SAFETY TIPS FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

FIRE ACCIDENTS   HEAT WAVE    FLOODS     LIGHTNING    CYCLONE     EARTHQUAKES   TORNADO

FIRE ACCIDENTS

   High-Rise Fires

bullet Calmly leave the apartment, closing the door behind you. Remember the keys!
bullet Pull the fire alarm near the closest exit, if available, or raise an alarm by warning others.
bullet Leave the building by the stairs.
bullet Never take the elevator during fire!  

If the exit is blocked by smoke or fire

bullet Leave the door closed but do not lock it.
bullet To keep the smoke out, put a wet towel in the space at the bottom of the door.
bullet Call the emergency fire service number and tell them your apartment number and let them know you are trapped by smoke and fire. It is important that you listen and do what they tell you.
bullet Stay calm and wait for someone to rescue you.

If there is a fire alarm in your building which goes off

bullet Before you open the door, feel the door by using the back of our hand. If the door is hot or warm, do not open the door.
bullet If the door is cool, open it just a little to check the hallway. If you see smoke in the hallway, do not leave.
bullet If there is no smoke in the hallway, leave and close the door. Go directly to the stairs to leave. Never use the elevator.

If smoke is in your apartment

bullet Stay low to the floor under the smoke.
bullet Call the Fire Emergency Number which should be pasted near your telephone along with police and other emergency services and let them know that you are trapped by smoke.
bullet If you have a balcony and there is no fire below it, go out.
bullet If there is fire below, go out to the window. DO NOT OPEN THE WINDOW but stay near the window.
bullet If there is no fire below, go to the window and open it. Stay near the open window.
bullet Hang a bed sheet, towel or blanket out of the window to let people know that you are there and need help.
bullet Be calm and wait for someone to rescue you.

    Kitchen Fires

It is important to know what kind of stove or cooking oven you have in your home – gas, electric, kerosene or where firewood is used. The stove is the No. 1 cause of fire hazards in your kitchen and can cause fires, which may destroy the entire house, especially in rural areas where there are thatched roof or other inflammable materials like straw kept near the kitchen. For electric and gas stoves ensure that the switch or the gas valve is switched off/turned off immediately after the cooking is over. An electric burner remains hot and until it cools off, it can be very dangerous. The oven using wood can be dangerous because burning embers remain. When lighting the fire on a wooden fuel oven, keep a cover on the top while lighting the oven so that sparks do not fly to the thatched roof. After the cooking is over, ensure that the remaining fire is extinguished off by sprinkling water if no adult remains in the kitchen after the cooking. Do not keep any inflammable article like kerosene near the kitchen fire.

Important Do’s in the Kitchen

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Do have an adult always present when cooking is going on the kitchen. Children should not be allowed alone.

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Do keep hair tied back and do not wear synthetic clothes when you are cooking.

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Do make sure that the curtains on the window near the stove are tied back and will not blow on to the flame or burner.

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Do check to make sure that the gas burner is turned off immediately if the fire is not ignited and also switched off immediately after cooking.

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Do turn panhandles to the centre of the stove and put them out of touch of the children in the house.

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Do ensure that the floor is always dry so that you do not slip and fall on the fire.

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Do keep matches out of the reach of children.

Important Don’ts

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Don’t put towels, or dishrags near a stove burner.

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Don’t wear loose fitting clothes when you cook, and don’t reach across the top of the stove when you are cooking.

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Don’t put things in the cabinets or shelves above the stove. Young children may try to reach them and accidentally start the burners, start a fire, catch on fire.

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Don’t store spray cans or cans carrying inflammable items near the stove.

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Don’t let small children near an open oven door. They can be burnt by the heat or by falling onto the door or into the oven.

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Don’t lean against the stove to keep warm.

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Don’t use towels as potholders. They may catch on fire.

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Don’t overload an electrical outlet with several appliances or extension cords. The cords or plugs may overheat and cause a fire.

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Don’t use water to put out a grease fire. ONLY use baking soda, salt, or a tight lid. Always keep a box of baking soda near the stove.

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Don’t use radios or other small appliances (mixers, blenders) near the sink.

COMMON TIPS

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Do keep the phone number of the Fire Service near the telephone and ensure that everyone in the family knows the number.

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Do keep matches and lighters away from children.

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Do sleep with your bedroom closed to prevent the spread of fire.

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Do you know that you should never run if your clothes are on fire and that you should  - “STOP – DROP-ROLL.”

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HEAT WAVE

Heat Wave conditions can result in physiological strain, which could even result in death.  Orissa experienced sever heat wave conditions during April to mid June in 1998, and nearly 2,000 people died of heat stroke.

To minimise the impact during the heat wave and to prevent serious ailment or death because of heat stroke, you can take the following measures:

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Avoid going out in the sun, especially between 12.00 noon and 3.00 p.m.

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Drink sufficient water and as often as possible, even if not thirsty

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Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose, and porous cotton clothes. Use protective goggles, umbrella/hat, shoes or chappals while going out in sun.

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Avoid strenuous activities when the outside temperature is high. Avoid working outside between 12 noon and 3 p.m.

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While travelling, carry water with you.

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Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks, which dehydrates the body.

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Avoid high-protein food.

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If you work outside, use a hat or an umbrella and also use a damp cloth on your head, neck, face and limbs

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Do not leave children or pets in parked vehicles

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If you feel faint or ill, see a doctor immediately.

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Use ORS, homemade drinks like lassi, torani (rice water), lemon water, buttermilk, etc. which helps to re-hydrate the body.

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Keep animals in shade and give them plenty of water to drink.

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Keep your home cool, use curtains, shutters or sunshade and open windows at night.

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Use fans, damp clothing and take bath in cold water frequently.

              

TIPS FOR TREATMENT OF A PERSON AFFECTED BY A SUNSTROKE

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Lay the person in a cool place, under a shade. Wipe her/him with a wet cloth/wash the body frequently. Pour normal temperature water on the head. The main thing is to bring down the body temperature.

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Give the person ORS to drink or lemon sarbat/torani or whatever is useful to re-hydrate the body.

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Take the person immediately to the nearest health centre. The patient needs immediate hospitalisation, as heat strokes could be fatal.

 

Acclimatisation

People at risk are those who have come from a cooler climate to a hot climate.  You may have such a person (s) visiting your family during the heat wave season.  They should not move about in open field for a period of one week till the body is acclimatized to heat and should drink plenty of water. Acclimatization is achieved by gradual exposure to the hot environment during heat wave.

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FLOODS

 

This guide lists simple things you and your family can do to stay safe and protect your property from floods.

 

Before flooding occurs.

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All your family members should know the safe route to nearest shelter/ raised pucca house.

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If your area is flood-prone, consider alternative building materials.  Mud walls are more likely to be damaged during floods.  You may consider making houses where the walls are made of local bricks upto the highest known flood level with cement pointing.

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Have an emergency kit on hand which includes a:

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A portable radio, torch and spare batteries;

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Stocks of fresh water, dry food (chura, mudi, gur, biscuits), kerosene, candle and matchboxes;

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Waterproof or polythene bags for clothing and valuables, an umbrella and bamboo stick (to protect from snake), salt and sugar.

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A first aid kit, manual and strong ropes for tying things

 

When you hear a flood warning or if flooding appears likely

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Tune to your local radio/TV for warnings and advice.

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Keep vigil on flood warning given by local authorities

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Don’t give any importance to rumours and don’t panic

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Keep dry food, drinking water and clothes ready

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Prepare to take bullock carts, other agricultural equipments, and domestic animals to safer places or to higher locations.

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Plan which indoor items you will raise or empty if water threatens to enter your house

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Check your emergency kit

 

During floods

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Drink boiled water.

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Keep your food covered, don’t take heavy meals.

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Use raw tea, rice-water, tender coconut-water, etc. during diarrhoea; contact your ANM/AWW for ORS and treatment.

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Do not let children remain on empty stomach.

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Use bleaching powder and lime to disinfect the surrounding.

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Help the officials/volunteers distributing relief materials.

 

If you need to evacuate

bullet Firstly pack warm clothing, essential medication, valuables, personal papers, etc. in waterproof bags, to be taken with your emergency kit.
bullet Take the emergency kit
bullet Inform the local volunteers (if available), the address of the place you are evacuating to.
bullet Raise furniture, clothing and valuables onto beds, tables and to the top of the roof (electrical items highest).
bullet Turn off power.
bullet Whether you leave or stay, put sandbags in the toilet bowl and over all laundry / bathroom drain-holes to prevent sewage back-flow.
bullet Lock your home and take recommended/known evacuation routes for your area.
bullet Do not get into water of unknown depth and current.
If you stay or on your return
bullet Stay tuned to local radio for updated advice.
bullet Do not allow children to play in, or near, flood waters.
bullet Avoid entering floodwaters. If you must, wear proper protection for your feet and check depth and current with a stick. Stay away from drains, culverts and water over knee-deep.
bullet Do not use electrical appliances, which have been in floodwater until checked for safety.
bullet Do not eat food, which has been in floodwaters.
bullet Boil tap water (in cities) until supplies have been declared safe. In case of rural areas, store tubewell water in plastic jars or use halogen tablets before drinking.
bullet Be careful of snakes, snakebites are common during floods.

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LIGHTNING & THUNDERSTORM

Danger during thunderstorms

Lightning claims quite a few lives and injures many every year. Quite a large number of injuries from the electric shock received while using fixed telephones during thunderstorms.  Take these precautions during thunderstorms:

Take action now

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Consult an electrician for advice on lightning conductors required for your house.

If caught outdoors

If you hear thunder 10 seconds after a lightning flash, it is only about three kilometres away. The shorter the time, the closer the lightning, so find shelter urgently:

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Seek shelter in a hardtop (metal-bodied) vehicle or solid building but avoid small open structures or fabric tents.

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Never take shelter under a small group of (or single) trees.

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If far from any shelter, crouch (low, feet together), preferably in a hollow. Remove metal objects from head / body. Do not lie down flat but avoid being the highest object.

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If your hair stands on end or you hear `buzzing’ from nearby rocks, fences, etc, move immediately. At night, a blue glow may show if an object is about to be struck.

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Do not fly kites during thunderstorms.

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Do not handle fishing rods, umbrellas or metal rods, etc.

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Stay away from metal poles, fences, clotheslines etc.

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Do not ride bicycles or travel on open vehicles.

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If driving, slow down or park away from trees, power lines, stay inside metal-bodied (hard top) vehicles or in a pucca building but do not touch any metal sections.

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If in water, leave the water immediately.

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If on a boat, go ashore to a shelter as soon as possible.

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Be sure the mast and stays of the boat are adequately secured.

If you are indoors

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Before the storm arrives, disconnect external aerial and power leads to radios and television sets. Disconnect computer modems and power leads.

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Draw all curtains and keep clear of windows, electrical appliances, pipes and other metal fixtures (e.g. do not use the bath, shower, hand basin or other electric equipments)

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Avoid the use of fixed telephones. In emergencies, make calls brief, (do not touch any metal, brick or concrete) and do not stand bare foot on concrete or tiled floors.

First Aid

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Apply immediate heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to lightning victims until medical help arrives. (You won’t receive a shock from the victim).

Lightning facts and myths

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When struck, people do not glow or fry to a crisp but the heart and breathing are often affected.

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Only about 30% of people struck actually die, and the incidence of long-term disability is low, particularly when appropriate first aid is applied promptly.

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If your clothes are wet, you are less likely to be seriously injured if struck, as most of the charge will be conducted through the wet clothes rather than your body.

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Lightning can, and often does, strike more than once in the same place.

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CYCLONE

Before the Cyclone Season

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Keep watch on weather and listen to radio or TV. Keep alert about the community warning systems – loudspeakers, bells, conches, drums or “hul-huli”.

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Get to know the nearest cyclone shelter / safe houses and the safest route to reach these shelters.

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Do not listen to rumours.

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Prepare an emergency kit containing:

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A portable radio, torch and spare batteries;

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Stocks dry food – Chura, Chhatua, Mudhi, gur, etc.

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Matches, fuel lamp, portable stove, cooking utensils, waterproof bags

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A first aid kit, manual, etc.

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Katuri, pliers, small saw, axe and plastic rope

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Check the roof and cover it with net or bamboo. Check the walls, pillars, doors and windows to see if they are secure.  If not, repair those at the earliest.  In case of tin roofs, check the condition of the tin and repair the loose points. Cover the mud walls with polythene or coconut leaves mats or straw mats on a bamboo frame. Bind each corner of the roof with a plastic rope in case of thatched roof.

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Trim dry tree branches, cut off the dead trees and clear the place/courtyard of all debris, including coconuts and tree branches.

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Clear your property of loose materials that could blow about and cause injury or damage during extreme winds.

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If your area is prone to storm surge, locate safe high ground or shelter.

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Keep important documents, passbook, etc. in a tight plastic bag and take it along with your emergency kits if you are evacuating.

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Identify the spot where you can dig holes to store food grains, seeds, etc. in polythene bags.

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Keep a list of emergency addresses and phone numbers on display. Know the contact telephone number of the government offices /agencies, which are responsible for search, rescue and relief operations in your area.

 

If you are living in an area where CBDP exercises have taken place, ensure:

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Vulnerability list and maps have been updated

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 Cyclone drill including search & rescue, first aid training have taken place

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Stock of dry food, essential medicines and proper shelter materials maintained

 

Upon a cyclone warning

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Store loose items inside. Put extra agricultural products/ stock like paddy in plastic bags and store it by digging up a hole in the ground, preferably at a higher elevation and then cover it properly. Fill bins and plastic jars with drinking water.

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Keep clothing for protection, handy

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Prepare a list of assets and belongings of your house and give information to volunteers and other authorities about your near and dear ones.

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Fill fuel in your car/motorcycle and park it under a solid cover.  Tie bullock carts, boats securely to strong posts in an area, which has a strong cover and away from trees.  Fallen trees can smash boats and other assets.

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Close shutters or nail all windows. Secure doors. Stay indoors, with pets.

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Pack warm clothing, essential medications, valuables, papers, water, dry food and other valuables in waterproof bags, to be taken along with your emergency kit.

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Listen to your local radio / TV, local community warning system for further information.

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In case of warning of serious storm, move with your family to a strong pucca building. In case of warning of cyclones of severe intensity, evacuate the area with your family, precious items and documents and emergency kit. Take special care for children, elders, sick, pregnant women and lactating mothers in your family. Do not forget your emergency food stock, water and other emergency items. GO TO THE NEAREST CYCLONE SHELTER.

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Do not venture into the sea for fishing.

 

On warning of local evacuation

Based on predicted wind speeds and storm surge heights, evacuation may be necessary. Official advice may be given on local radio / TV or other means of communication regarding safe routes and when to move.

 

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Wear strong shoes or chappals and clothing for protection.

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Lock your home, switch off power, gas, water, and take your emergency kit.

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If evacuating to a distant place take valuable belonging, domestic animals, and leave early to avoid heavy traffic, flooding and wind hazards.

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If evacuating to a local shelter or higher grounds carry the emergency kit and minimum essential materials.

 

When the cyclone strikes

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Disconnect all electrical appliances and turn off gas.

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f the building starts crumbling, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a strong table or bench or hold on to a solid fixture (e.g. a water pipe)

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Listen to your transistor radio for updates and advice.

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Beware of the calm `eye’. If the wind suddenly drops, don’t assume the cyclone is over; violent winds will soon resume from the opposite direction. Wait for the official “all clear”.

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If driving, stop – but well away from the sea and clear of trees, power lines and watercourses. Stay in the vehicle.

 

After the cyclone

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Do not go outside until officially advised it is safe.

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Check for gas leaks. Do not use electric appliances, if wet.

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Listen to local radio for official warnings and advice.

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If you have to evacuate, or did so earlier, do not return until advised. Use a recommended route for returning and do not rush.

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Be careful of snake bites and carry a stick or bamboo

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Beware of fallen power lines, damaged bridges, buildings and trees, and do not enter the floodwaters.

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Heed all warnings and do not go sightseeing.

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EARTHQUAKES

Earthquakes usually give no warning at all.

Prepare your family

Before the earthquake

Now is the time to formulate a safety plan for you and your family.  If you wait until the earth starts to shake, it may be too late. Consider the following safety measures:

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Always keep the following in a designated place: bottled drinking water, non-perishable food (chura, gur, etc), first-aid kit, torch-light and battery-operated radio with extra batteries.

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Teach family members how to turn off electricity, gas, etc.

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Identify places in the house that can provide cover during an earthquake.

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It may be easier to make long distance calls during an earthquake.  Identify an out-of-town relative or friend as your family’s emergency contact.  If the family members get separated after the earthquake and are not able to contact each other, they should contact the designated relative/friend.  The address and phone number of the contact person/relative should be with all the family members.

Safeguard your house

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Consider retrofitting your house with earthquake-safety measures.  Reinforcing the foundation and frame could make your house quake resistant.  You may consult a reputable contractor and follow building codes.

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Kutchha buildings can also be retrofitted and strengthened.

During quake

Earthquakes give no warning at all. Sometimes, a loud rumbling sound might signal its arrival a few seconds ahead of time. Those few seconds could give you a chance to move to a safer location. Here are some tips for keeping safe during a quake.

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Take cover. Go under a table or other sturdy furniture; kneel, sit, or stay close to the floor. Hold on to furniture legs for balance. Be prepared to move if your cover moves.

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If no sturdy cover is nearby, kneel or sit close to the floor next to a structurally sound interior wall. Place your hands on the floor for balance.

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Do not stand in doorways. Violent motion could cause doors to slam and cause serious injuries. You may also be hit be flying objects.

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Move away from windows, mirrors, bookcases and other unsecured heavy objects.

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If you are in bed, stay there and cover yourself with pillows and blankets

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Do not run outside if you are inside. Never use the lift.

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If you are living in a kutcha house, the best thing to do is to move to an open area where there are no trees, electric or telephone wires.

If outdoors:

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Move into the open, away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops.

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If your home is badly damaged, you will have to leave. Collect water, food, medicine, other essential items and important documents before leaving.

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Avoid places where there are loose electrical wires and do not touch metal objects that are in touch with the loose wires.

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Do not re-enter damaged buildings and stay away from badly damaged structures.

If in a moving vehicle:

Move to a clear area away from buildings, trees, overpasses, or utility wires, stop, and stay in the vehicle. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged by the quake.

After the quake

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Here are a few things to keep in mind after an earthquake. The caution you display in the aftermath can be essential for your personal safety.

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Wear shoes/chappals to protect your feet from debris

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After the first tremor, be prepared for aftershocks.  Though less intense, aftershocks cause additional damages and may bring down weakened structures.  Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake.

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Check for fire hazards and use torchlights instead of candles or lanterns.

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If the building you live in is in a good shape after the earthquake, stay inside and listen for radio advises. If you are not certain about the damage to your building, evacuate carefully. Do not touch downed power line.

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Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. In such cases, call for help.

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Remember to help your neighbours who may require special assistance-infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

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Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest emergency information.

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Stay out of damaged buildings.

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Return home only when authorities say it is safe. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the area if you smell gas or fumes from other chemicals. Open closet and cupboard doors cautiously.

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  If you smell gas or hear hissing noise, open windows and quickly leave the building. Turn off the switch on the top of the gas cylinder.

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Look for electrical system damages - if you see sparks, broken wires, or if you smell burning of amber, turn off electricity at the main fuse box.  If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box, call an electrician first for advice.

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Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets. If water pipes are damaged, avoid using water from the tap.

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Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

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 In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.  Ask an out of state / district relative or friend to serve as the “family contact”.  Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number(s) of the contact person (s).                                                                                 

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TORNADO

Plan for a Tornado – Individual & Family

Learn about your tornado risk. Tornadoes accompany a thunderstorm, especially in the months of March and April.

Watch for tornado danger signs. Tornadoes may happen so quickly that warnings cannot be issued far in advance. Pay attention to weather clues that may warn you of imminent danger. The usual clues of an impending tornado are:

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Dark, often greenish sky : Sometimes one or more of the clouds turns greenish (a phenomenon caused by hail) indicating that a tornado may develop.

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Wall cloud: An isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm. The wall cloud is particularly suspect if it is rotating.

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Large hail: Tornadoes are spawned from powerful thunderstorms and the most powerful thunderstorms produce large hail. Tornadoes frequently emerge from near the hail-producing portion of the storm.

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Cloud of debris: An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.

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Funnel cloud: A visible rotating extension of the cloud base is a sign that a tornado may develop.

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Roaring noise: The high winds of a tornado can cause a roar that is often compared with the sound of a freight train.

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Tornadoes may occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm and be quite visible. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado. They may also be embedded in rain and not visible at all.

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Pick a safe place in your home/shelter (both in towns and villages) where family members can gather during a tornado. Ensure that all the family members know the place.

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If you are living in kutchha house in a village or slum, identify the nearest pucca house, where you can take shelter.

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The safest place to be is as low to the ground as possible and away from all windows. Consider an interior hallway or room on the lowest floor. Putting as many walls as you can between you and the outside wall provide additional protection. Less than 2 percent of all tornadoes are powerful enough to completely destroy a sturdy building. It would be better if the identified shelter does not have windows or glass doors.  If there are windows latch those tightly. If the windows are weak, use pieces of wood and fix them with them nails.

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Your tornado safe place should be reinforced. Additional reinforcement will add more protection from the damaging effects of tornado winds.

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If you are in a high-rise building, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building. You may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor. Central hallways are usually the most structurally reinforced part of a building.

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Discuss within your community how you would be warned of an approaching tornado. Communities have different ways of providing warnings. Many areas have sirens, while others would use conches, bells and gongs. Be alert about the warnings while you are indoors. Learn about your community's warning system.

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Wherever you are, if you hear or see a tornado coming, take cover right away. Tornadoes can move quickly, blowing objects at very high speeds, even if they are some distance away. Protect yourself from flying debris by taking cover immediately.

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Get under something sturdy, such as a heavy table, hold on and stay there until the danger has passed. Being under something heavy will help protect you from falling objects. If tornado wind enters the room and the object moves, holding on with one hand will help you move with it, and keeping yourself protected.

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Use your other arm and hand to protect your head and neck from falling or flying objects. Your head and neck are more easily injured than other parts of your body. Protect them as much as you can.

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If there is no building nearby, lie flat in a low spot. Use your arms and hands to protect your head. Tornadoes cause a lot of debris to be blown at very high speeds, and this debris can hurt you. Dangerous flying debris can be blown under highway overpasses and bridges, or weaker overpasses and bridges could be destroyed. You will be safer lying flat in a low-lying area where wind and debris will blow above you. Tornadoes come from severe thunderstorms, which can produce a lot of rain. If you see quickly rising water or floodwater coming towards you, move to another spot.

What to Do during a Tornado Warning or a Thunderstorm

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Be alert to changing weather conditions. Tornadoes accompany severe thunderstorms and weather conditions can change rapidly. Large hail, blowing debris, or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say approaching tornadoes sound like a goods train.

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Listen to local radio station or television for updated information. Have a battery set transistor in case the electricity goes out.

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If you are inside, go to your safe place to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. Stay away from places with electric, telephone wires and trees. Tornadoes can change direction, intensity, and speed very quickly.

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If you are outside in a car/motorbike/ cycle, go immediately into a nearby sturdy building. Sturdy buildings are the safest place to be. Tornado winds can blow large objects, including cars hundreds of feet away. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air. Never try to out-drive a tornado.

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Avoid places with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums, large restaurants or cafeterias, large hallways, or markets. Wide-span roofs are frequently damaged or destroyed in tornado winds, providing less protection and more risk of injury, than roofs over smaller rooms.

What to Do After a Tornado

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Continue listening the local radio or television stations for updated information and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community, or roads may be blocked.

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Help a neighbor who may require special assistance - infants, elderly people and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance.

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Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.

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Watch out for fallen power lines or gas leaks and report them to the local electric department immediately. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.

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Stay out of damaged buildings. Tornadoes can cause great damage, creating further hazards. If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe.

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When entering damaged buildings, use extreme caution. Moving through debris presents further hazards. Carefully watch every step you take.

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Wear sturdy shoes or chappals. The most common injury following a disaster is by cutting your feet. 

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Use torchlight when examining buildings. Battery-powered lighting is the safest and easiest, preventing fire hazard for the user, occupants, and building.

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Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing. Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall.

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 Look for fire hazards. There may be broken or leaking gas lines, or damage to electrical systems. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, or other flammable liquids immediately. Fire is the most frequent hazard following other disasters.

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Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighbour's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, a professional from the gas company must turn it back on.

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Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being reused.

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