Tag Archives: Current Events

  • California Rainstorms Bring Flooding, Mudslides

    It’s been a tough water year for California. We’ve talked about the drought pretty extensively here on the blog, as well as some surprising effects it has had, like increasing rattlesnake populations in residential areas—in addition to the expected effects, like increasing food costs, more frequent and damaging wildfires (see here and here), and skyrocketing prices at water auctions.

    California started getting much-needed water last week, but it’s coming in a series of downpours that have flooded streets, caused mudslides that overtook homes and stranded motorists on the Pacific Coast Highway (a portion of the PCH is even shut down completely for 3-4 weeks because of the damage), and temporarily cut power to around 100,000 customers in the Bay Area. There was even a small tornado in south L.A. that blew the roof off one home.

    Just this month (1st-15th) it has rained 9.14 inches in San Francisco—compared to 2.08 inches that fell in almost six months last year (July 1 to Dec 15th). The ground just can’t absorb the water at the rate it’s falling, which leads to the mudslides and severe flooding that happened this week. Evacuations have taken place in several Southern California communities, and more will happen if the rain continues at these rates.

    A heavy storm is expected to come into Southern California Tuesday afternoon, leading to concern over more possible mudslides and flood damage. Northern California can expect rain and snow until Wednesday.

    Many California residents are unprepared for power outages, evacuations, and flooding—while others are ready, having prepared in advance for just these types of emergencies, with survival kits, family evacuation plans, and emergency gear they can rely on during the storms.

    Instagram user @annettecardwell posted this photo on December 10th with the caption “House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm”

     

     

    House is sand bagged, hatches are battened, fireplace is roaring. Ready for #hellastorm

     

    A photo posted by Annette Cardwell (@annettecardwell) on

    Google brought their sense of humor—and a raft—along for the ride… because you never know.

    Twitter user @dwnydaisy seemed all set to go the day the storms hit.

    Unfortunately, there were also a lot of messages like this one from Twitter user @krisellelaran, who thinks Californians aren’t well prepared.

    Some California residents even had to evacuate because the storm downed power lines onto their homes.

    Being prepared doesn't always mean you get to stay home, or that there isn't damage to your property, but it does mean there’s less to worry about in a crisis.

    To prepare for heavy storms that cause power outages and evacuations:

    • Get an emergency kit for everyone in your household.
    • Buy or build a power outage kit for your home—you’ll appreciate having it during short outages where you get to stay home, as well as serious storms that require evacuation.
    • Develop a household or family emergency and evacuation plan.
    • Build up a supply of food storage and water storage you can rely on in long-term emergencies as well as short-term crises that last just a few days or weeks.
    • Research and develop important skills you can rely on for communication or survival.

    Prepare in advance, and you'll be ready for the next #rainpocalyspe or #hellastorm that comes your way.

    --Sarah

     

    Sources:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/waterlogged-northern-california-rain-27626164

    http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2014/12/13/pineapple-express-storm-system-pounds-california/

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-first-storm-of-three-southern-california-20141216-story.html

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-portion-of-pch-to-be-closed-20141215-story.html

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: flood, Current Events, rainstorm, Preparedness In The News

  • Los Angeles Retrofit for Earthquakes - Monica Almeida - NYT

    If approved, the required safety measures in Los Angeles would cost billions in the

    private and public sectors,the mayor said. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of December 7 to December 12.

    1. Earthquake Plan Would Require Retrofitting Thousands of Los Angeles Buildings

    If approved by the Los Angeles City Council, an earthquake plan will require thousands of apartment buildings and offices to be retrofitted for earthquakes. They are the most sweeping earthquake safety changes ever seen by the state and, if passed, they will come with a hefty price tag: $5,000 per apartment unit and $15 per square foot of office space. Read more at www.nytimes.com.

    Learn how to prepare your home for an earthquake here.

     

    2. Study: Offshore Fault Where The 'Big One' Originates Eerily Quiet

    The Pacific Northwest Coastline is eerily quiet, according to earthquake scientists. They attribute the silence to a probable locking of the tectonic plates. Unfortunately, this likely means, they conclude, that the plates are increasingly storing energy, which will eventually need to be released. Read the latest at www.kplu.org.

     

    3. 'San Andreas' Movie Trailer: Could The Earthquake In Dwayne Johnson's Latest Film Actually Happen?

    An earthquake disaster movie staring “The Rock” will be released in theaters May 29, 2015. Trailers are already out, with depictions of buildings crumbling and people panicking. The movie is called “San Andreas” and likely refers to the famous fault line running through California. The question is, how “Hollywoodized” is the movie or could similar take place when the “Big One” strikes? Read more at www.ibtimes.com.

     

    4. Virginia Scores High on Health Emergency Preparedness

    Virginia recently received a top score among states on a national emergency preparedness competition. The state scored 8.2 out of 10, with the national average being 7.4. The readiness index gauges public readiness to respond to a variety of emergencies, such as hurricanes, terrorism, food-borne disease outbreaks, radiological events and earthquakes. Read more at www.timesdispatch.com.

     

    5. Centre for Buildings Under Govt Schemes to be Earthquake-Resistant

    The Indian Home Ministry wants all new national and state buildings to be earthquake resistant and to set up 78 digital seismograph stations by 2016. They currently maintain a network of 42 digital seismograph stations. Read more at www.zeenews.india.com.

     

    More Headlines From Around the Globe:

    The Path to Zero Ebola Cases

    Emergency preparedness is ongoing for local group

    How to Effectively Layer Up and Stay Warm This Winter

    10 Tips for Safe Driving in Winter Weather

    Destructive Winter Moth Has Maine Bug Experts Asking For Help

    -- Caroline

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Current Events, Preparedness In The News

  • Super Typhoon Hagupit_6Dec2014 Super Typhoon Hagupit made landfall in the Phillippines. 650,000 evacuated.

     

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of November 30-December 5.

    1. Super Typhoon Hagupit makes landfall in the Philippines

    Super Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) is considered a "very strong" typhoon, equivalent to a category 2 hurricane. Over 650,000 have been evacuated. Read the latest at www.weather.com.

    For information on Hurricane (Typhoon) Preparedness, check out our 5-part mini series on the subject:

     

    2. American possibly exposed to Ebola being transferred to Atlanta hospital

    A U.S. healthcare worker working in West Africa who was possibly exposed to the Ebola virus is being transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which treated the first two Americans who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa. Read the latest at www.reuters.com.

    Learn more about protecting yourself and your family from Ebola from the CDC.

     

    3. Winter crisis in Far East Russia causes state of emergency

    Russia’s Far East has received the heaviest snowfall in decades, causing a state of emergency and the need for military aid to dig its citizens out of trouble, which includes heavy traffic, slide-offs, power outages and food shortages. On the bright side, the storms cleared pollution in Moscow. Read more at www.rt.com.

    Be ready for winter storms by brushing up on your winter driving skills, reviewing these winter survival tips, and snagging any gear you may need to stay warm.

     

    4. It finally rained in California – but not enough

    After months of drought conditions, Tuesday’s rainstorm brought hope to Californians. 24 hours brought 1.5 inches of rain to the Bay Area and Los Angeles, breaking rainfall records in Southern California. Unfortunately, the storm was not enough to end the 3-season deficit. Read more at www.mashable.com.

    Be as prepared for a drought as possible. Store water before the crisis hits, and practice conservation both before and during a drought to get the most out of the water that is available.

     

    5. Michigan provides emergency preparedness app

    The Michigan Department of Community Health has developed a smart phone app to help residents to plan for emergencies. The app provides emergency contact and health information, and gives users the ability to create, manage and export emergency plans right from their mobile devices. Read more at www.detroit.cbslocal.com.

     

    More Headlines From Around the Globe:

    One critically injured in West Jordan car fire

    Chile: Mega volcano field 'could trigger eruption 100 times larger than Mt St Helens'

    Evacuations in Cape Verde after volcano erupts

    'Emergency repair' reported at Ukraine nuclear power plant

    Plane makes emergency landing on I-575 in Canton

     

    Some of these stories are scary realities, and some of them are hypotheticals (like the Chile mega volcano). We share them to help you think of possible scenarios that you may need to prepare for based on your location and your family's needs. We hope they help in your efforts to prepare.

    Any additional stories from this week you think others should know about?

    -- Caroline

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Current Events, Preparedness In The News

  • Southern California Gas Company officials enter an apartment that caught fire killing two children ages 2 and 6 in San Bernardino, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The children were killed early Thursday in the California apartment fire that broke out hours after their mother went to a hospital to give birth, authorities said. The children's father was critically injured in the blaze at the two-story duplex, fire Battalion Chief Michael Bilheimer said. (AP Photo/The Sun, John Valenzuela Southern California Gas Company officials enter an apartment that caught fire killing two children ages 2 and 6 in San Bernardino, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. The children were killed early Thursday in the California apartment fire that broke out hours after their mother went to a hospital to give birth, authorities said. The children's father was critically injured in the blaze at the two-story duplex, fire Battalion Chief Michael Bilheimer said. (AP Photo/The Sun, John Valenzuela

     

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of November 17-21st.

    1. Two young children killed in California house fire

    A six-year old girl and two-year old boy were killed in a San Bernadino, California apartment fire on November 20. Their father was also critically injured with severe smoke inhalation and burns covering most of his body. The house had no smoke detector and had blocked exits. The family was living illegally on a 500 square-foot unit on the property. Fire up more of this story at ABC News.

    From the EE blog: Learn, Don’t Burn: Fire Safety Tips for the Home

     

    2. Record-breaking arctic cold sweeps through U.S.

    More than 400 record low and record cool high temperatures were set among 43 states since Sunday, leaving only five contiguous states, all in New England, without record cold temperatures. Redmond, Oregon dropped to 19 degrees below zero early Sunday. Chicago had seven-day stretch of subfreezing daily high temperatures and set a record for consecutive hours below freezing for November with 180 hours. Chill out at weather.com for more information.

    From the EE blog: 7 Tips for Surviving Winter and Winter Driving Tips That May Save Your Life

     

    3. Mali Ebola crisis deepens with doctor’s death

    The Mali Ebola crisis has deepened after an announcement from the Mali government that a second healthcare worker linked to a single patient has contracted the Ebola virus and died. The patient was initially thought to have kidney disease. According to ABC News, healthcare workers are particularly vulnerable to contracting Ebola because of their close contact with the sick. Catch more information at ABC News.

    From the EE blog: Sanitation and Hygiene During an Emergency

     

    4. 4.2-magnitude earthquake rattles Central California

    A 3.6 earthquake followed by a 4.2 earthquake five minutes later struck Hollister, California Wednesday at 10:21 p.m. On the U.S. Geological Survey Website, nearly 1,000 residents reported feeling shaking in the first earthquake, and more than 60 residents reported the second. There were no reports of damages or injuries. Shake down more news at KSWB.

    From the EE blog: Preparing for Earthquakes

     

    Don’t be caught unprepared; emergencies happen unexpectedly and suddenly. Prepare now, and you'll be ready if and whenever disaster strikes.

    -- Caroline

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Current Events, Preparedness In The News

  • Entomophagy: Please Pass the Crickets

    A few months ago, I was introduced to a company called Chapul on a popular television show. They were trying to get financial backing for a new type of  energy bar that they claim offers more iron than spinach, more protein than beef, and as much B12 as salmon through  entomophagy...

    Which means eating bugs. For real.

    The pitchmen for the company touted the health benefits of the cricket flour they use for their bars, along with the sustainability of insect harvesting, and the fact that North America and Europe are basically the only places on the globe where eating bugs is not routine. I was unconvinced. And then I saw this headline, from the NY Daily News:

    “California hiker survives on bugs and snow for 6 days after breaking leg on mountain”

    Apparently Gregg Hein was solo hiking (moral of the story: never hike alone, unless bugs are your cup of tea) when a falling boulder broke his leg and stranded him on the side of a mountain. Miles from anyone, with no way to call for help, and two days away from his scheduled return, Hein waited it out the only way he knew how.

    Survival nuts like Bear Grylls have been telling us for ages that it can be done (watch here as he eats an enormous wood grub!), but how many of us would voluntarily choke down a creepy-crawly, in or out of a survival situation?

    Lots of us, it turns out.

    Over the last couple of years, such credible outlets as The New Yorker, The National Journal, and slate.com have all published articles on the benefits of entomophagy. Slate even offers this handy nutritional chart, comparing chicken, beef, and fish to worms, flies, and cockroaches.

     

     Entomophagy: Please Pass the Crickets

    A bizarrely compelling How Stuff Works article, titled “How Entomophagy Works,” cautions us against scrounging for snacks in our backyard (pesticides are a problem in residential areas), but does offer some helpful guidelines for bug eating in survival situations.

     

    What do you think? Are you up for adding dehydrated worms or cricket meal to your food storage? Could you eat something with lots of legs if your life depended on it?

     

    -Stacey

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Current Events, Preparedness In The News

  • Lightning in Los Angeles

    lightning in Los Angeles

    In a rare display of wild summer weather, Southern California saw one death and a dozen injuries from lightning at the end of July. While summer is prime time for thunder and lightning storms (read why here) in some parts of the country, it’s a less common phenomenon on the West Coast.

    Which just goes to show the urgency of preparedness. If disasters were completely predictable, they wouldn’t be disasters, I suppose.

    Fox News describes the “monsoon moisture,” warm and humid, which led to countless reports of lightning and thunder around the Los Angeles region, as well as flooding on Catalina Island. The fatality took place on the popular Venice Beach, where people surfed, swam, and played volleyball as thunderclouds gathered overhead.

    The Red Cross reminds us that we should head inside at the first sound of thunder and that water is particularly dangerous in a thunderstorm. In fact, the list of tips they posted for this year’s Lightning Safety Awareness Week advises we stay safely indoors for at least 30 minutes after the last audible thunder clap. The Red Cross, NOAA, and AccuWeather.com all have great articles and tip lists for lightning safety. And if you want a little more reading, here are some of our recent articles on the deadly beauty.

    I know it’s summer, and we all want to be outside, just remember to keep  an eye on the skies. Better a ruined picnic than a trip to the ER!

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Weather, Current Events, Preparedness In The News

  • 140806093251-01-china-quake-0806-horizontal-gallery

    Earthquake damage in Southwest China, August 2014, Photo Courtesy of CNN.com

     

    On Sunday, August 3rd, China’s Yunnan province saw the most devastating earthquake since 1970. According to the US Geological Survey, a 6.1 (China’s own equipment is calling it a 6.5) earthquake was recorded at 4:30pm in the agricultural region known as Ludian. On August 7th, AP reported about 615 known fatalities and 3,143 injured, though those numbers may continue to  increase as first responders progress through the rubble.

    Particularly disastrous in this case is the age and instability of the brick structures prevalent in the region. One volunteer quoted by the Huffington Post estimates that about half the buildings in the area have collapsed completely, with countless more damaged and uninhabitable, resulting in an evacuee count of almost 30,000. To make matters worse, power and communications have been wiped out, and rainstorms are hampering rescue efforts and the distribution of relief supplies.

    We’re keeping an eye on this and will report in the future on possible ways to help. In the meantime, the hard lesson for the rest of us has to do with broad spectrum preparation. Knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake is an important first step, but just as important is having a protected stock of supplies, an alternate means of communication, and the know-how to survive when the grid is down.

    Our article, “How to Prepare for an Earthquake,” contains several links to other useful lists, posts, and resources that teach everything from what to put in an earthquake emergency kit to what to do before, during, and after a quake. And as a supplement to those, “Earthquakes and Your Mental Health” emphasizes the role of preparation in the management of stress and trauma.

     

    Keep China in your thoughts and prayers, and make sure your home and family are prepared for the big one!

     

    -Stacey

     

    Sources

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/04/china-earthquake_n_5646867.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20140807/as--china-earthquake/?utm_hp_ref=world&ir=world

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/06/world/asia/china-earthquake-deaths/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Earthquake, Current Events, natural disasters, Preparedness In The News

  • Tornadoes in Tennesse

    Tornadoes in Tennessee

    In the West we’re no strangers to summer storms. But we prefer the kind that pelt us with cool rain on a hot afternoon, and then peter out when it’s time to light the barbecue. Not the kind that knock houses down. That’s what Tennessee had to deal with recently. Fortunately, no one was injured, but emerging from your basement to find a pile of debris where your home once stood is not exactly a pleasant way to pass a summer evening.

    While this particular storm affected several states in the region, one county in Tennessee bore the brunt of the devastation, as high winds ripped up trees and structures. Fox News reports that ten homes and one grocery store were completely destroyed in the community of Speedwell, including the town sheriff’s home.

    NBC News speculated that one of the numerous reported tornadoes associated with a storm system raging across areas of New England and into the South could have been responsible for the destruction in Tennessee. Elsewhere, flights were canceled, cities lost power, and New York saw some flooding. Between the heavy rain, whipping winds, tornadoes, and lightning, this storm was a force to be reckoned with.

    As a reminder, we posted this little article (“Staying Safe as Severe Storms Head for the Midwest”) in June, which serves as a helpful reminder regarding preparation for storms of all kinds and also contains some great links to other articles and resources. We’ve also found some useful tips for road safety during summer storms at weather.com; and our friendly northern neighbors at Environment Canada have a fantastically comprehensive list of safety instructions, categorized by the threat (e.g., lightning, tornadoes, hail, etc.).

    If the weather in your area is cooperating nicely, however, enjoy your summer and use the downtime to educate yourself.

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Tornado, Current Events, tornadoes, Preparedness In The News

  • Washington Wildfire Burned more than 300 Homes

    The largest recorded wildfire in Washington state history that began on July 14th, 2014 has now scorched about 400 square miles of land. And as of August 4th, 2014 the file was only 90% contained.

    On July 28th, USA today reported, “the fire has destroyed at least 312 homes…and is blamed for the death of a man trying to protect his home. At its peak, it sent a huge plume of smoke drifting east across the United States.”

    In an assessment of the damage released by Yahoo News, Washington Governor Jay Inslee extended the pre-existing burn ban in the eastern part of the state for another week to avoid further damage.

    Governor Inslee acknowledges that even though fire crews have made great progress in containing the fire, “weather conditions are still a concern” that may extend the fire’s life. So the Washington wildfire could continue to blaze on.

    On Tuesday, July 29th fire managers released a map showing the fire’s growth since July 14th. The map shows that four separate lightning strikes created four burns that merged to create a massive wildfire. Check out the map at USA Today.com.

    1406580494000-Carletonmap

     

    According to fire-fighting officials, massive wildfires like this (and the one currently blazing in eastern Oregon) are becoming the norm. Wildfires are now burning hotter and longer than they were more than a decade ago.

    Since wildfires have been popping up all over the western US this summer, it’s important to learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones during wildfire season. Check out these Ready.gov tips  to help you prepare.

     

    For more info on the Washington Wildfire, check out these articles:

    New Map Shows How Record Washington Wildfire Grew

    Sheriff: 300 Homes Burned in Washington Wildfire

    Longer, Hotter Northwest Fire Seasons are New ‘Normal’

    Bear Cub Burned in Washington Wildfire Flown to California Wildlife Care Center

     

    If you’ve ever lived through a wildfire, what tips would you suggest for protecting your home and staying safe during a wildfire? If you haven’t, what steps are you taking to prepare, just in case?

     

    -Angela

     

    Sources

    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/aug/05/wildfire-burns-homes-near-ellensburg/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Current Events, wildfire, wildfire season, Preparedness In The News

  • We’ve been posting quite a bit this year about water problems across the country, and most of the issues have been drought related. Need another reason to be extra thrifty with your water? Visit Toledo.

    According to NOAA, Lake Erie is in for its fourth consecutive year of higher-than-average incidence of toxic algal blooms. Blue-green algae may sound picturesque, but the slimy carpeting floating at the surface of infected lakes and seas can kill marine life—and wreak havoc on human bodies, as well. And algae doesn’t just mean a bummer day at the beach; Fox News points out that Lake Erie provides drinking water for much of that region, both in the US and Canada.

    These images from National Geographic show how really, ahem, eerie this phenomenon is around the world.

    Don't Drink the Water: Lake Erie's Toxic Sludge

    Photo Courtesy of National Geographic

    The state governments of Wisconsin and Florida have fact sheets available to clear up some of the misinformation about blue-green algae and help people avoid harm. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s page emphasizes the importance of keeping pets from playing in or consuming “icky-looking and smelly” (their words) water. And Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources strikes at one of the roots of the problem, cautioning residents against over-fertilization, since runoff feeds algae and leads to unnaturally aggressive growth.

    Besides vacationing somewhere other than the southwest shores of the Great Lakes, there are one or two things we can do to minimize our exposure to harmful algae. Check out the facts and tips in these water storage posts.

    Stay safe on the beach this summer, friends, and keep your drinking water clean and slime-free!

     

    --Stacey

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: water, Current Events, Preparedness In The News

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