Types of Disaster
• Household Chemical Emergency:
Household Chemical Emergency Nearly every household uses products containing hazardous materials or chemicals. Once you have located a product, check the label and take the necessary steps to ensure that you are using, storing, and disposing of the material according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remember that products such as aerosol cans of hair spray and deodorant, nail polish and nail polish remover, toilet bowl cleaners, and furniture polishes all fall into the category of hazardous materials.
Earthquake One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects.If an earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage.
Fire Each year, more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could be prevented. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.6 billion annually.Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods.
Landslide and Debris Flow (Mudslide) Landslides occur in all U.S. states and territories and all over the country.Rapidly accumulates in the ground, during heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt, changing the earth into a flowing river of mud or “slurry.” They can flow rapidly, striking with little or no warning at avalanche speeds.Land-use zoning, professional inspections, and proper design can minimize many landslide, mudflow, and debris flow problems.
A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock below the surface of the earth.There may be lava flows, flattened landscapes, poisonous gases, and flying rock and ash. While not immediately dangerous to most adults, the acidic gas and ash can cause lung damage to small infants, to older adults, and to those suffering from severe respiratory illnesses. Volcanic ash also can damage machinery, including engines and electrical equipment.Volcanic ash can affect people hundreds of miles away from the cone of a volcano.Active volcanoes of the Cascade Mountain Range in California, Oregon, and Washington have created problems recently. The danger area around a volcano covers approximately a 20-mile radius. Some danger may exist 100 miles or more from a volcano, leaving Montana and Wyoming at risk.
All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. In the United States, an average of 300 people are injured and 80 people are killed each year by lightning. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires.About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe—one that produces hail at least three-quarters of an inch in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher, or produces a tornado. "Heat lightning" is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard.
Tsunamis (pronounced soo-ná-mees), also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called “tidal waves”), are a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite. A tsunami can move hundreds of miles per hour in the open ocean and smash into land with waves as high as 100 feet or more.That is why a small tsunami at one beach can be a giant wave a few miles away.Tsunami waves and the receding water are very destructive to structures in the run-up zone.
• Dam Failure:
There are 79,500 dams in the United States, according to the 2005 update to the National Inventory of Dams. Flash floods occur within six hours of the beginning of heavy rainfall, and dam failure may occur within hours of the first signs of breaching.
• Nuclear Power Plant Emergency:
Nuclear power plants use the heat generated from nuclear fission in a contained environment to convert water to steam, which powers generators to produce electricity. An accident could result in dangerous levels of radiation that could affect the health and safety of the public living near the nuclear power plant. The plans define two “emergency planning zones.” One zone covers an area within a 10-mile radius of the plant, where it is possible that people could be harmed by direct radiation exposure. This exposure could come from the release of radioactive material from the plant into the environment, usually characterized by a plume (cloud-like formation) of radioactive gases and particles. The major hazards to people in the vicinity of the plume are radiation exposure to the body from the cloud and particles deposited on the ground, inhalation of radioactive materials, and ingestion of radioactive materials.
• Extreme Heat:
Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits.Consequently, people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than those living in rural areas. Also, asphalt and concrete store heat longer and gradually release heat at night, which can produce higher nighttime temperatures known as the "urban heat island effect."