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Productive Suggestions For Dealing With Disasters

Natural Disasters Productive suggestions

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#1 Lin731

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 12:02 AM

Given that from what I'm seeing/hearing/reading is that alot of the relief efforts have come from average people...Doctors and nurses staying behind to care for patients, local relief efforts to feed, house and generally care for survivors, the network of information sources for help and for locating seperated family members etc...I've seen tons of stories about regular people stepping up so it got me thinking about how WE could organise to help ourselves in times like these (whether it's organised through the states, Feds etc...) but with LOCAL control of the process.

Example, you had alot of doctors, nurses and medical personel willing and able and often taking matters into their own hands, so why not organise them state by state, city by city to mobilize in an emergency? A Medical network organised around cell phones/internet etc...with pre arranged medical supply points and area designations at the local levels.

The same could be done for food, water etc...All set up in local areas with pre arranged plans in place...In case of a natural disaster these people have a pre arranged police escort and carte blanche to gather nessesary supplies (to be reimbursed by X agency afterward) to deal immediately with victim needs. Rather than dealing with paper pushers all over the place with forms to fill put in triplicate and thumb twittling for days.

So what do you think, what ideas do you have?
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#2 Aurelius

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 06:13 PM

Now, I may be wildly wrong with this idea, but the thought occurs to me that when we see images of the destruction along the Gulf coast, I don't think I saw a single house that was fully made of stone or brick. They all seemed to be wooden in construction.

For an area that is increasingly storm prone, as this part of America seems to be becoming, would stronger built houses not be better. Look at the skyscrapers in New Orleans...for the most part still standing, because they're made of concrete and steel.

Am I wrong?? I've always been of the opinion that brick/stone/concrete building were better...mainly because I've never lived in a house that wasn't made of those materials.

In other areas, I think pre-planning is absolutely essential. Plans should be made for the worst-case scenario.  They should be adaptable for every situation. Most importantly there should be no issue about who's in charge. With the Katrina disaster I wasn't...and still aren't kinda sure who's in overall charge. When the disaster happens isn't the time to be deciding this...it should be set in stone years before.

Each particular area...be it state, city, county...whatever should have a protected supply of medicine, food, water, prefab shelters, all the things needed in an emergency. I still can't believe that it took so long to get food and water to those poor people in New Orleans. There should have been sufficient emergency supplies in the city to last at least a week.

Now, all of what I said may sound unworkable and naive, but I feel that it's the least should be done.

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#3 Anarch

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 06:16 PM

Let me echo my recommendation from the Catastrophy thread:

...

The beginning of what promises to be an interesting series of posts at Kos about disaster preparedness.  I'm not making any promises about the comments but the posts themselves seem pretty much issue-based.

#4 Natolii

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 08:28 PM

One state is taking this message seriously.

http://www.turnto10....856/detail.html

Quote

Officials Tour Providence's Hurricane Barrier
Barrier Never Tested By Major Storm
By R.J. Heim, News Channel 10

POSTED: 3:58 pm EDT September 9, 2005
UPDATED: 8:39 pm EDT September 9, 2005

PROVIDENCE -- In light of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation in New Orleans brought on by the storm when the levees broke, officials took another look at the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier on Friday.

Providence Mayor David Cicilline hosted U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee on a tour of the barrier, which went online in 1966.

The two major hurricanes of the last century -- the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 and Hurricane Carol in 1954, which flooded parts of Providence under 13 feet of water -- prompted the barrier's construction.

"It's not just downtown. This would protect the neighborhoods of the city. The flooding that potentially could occur depending on the strength of the hurricane would travel well into the neighborhoods of the city," Cicilline said.

Providence has never been hit with a storm of those magnitudes since the barrier was built.

"I think we all have an increased sensitivity to the importance of this hurricane barrier after what has happened with Hurricane Katrina," Cicilline said.

It's hard to find parts for the barrier's antiquated electrical system. Operators say they have to look on eBay for replacements.

"Looking at those old panels left over from years gone by, with the fast-moving technology, we have to keep up with it," Cicilline said.

Chafee said he's secured federal money to upgrade.

"We got the $700,000 to start that process, and I think that is important. That's a big need," Chafee said.

Four of the barrier's five pumps are working. Engineers say two or three should be sufficient in a major hurricane.

"We're ready for a hurricane. Hoping we don't have it, but if it did happen, the barrier will operate," said John Nickelson, the city's public works director.

Nickelson said he's satisfied that Providence would be protected from a major hurricane such as the ones in 1938 or 1954.

"Yes, I think we've got good people here and they do test it four times a year," he said.

The city of Providence runs the barrier. In the long run, Cicilline wants to hand back the controls to the Army Corp of Engineers.

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#5 eloisel

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 01:05 AM

How much is already in place on the local level?

Again, I can only speak from my own experience on this issue, but ...
we have shelters that are stocked with supplies.  We even have a cache of certain drugs in the event of a biological based attack - which are prioritized for first responders before general population.  It may not sound fair at first blush, but, protecting first the people that are trained and responsible for rescuing the rest of us makes sense.  Unfortunately, I'm allergic to all of the drugs as they are sulfa based so it doesn't matter where I am in the pecking order, I need full body covering life sustaining gear.

I know that we have frequent testing on our alarm and emergency broadcast systems.  "If this had been a real emergency, you would be directed to ...."  I know I've seen signs at different locations around town indicating the area is a particular type of shelter.  Obviously, the basement of the central library or the local hospital would not be a shelter of choice in a flood.

I think one of the major problems with the Superdome as a shelter was that food, water and security was not in place.  I believe I read that the Superdome was a designated emergency plan shelter.  If that is true, I am wondering why it wasn't properly outfitted as a shelter or if it was but the plan didn't adequately anticipate the number of people that would seek shelter there.

Keeping that in mind, I'm going to ask around and find out how many people our shelters are prepared for.  Given current circumstances, if it is anything less than the entire population of the city, then I think I'm going to have to consider it inadequate.

What are your city's emergency plans?

#6 Lin731

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 04:28 PM

eloisel,
I'm thinking a major problem is in many areas the only people that ARE aware of emergency plans are police/fire/first responders. I think the public really doesn't know what they're suposed to do. We've had first responder drills here too but they all dealt with terrorist type emergencies and I've never seen an emergency plan issued to the public for that or for any other kind of emergency.
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#7 Zwolf

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 04:45 PM

I think we're doing a lot of it already.  I'm not sure if FEMA's even shown up in Mississippi yet, but the citizens have been hard at work.  I'm usually not a fan of churches, but I have to commend 'em for what they've been doing around here - housing refugees, organizing efforts to get supplies, etc.  It's impressive.   A lot of people have been taking time off from work to head down to the damage areas.  One guy I work with is a Sea Bee, and he's been doing a whole lot of stuff.

I do know that housing codes in Florida have changed to adjust to the hurricanes.  The house my family had there was a one-story thing, built on a slab.  When it got trashed by Ivan, we just sold the lot because we wouldn't have been able to rebuild it as-was... they won't let you build on a slab there anymore, you have to build on stilts.  This did help a lot of houses in Ivan.  Plenty of them were still totalled out, but there are almost no houses built on slabs left there now.   So changing and enforcing stricter building codes in danger zones has had some positive effect... even though it sucks for a lot of people, who aren't going to be able to rebuild their houses.  (You couldn't insure one of those slab houses for even half of what it'd take to build one of the stilt-houses).

Cheers,

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#8 eloisel

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 12:49 AM

You know what, Lin731, I think you're right on that.  That is something that can be rectified.  Granted we're not all at risk for the same natural disasters but each city/county/state should have a plan that the citizens are aware of and reminded of through public service announcements on a regular basis.  This is the kind of thing email campaigns to officals would be most effective in too.  If the PSAs are already out there, then maybe now is a good time to make sure the announcements are achieving their purpose of informing the public.  That is something local news people could do - go out in the street and ask people if they are aware of their area's emergency plans.  Hmmm... could be a movement ... now, how to get it moving!

#9 Lin731

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 02:04 PM

I'm thinking the best means to "get it going" would be to start at the township levels becasue they deal with their own little communities. If they have a disaster plan, go from there to the local papers and see about having them run a peice (or several) detailing local area's disaster plans. If the townships don't have a disaster plan, some letters to the editor of the local papers would be a VERY good incentive to get them moving on one.
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#10 eloisel

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 06:08 PM

Well, I did some looking around my home town.  As I've mentioned, we have public service announcements fairly regularly, an emergency broadcast TV and radio station, city wide sirens, shelters marked, meds in the event of bio attack, etc.  Yet, today in the paper a city official was reported as saying our emergency plan went well but that resources had been strained.  That concerns me because we have a population over 300,000 and it only took about 1200 evacuees to strain the resources.  On top of that, the disaster didn't even take place here.  I wonder how well the emergency plan would work if it was our own disaster and we had a majority of the regular population to be concerned with.   Hmmm.... now I'll have to do some more digging and find out what is going on.  Don't want to sit here thinking I've got options when I really don't.

#11 Anakam

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 07:48 AM

This isn't exactly a suggestion, but I'd ask to see at the least an outline of emergency plans that FEMA or any other agency may have for your area for spills, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunami, floods, etc.

(I :wub: working on geohazards, so you can ask me anything you want about quakes and tsunami especially.)
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#12 Godeskian

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 07:51 AM

Anakam, on Sep 14 2005, 01:48 PM, said:

(I :wub: working on geohazards, so you can ask me anything you want about quakes and tsunami especially.)

Good, because I had a question about both. I recently was talking to some people about a term i'd heard before but had never heard defined, which was mega-tsunami. (i thought the term redundant to be honest)

What can you tell me about La Palma, the instability there, and the chances of it triggering a mega-tsunami capable of wiping out the entire east coast of the US?

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#13 Nonny

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 10:22 AM

My community has an emergency preparedness committee that meets regularly.  Our houses are built around 36 holes of golf and a bunch of greenbelts, all of which are low enough to form flood channels.  The houses are built to withstand a pretty high magnitude earthquake, and when we've had moderate ones, I've noticed that the walls and windows don't shake, which is reassuring.  Can't think of the word for it, but the building materials don't catch fire fast, no wood shingles, nothing like that.  

My neighborhood has no block captain, so maybe I'll have to put my money where my mouth is and volunteer.  I keep telling them that a block captain with a known mental disability is not a good idea, but I'm the young (okay, if life begins at 40, I'm a senior citizen teenager  :p ) assertive neighbor, and everybody listens to me, but that's on a good day.   :look:

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Edited by Nonny, 14 September 2005 - 10:24 AM.

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#14 Anakam

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 11:31 AM

Godeskian, on Sep 14 2005, 01:51 PM, said:

Anakam, on Sep 14 2005, 01:48 PM, said:

(I :wub: working on geohazards, so you can ask me anything you want about quakes and tsunami especially.)

Good, because I had a question about both. I recently was talking to some people about a term i'd heard before but had never heard defined, which was mega-tsunami. (i thought the term redundant to be honest)

What can you tell me about La Palma, the instability there, and the chances of it triggering a mega-tsunami capable of wiping out the entire east coast of the US?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You do not want to see a mega-tsunami, trust me.  

:eek4:

Really.  Frighteningly enough, it's not redundant; from what I understand, a mega-tsunami is incredibly, incredibly high--about 300 feet.  You're actually asking me about one of the very few geohazards I know little about, so I'm trusting that other people have gathered accurate information, here.... and I can tell you that it has NOT been paid the same sort of attention as some other hazards, such as the San Andreas.  (Actually, now that I think about it, tsunami in general haven't been paid much attention as hazards here in the US.  Hmmm.)

Anyway... the thing is that apparently the volcano, or one side of it, which is about the size of Long Island, or something (500 billion tonnes, according to Wikipedia), has a history of being unstable; it slipped in 1949 during an eruption.  I'm guessing that there's a fault encouraging the western half to fall off or the material is structurally very weak and slippery, sort of like clay only worse, or both of those things.  From what I've heard, scientists think it likely to happen in the next several thousand years; when it does, it'll do a total number on the Atlantic basin, and almost certainly reflect around and cause some damage to coastlines in the Pacific and Indian Ocean basins too.  (For reference, keep in mind that the energy from the Dec 26 tsunami took about 2 days to completely dissipate; like any other wave, it'll just keep going and going....)

The megatsunami reference could also come from the fact that apparently the wave could be up to a kilometer high in the region of the islands.  This is solely from Wikipedia, again, and they don't define for how far around the islands.

What could trigger it... I'm guessing that another eruption or an earthquake would do it; some scientists are kind of hoping that it'll just slowly crumble off.

The east coast of the US would have to evacuate immediately as soon as this happened (even though the wave would take several hours to get there, and the European and African coastlines even sooner than immediately), so we kind of need a warning system and constant monitoring for the Atlantic basin.  This has enormous potential for a complete bungling, because the monitoring system would have to be looking for a landslide and an earthquake and an eruption and.... well... yeah.  I feel like I'm not making sense anymore. ;)

The Cumbre Vieja ridge IS unstable, that's not in question.  If it all slides off at once, it WILL make the tsunami, because the ocean will be suddenly and incredibly disrupted.  The only things I think we can really do to prepare are to create a tsunami warning system for the Atlantic, monitor the island very closely, make tsunami evacuation routes, and attempt to educate the public without creating a panic situation.  Oh, and hope it just crumbles off bits at a time, although that still wouldn't be very pleasant.  I'd need to know more about it before I gave you the chances of that.

Yeah.  I'll shut up now. :D
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#15 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 01:11 PM

Lin731, on Sep 9 2005, 12:02 AM, said:

Example, you had alot of doctors, nurses and medical personel willing and able and often taking matters into their own hands, so why not organise them state by state, city by city to mobilize in an emergency? A Medical network organised around cell phones/internet etc...with pre arranged medical supply points and area designations at the local levels.

The same could be done for food, water etc...All set up in local areas with pre arranged plans in place...In case of a natural disaster these people have a pre arranged police escort and carte blanche to gather nessesary supplies (to be reimbursed by X agency afterward) to deal immediately with victim needs. Rather than dealing with paper pushers all over the place with forms to fill put in triplicate and thumb twittling for days.

So what do you think, what ideas do you have?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


These are real good ideas, but it will never happen. Even if locals did do this, they would be stopped and prevented from givng aid by FEMA...Once FEMA manages to get down to the disaster. Remember the reports of them not allowing the vendor to give free food to starving people?

And that's just FEMA. That's not taking into consideration the idiocy of the local government, state police, ect....If they are trying to evacuate a city do you think they are going to allow a private relief group from another state enter that area?

Sadly the truth of the matter is this: Katrina showed us once and for all that we can NOT count on the government to help us. In disasters, at least in the begining, we are on our own.
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#16 Lin731

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 02:31 PM

Quote

And that's just FEMA. That's not taking into consideration the idiocy of the local government, state police, ect....If they are trying to evacuate a city do you think they are going to allow a private relief group from another state enter that area?


I think you misunderstood me a little...I wasn't calling for a network of docs/releif workers from out of state. I meant that within each state, they have their OWN state network of Docs....Ak...a NOLA happens, you have doctors A/B&C that live within Parish D...So those doctors have prearrange assignments within Parish D that they work from...Doc A covers X number of blocks within the parish. Doc B covers X amount of blocks in the parish etc...They have pre arranged access to medical supplies and medications set up with X hospital/clinic etc...in the area in advance. Same kinda responsibilities for local officials...Local officials in Parish D have the responsibility to contact all the nursing home, hospitals in the are to be sure they know what the threat is and perhaps we need mandatory evac orders for all care facilities....Say if the state issues and overall Voluntary Evac, that all in house care providers are automatically required BY LAW to evacuate their facilities.
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#17 Captain Jack

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 03:08 PM

Cool, a pro-active thread :)  

I was thinking about how the elderly and handicapped can be helped.  In New Orleans, a deaf man didn't evacuate because he couldn't hear the water rushing towards his house (at least, that's how the news reported it), and many old people were left to die in nursing homes.  People without cars should have help evacuating as well.  Again, I know it's dangerous for me to think, but I couldn't help it.

Here in good 'ole San Francisco, and throughout California, we have strict building codes.  Buildings, both residential and commercial must be built to ride out earthquakes with no or minimal damage.  The same holds true for freeways, subways, and other structures.  Granted, if the quake is large enough like the one in 1989, it WILL do damage.  Nothing is indestructible.  We can only hope we make things strong enough and safe enough as humanly possible.  Anyway, besides that, we should have flashlights, fresh batteries, water, first aid kits, portable radio or tv, and other essentials safe and ready in case of emergency.  Every household should have these across the country.  

In areas like New Orleans that can flood, maybe people could have inflatable rafts as part of their survival kit?  I really don't know if that would help at all, but it's probably better than being stranded of the roof of your own home.  That's all I have for now. Ya'll already got the good ideas down.  :)
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#18 Anakam

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 07:26 AM

^
Also, I know I would find it helpful to know what kind of faults were near me and how active they tended to be.

Does everyone know where the safest place is to be during an earthquake?

(I'm a firm believer in the concept of disaster preparedness starting with knowledge on the possible types.)

For earthquakes--another thing is to discourage building where the soil is likely to liquefy during an earthquake, although that's like ultra-disaster-prevention kind of thing.... and not always possible.
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I think you're the first female cast member to *insist* on playing a guy ;) - Iolanthe, on my cross-casting obsession.

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"I think perhaps that was a sub-optimal phrasing for the maintenance of harmony within the collective." - Omega, here

"Courtesy is how we got civilized. The blind assertion of rights is what threatens to decivilize us. Everybody's got lots of rights that are set out legally. Responsibilities are not enumerated, for good reason, but they are set into the social fabric. Is it such a sacrifice to not be an a**hole?" - Jenny Smith on Usenet, via Jid, via Kathy

#19 eloisel

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 09:17 PM

I've thought about having an inflatable raft/boat for floods.  But, there is a lot of debris in flood water that I think could possibly damage the inflatable raft/boat leaving me and any with me in worse shape than being stranded on a rooftop.





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