes to walking around in a flooded area. Some things they suggest are wearing comfortable and appropriate shoes (if you can) and bringing bottled water with you on your journey.

    Check out the rest of Craft Theory’s 5 tips for Walking around Safely in a Rural Area on their blog. Some of these tips may surprise you.

    Also, if you want to pick up more tips on flood safety check out our Insight Article, “What to do Before, During, and After a Flood.”

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: resources, emergency preparedness, natural disaster

  • House in 2013 Colorado Flood

    In light of the recent flooding in Colorado and all the damage that has occurred as a result, we want to share a series of posts from one Colorado woman’s perspective. Opinions expressed are hers and do not necessarily reflect those of Emergency Essentials. If you lived through the recent Colorado floods and want to share your story, please email social@beprepared.com.

     

    The damage caused by the Colorado floods will last for many, many years.  The damage you see on TV is nothing like seeing it in person.  So many people lost everything.  Communities are gone.  Where there were once fields of corn there are now just large lakes, even a week later.  Homes are still under water; roads and bridges are just gone; and businesses are destroyed.

    The weekend of September 20th, I went to see if there was anything I could do to help.  The images that most affected me were of two farm houses and their barns still under water.  Their fields had turned into lakes.  They lost everything.

    Landfills were full of so many destroyed memories.  I saw Flood Assistance signs directing people to tents that would give them clothing, food, and assistance to help with additional relief.  It was so sad to see. But it was also exciting to see as I witnessed so many people wanting to help.  I saw entire communities working together to help each other.  People helping people they didn’t even know, and wanting nothing in return.

    As I watched these people working together to clean up the devastating effects of this storm, I was trying to think about how someone could ever prepare for an emergency of this magnitude. The flood victims needed food, warmth, and a roof over their heads. I started to think that if my family and I had been affected as badly by the storm that all the goodies we have in our bug out bags wouldn’t be enough.

    I decided to help out at the tents giving clothing and food. I listened to stories from people that had it so much worse than me. They all talked about how thankful they were.  They said, “It could have been so much worse.”

    Many organizations teach us to be prepared for emergencies, but this was big.  You need to get everyone in your community involved, not just a few people.  Everyone should know how to prepare for emergencies. It’s that old saying “It takes a village.” After the floods, I contacted my neighbors to schedule a meeting to start teaching them all how to prepare for future emergencies. We have to start somewhere.

    Note from the editor: We offer free emergency planning resources for families and neighborhoods on our Downloads page. We encourage you to create a plan as soon as possible—even a very basic plan will help—and provide you a foundation to build on. 

    Check out the rest of the series:

    Why I Prepare: Lessons from the Colorado Floods, Part 1

    Why I Prepare: Lessons from the Colorado Floods, Part 2

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, emergency kit, emergency preparedness, flood, natural disaster, Colorado flood

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