Be Prepared for Disaster

You are driving in your car when the newsflash comes across your radio. There is a potentially dangerous storm headed you way.  Or torrential rains are causing massive flooding. Or a huge power outage has swept the region, leaving you without heat or light.  Or perhaps all three have collided… now what do you do?

Disaster comes in many forms, but someday, with little or no warning, you may find yourself faced with surviving a catastrophe, either large or small. The question is, if disaster strikes, will you be ready?  You may be on your own without help or outside resources for 72 hours. Three days.  That is the standard that emergency management organizations and first responders say it may take them to get up and running after a large-scale disaster.You may think you’re prepared, but are you really? Do you have the tools and means necessary to make it through?

Getting Prepared

There are three basic ways to be prepared for a crisis or natural disaster, whether it be a large-scale calamity, like a hurricane or earthquake, that could interrupt services in a broader region, or something smaller like a bridge collapse or landslide that leaves your community cut off from services and supplies.

Know the risks and have a plan:

The first step to being preparedis knowing what you need to prepare for. Researching and understanding what kind of disasters or risks may occur in your areawill give you an idea of what kind of a disaster plan you need to have. An important part of knowing the risks includes being aware of your surroundings and being able to get information ahead of time; this is especially for natural events like a storm or flooding. If you live in an area prone to flooding or landslides, you should pay close attention when you hear about that storm headed your way that is predicted to dump loads of rain on you. If you live in an area prone to severe weather you should keep in mind storms may be more common during certain seasons.

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Summertime Safety

Summertime SafetySummer! The days are long, the weather is warm; it is the season of barbecues, pool parties, and time spent outdoors.

But summer also comes with its own set of potential hazards and threats. Common sense tells us we are should to drink plenty of fluids and schedule outdoor exercise in the morning or evening when it is cooler out to avoid heat stroke. We all know the importance of protecting ourselves from the sun – hats and sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 are a must.  But here are a few other every-day hazards to keep in mind while you soak up the best the season has to offer.

Lawn mower Injuries.

It’s Saturday morning and you look out across your beautiful yard and realize things that have started growing back there that you have never seen before.  It’s time to get out the lawn mower and weed-whacker to tame the weeds and grass, but remember that these tool scan also be the source of injury. Toes, hand and fingers may be subject serious lacerations or trauma if you don’t remember to take simple precautions.

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Technology to Help You Survive a Disaster

Technology to Help You Survive a DisasterThe technology to keep you safe in the event of a natural disaster may already be at your fingertips. A cell phone– especially a smartphone or other portable device with access to the internet and social media sites – can be a life saver in many emergency situations.

In the last several decades there have been huge technological advances in being able to track and predict when a disaster will occur and where it will hit – but getting this information is crucial to your ability to react and survive. There are a number of government-operated monitoring systems which are effective in predicting large scale or intense weather or hydro-logical events such as severe storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding and tsunamis. Researchers are continuing to look at ways to monitor and predict the potential for earthquakes, wildfire or avalanches through various systems. As technological advances are made, there is an incredible amount of information available with the potential for saving lives and property.

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Using Meteorological and Climate Data to Prevent Disasters

Using Meteorological and Climate Data to Prevent DisastersData from research and from meteorological and climatology networks is an invaluable resource when trying to predict and prevent disasters. Often these resources provide a significant amount of time and money to create, and the uses for the data are not always evident at the outset of the project.

Usually, these networks start as tools for weather forecasting and then the data analysis evolves from that point into a myriad of different directions. It is important to remember, these tools are not only descriptive. They are used to make important inferences from the data that they provide. This can be critical to understanding and modeling global warming, storm systems and other potential climatology disasters.

This important work has led to a proliferation of programs and data sets that are useful to predicting weather patterns locally and globally. The largest, worldwide programs include the World Climate Data and Monitoring Program (WCDMP), which facilitates collecting and organizing climatology data all over the world. They provide a number of data sets, including climate normals. These allow researchers to compare current weather conditions to past norms. The World Meteorological Association’s Commission for Climatology (CCI) tracks global climate and temperature extremes. This data includes information on the strongest storms, hurricanes and tornadoes.

The World Weather Records (WWR) program has recorded temperature, precipitation and barometric pressure at hundreds of stations worldwide since 1923. Some of their stations have existed for much longer than that. And, there are many other global groups that collect data on surface temperature, precipitation, ozone, aerosols and more in addition to national and regional services. For example, the World Meteorological Organization has begun to develop regional centers and networks for Asia and Europe.

However, these massive undertaking can stretch the limits of any data acquisition and management program’s capabilities. These networks rely on quick, secure and user-friendly technological solutions, and the massive amount of data they produce needs to be stored somewhere. For example, the CCI records have been stored at Arizona State University since 2006. Before that, much of this critical information was simply not accessible to researchers for evaluation and verification.

This is still a problem, and the amount of data requires more space and planning than currently exists. The solution rests in creating data centers that are designed especially for gathering and processing climatology data sets. The fact is that there is a huge need for this information, and more purpose-built data centers are needed to store it. Luckily, companies like Citrus are stepping in to build these data centers. The future of climate prediction and disaster management rests in the ability of people to effectively collect, store and analyze this information. And, to that end, our futures do as well.