Natural Disasters

Introduction- What is a natural disaster?

The definition of natural disasters is any catastrophic event that is caused by nature or the natural processes of the earth. The severity of a disaster is measured in lives lost, economic loss, and the ability of the population to rebuild. Events that occur in unpopulated areas are not considered disasters. So a flood on an uninhabited island would not count as a disaster, but a flood in a populated area is called a natural disaster.

All natural disasters cause loss in some way. Depending on the severity, lives can be lost in any number of disasters. Falling buildings or trees, freezing to death, being washed away, or heat stroke are just some of the deadly effects. Some disasters cause more loss of life than others, and population density affects the death count as well.

Then there is loss of property, which affects people’s living quarters, transportation, livelihood, and means to live. Fields saturated in salt water after tsunamis take years to grow crops again. Homes destroyed by floods, hurricanes, cyclones, landslides and avalanches, a volcanic eruption, or an earthquake are often beyond repair or take a lot of time to become livable again. Personal effects, memorabilia, vehicles, and documents also take a hit after many natural disasters.

The natural disasters that really affect people worldwide tend to become more intense as the years go on. Frequency of earthquakes, mega storms, and heat waves has gone up considerably in the last few decades. Heavy population in areas that get hit by floods, cyclones, and hurricanes has meant that more lives are lost. In some areas, the population has gotten somewhat prepared for the eventuality of disasters and shelters are built for hurricanes and tornadoes. However, loss of property is still a problem, and predicting many natural disasters isn’t easy.

Scientists, geologists, and storm watchers work hard to predict major disasters and avert as much damage as possible. With all the technology available, it’s become easier to predict major storms, blizzards, cyclones, and other weather related natural disasters. But there are still natural disasters that come up rather unexpectedly, such as earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, or even volcanic eruptions. Sometimes, a time of warning is there, but it’s often very short with catastrophic results. Areas that are not used to disasters affected by flash floods or sudden hail storms can be affected in an extreme way.

It’s clear that natural disasters are a part of life as we know it. However, science is making it more possible to predict, aid is faster at coming, and people are learning how to rebuild in safer areas.

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Natural Disasters

What to Do In Specific Emergencies

  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Sandbagging
  • Thunderstorm
  • Wildfire
  • Telephone Tips During an Emergency

    Telephone lines are designed to handle 10% phone use at any given time. Once phone use exeeds10%, the system is overwhelmed and local call service can be suspended. That means 9-1-1 calls won't be available! Long distance calls will be easier to make so arrange an out of area contact where loved ones can check in and receive messages. If power is out, cordless telephones will not work. Keep a backup phone available to plug into the phone jack.

    To help reduce the strain on the phone system:

    Pay phones: Service is restored before residential service. Calling 9-1-1 from a pay phone is a free call.

    Cellular phones: Calls must travel through regular phone lines to connect. So the same rules apply - use only for life threatening emergencies. Calling 9-1-1 from some cellular phones on or near a highway may connect you to the California Highway Patrol in Vallejo and can cause delays in emergency response. Know your local seven digit emergency number to call directly to your 9-1-1 center.

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    Basic Emergency Supply Kit

    A disaster supply kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. You should have a kit at home and also at your place of work. At work, try to include a pair of comfortable shoes in case you need to walk to a shelter area. It's best to assume that in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, roads will be inaccessible by vehicles, and public transportation will be shut down.

    Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment's notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.

    You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.

    Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days, even a week or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.

    If you need more informatin it can be found here and you can find premade disaster supply kits Kits

    Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:
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    Volunteer and Donation Information

    Cert Program

    FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team Program trains volunteers to prepare for the types of disasters that their community may face. Through hands-on practice and realistic exercises, CERT members:

    The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is an emergency preparedness program supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA began promoting nationwide use of the CERT concept in 1994 based on a model created and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. Following a series of earthquakes in the United States and Mexico that left hundreds dead, injured and without emergency services, the LAFD recognized that well-trained civilian emergency work force teams are vital for disaster situations when the scope of incidents overwhelm conventional emergency services.

    What is a CERT?

    A "CERT" is a group of people that is organized under the leadership of a local jurisdiction and receives special training that enhances their ability to recognize, respond to, and recover from a major emergency or disaster situation. Emergency responder’s train citizens and emergency management personnel in areas that will help them take care of themselves and others before, during and after a major emergency.

    Why do we need CERT?

    The ability of a community to recover from the devastating effects of a disaster requires that citizens actively plan and participate in preparedness. By encouraging preparedness efforts, hazard identification and mitigation, CERT members can minimize the effects of a disaster and facilitate recovery.

    CERT training enhances a community’s ability to be self-sufficient through the development of response teams that can assist others by providing vital services in the absence of emergency responders.

    *Information provided by CERT

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    Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

    On March 1, 2003, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    The agency coordinated its activities with the newly formed Office of Homeland Security, and FEMA's Office of National Preparedness was given responsibility for helping to ensure that the nation's first responders were trained and equipped to deal with weapons of mass destruction. 

    Within months, the terrorist attacks of Sept.11th focused the agency on issues of national preparedness and homeland security, and tested the agency in unprecedented ways.

    Billions of dollars of new funding were directed to FEMA to help communities face the threat of terrorism. Just a few years past its 20th anniversary, FEMA was actively directing its "all-hazards" approach to disasters toward homeland security issues.

    In March 2003, FEMA joined 22 other federal agencies, programs and offices in becoming the Department of Homeland Security.

    The new department, headed by Secretary Tom Ridge, brought a coordinated approach to national security from emergencies and disasters - both natural and man-made.

    On October 4, 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act. The act significantly reorganized FEMA, provided it substantial new authority to remedy gaps that became apparent in the response to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, the most devastating natural disaster in U.S. history, and included a more robust preparedness mission for FEMA.

    Top 10 Most Popular Disaster FAQ's

    1. Checking status of FEMA application
    2. Obtaining my Independent Study (IS) course certificate
    3. Base Flood Elevation (BFE)
    4. Mandatory Purchase of NFIP Coverage
    5. GIS Data
    6. Calculation of Flood Insurance
    7. Flood Insurance Requirement
    8. Paying for Flood Insurance
    9. Creating FIRMette
    10. Assistance with vehicle repairs/replacement

    *Information provided by FEMA

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    Emergency Center

    Morgan Hill Hills emergency operations center is the Morgan Hill Unified School District Transportation Dept (Bus Yard).

    Morgan Hill Unified School District Transportation Dept (Bus Yard)
    Emergency Operations Center (South end of PD building)
    105 Edes St (Get directions)
    Morgan Hill, CA

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    Contact Us

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