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The Eye-Opening Truth About Natural Disasters

We’re going to let you in on a little secret here…

You can’t STOP a natural disaster from happening. It is, after all, NATURAL.

The truth is, you CAN, however, prepare yourself for the unexpected!
That’s right!

YOU…can learn how to be prepared and protect yourself and your friends/family!
That is some exciting stuff!

Today, you have the privilege of learning about 5 different types of disasters that can occur and what you can do to prepare yourself.

We’re going to dig into earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, drought, and hurricanes.
With each one you’re going to learn specifically what can be done and how you can prepare.

Before talking about the different natural disasters, it is important to note that you should do your research and learn what disasters are more common in your area and what the potential is for each one to occur.

Next, you will make a plan!

No more hesitation, let’s jump in!

Let’s start with earthquakes by briefly learning what they are.

 

This event is the random shaking under the Earth’s surface that generally occurs at a fault line, or cracks in the Earth.

The effects can be very subtle or felt over a large area, depending on how large the earthquake is.

Can we predict these?
Unfortunately no.

That’s ok, we’re going to learn how to prepare!

1.  Gather your family for a meeting and determine where your safe location would be in the event of an earthquake.

You can observe your home or places that you frequent and decide where the best place is that you can take cover.

You’ll want to be against an interior wall or somewhere that you can drop to the ground so that you don’t fall.
(Make sure it is not near a window or a place where items could fall on you.)

2. Create an emergency survival kit with first aid, food, water, and any other essentials you would need.

3. In the case that an earthquake is happening, no matter where you are,  you’ll want to drop to the ground, if you can do so safely, and cover your head/neck with your arms.

The most important point is that you should really stay where you are unless it’s by a window or someplace knowingly dangerous, and stay there until the shaking stops.

Next up…Tornadoes!

 

A tornado is an extension of a severe thunderstorm. These can also accompany tropical storms and hurricanes.

They are funnel shaped clouds that rotate down to the ground and can create winds of up to 300 miles per hour.

As we all know, tornadoes can demolish buildings and homes in a matter of seconds.

How can you prepare?

1. Make a plan
with your family on where you will go if a tornado hits.

You’ll want to go to the most ground level of where you are or the basement if you have one.

Plan out what you’d do if you were outside and couldn’t get in a building.

2. Know the warning signs

Low dark clouds with movement, loud train-like sounds, hail, dark skies, and of course, paired with a thunderstorm.

3. Be in the know

Pay attention to your weather alerts and news stations.
Many times they will issue a watch or warning if they know one is approaching.

4. Create an emergency survival kit with first aid, food, water, and any other essentials you would need.

If a tornado has hit, the #1 key item you’ll want to remember is to seek shelter.

Flooding

If you’ve heard a watch or warning for a flood in your area, there are a lot of guidelines you should follow.

What should you do?

 

  • Plan with your family on where the highest ground is or where you would meet up if separated.

  • Listen to the radio/TV for updates. If they call for an evacuation, you’ll need to know this.

  • Prepare your home by turning off gas or electric appliances to avoid electrocution.

  • Create an emergency survival kit with first aid, food, water, and any other essentials you would need.

  • Do NOT walk or drive through water. Many times the depth can be deceiving and people will get swept off their feet or their car can stall and flood.

  • If water is rising quickly or you know there is a chance of a flash flood in your area, immediately get to higher ground.

  • If you’ve evacuated, only return home once you’ve gotten notice that is it safe to return from your local authorities.

Drought

 

Some people don’t really think of a drought as a natural disaster, but it is!

Luckily, for this one, we can really prepare with water conservation.

1. Repair dripping faucets or leaky pipes. It may not seem like a lot, but the water that is leaking can add up.

2. Choose appliances (toilet, water head, etc) that are water efficient.

3. Harvest your rainwater.

4. Outside, you can use mulch in flower beds, around trees, etc to keep the moisture longer.

5. Conserve water:
This can be as simple as turning the water off while brushing your teeth, not letting the water run while scrubbing a dish, or even catching that water in a bucket while you are waiting for it to get hot in the shower and using that to water your plants.

6. In your emergency survival kit, stockpile water for you and your family.

Honestly, there are SO many ways you can prepare for a drought just by using all the different methods of water conservation.

Hurricanes

These are large storms that gather energy and heat from the ocean water and when they touch land, they can be very hazardous!

Hurricanes seem to be a pretty common natural disaster that you CAN actually prepare for and luckily, we generally have a good heads up when one is coming our way.

We’re REALLY able to prepare for this.

1. First and foremost make a disaster plan with your family. Decide where you’ll meet if you’re split up, assign everyone roles, and make sure everyone knows what to do if a hurricane hits.

2. Create an emergency survival kit with first aid, food, water, and any other essentials you would need.

3. Know your area’s emergency evacuation route and plan where you would stay. (This should be part of your disaster plan)

4. You can prepare your home by purchasing a generator in case you lose power.

5. Have a portable radio or a source to be able to listen to news/weather updates.

6. Board up or place hurricane shutters on the windows.(During a hurricane it is advised to stay away from all windows even if they are boarded)

7. Fill your car’s gas tank up in the event you need to leave.

8. Charge your phone so you have full power if you need it.

There are so many different ways you can prepare for a hurricane that the list is really endless, but you will have a good educated jump to start preparing.

Going through each of these 5 different scenarios, have you noticed a similarity?

With each one, one of the key points is that you should create an emergency survival kit.

Remember that!
The significance of that is very important and no matter what the situation, a survival kit is a key item that you should have at hand in your home!

We’ve gone through 5 of the different natural disasters and what you can do with your friends/family to prepare yourself.

By no means, should you stick to this list ONLY. This is just to get you going.
Do some research and see what else you can do!

Prepare yourself to avoid repair!

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Drought Stricken Areas Need Rain Water Collection and Storage Systems

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Rainwater and snowmelt are the primary sources of all drinking water on the planet. Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting the water produced during rainfall events before it has a chance to run off into a river or stream or soak into the ground and become groundwater. Rainwater harvesting can be classified into two broad categories: land-based and roof-based. Land-based rainwater harvesting occurs when rainwater runoff from the land is collected in ponds and small reservoirs before it has a chance to reach a river or stream. Roof-based harvesting, on the other hand, involves collecting the rainwater that falls on a roof before the water even reaches the ground. Although roof-based systems generally produce water with lower levels of chemical and biological contaminants, the water produced by both systems is subject to contamination and must be properly treated before it can be used. The level of treatment you need to provide depends, to a great extent, on whether you will be using the water for potable purposes (such as drinking, food preparation, bathing, and dish- or hand-washing) or for nonpotable purposes (such as toilet flushing, clothes washing, and watering). Obviously, rainwater that is intended for potable purposes must receive a higher level of treatment than rainwater that is intended for irrigation purposes.

Government does not set minimum treatment requirements for rainwater that will be used as a drinking water source for a single household nor do they regulate nonpotable uses of rainwater.

If you have access to a public water system, we encourage you to utilize your rainwater
collection system for nonpotable use only. This approach will:
• Reduce your construction, treatment, and operational costs, because less
treatment is required for nonpotable uses than for potable uses.
• Lower your monthly water bill because you will need to buy less of the public
water system’s drinking water for nonpotable use.
• Conserve the natural resources being developed and utilized by your public
water system.

What Kinds of Contaminants Can Be Found in Rainwater?
Rainwater and snowfall are the ultimate sources of all drinking water on the planet. Rainwater and melted snow runs off the land and collects in lakes and rivers. They also seep through the ground and recharge the aquifers that supply drinking water wells. Regardless of where you currently obtain your drinking water, it originally fell from the sky.
The water in a raindrop is one of the cleanest sources of water available. Rainwater can absorb gases such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide from the atmosphere. It can also capture soot and other microscopic particulates as it falls through the sky. Nevertheless, rainwater is almost 100% pure water before it reaches the ground.
Pure water is considered the universal solvent; it can absorb or dissolve contaminants from almost anything it comes into contact with. That is why it is especially important to design and operate your system so that the rainwater picks up as few contaminants as possible before you consume it.
Debris
We use the term “debris” to describe any contaminant that you can see. Debris includes leaves and twigs, dust and dirt, bird and animal droppings, insects, and other visible material. Although debris obviously reduces the aesthetic quality of the water, it can also pose unseen chemical and biological health threats. For example, leaves and dust can contain unseen chemical contaminants such as herbicides and pesticides. Similarly, bird and animal droppings can contain microscopic parasites, bacteria, and viruses.
Chemical Contaminants
Although rainwater can be contaminated by absorbing airborne chemicals, most of the chemicals present in harvested rainwater are introduced during collection, treatment, and distribution. By properly designing and operating your rainwater harvesting system, you can minimize your exposure to a variety of chemical contaminants that include organic chemicals, such as volatile and synthetic organics, and inorganic chemicals, such as minerals and metals.
Volatile Organic Chemicals
Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) can be introduced when rainwater comes into contact with
materials containing refined organic products. These VOC sources include plastics, glues, and
solvents, as well as gasoline, greases, and oils. Most VOC contamination at rainwater systems
occurs because the materials used to construct the system were not manufactured specifically
for drinking water applications; these materials may not meet the standards set for potable
water products and may release undesirable levels of VOCs into the water. Although most VOC
contamination results from improper construction practices, VOC contamination can also occur when raindrops fall through an atmosphere containing gasoline or solvent vapors.

COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Harvesting, Storing, and Treating Rainwater for Domestic Use
Synthetic Organic Chemicals
Synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs) are chemicals that are typically found in pesticides,
herbicides, and similar man-made products. Since SOCs are not very volatile, these contaminants are usually introduced when debris such as dust and leaves are allowed to enter the system. However, SOC contamination can also be introduced if you install your rainwater collection and storage system in an area where aerial herbicide or pesticide application occurs. Regardless of how the chemical reaches the rainwater system, SOC contamination is usually the result of environmental exposure rather than poor construction practices.
Minerals
Minerals are inorganic materials found naturally in the environment. Most minerals are
inorganic salts (such as calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate, and sodium chloride) that affect the flavor of the water but generally do not pose an actual health threat. The most significant exception to this general rule of thumb is asbestos, which is a family of fibrous silica salts used to manufacture a variety of products. Under certain conditions, some of these products can release a form of asbestos that can pose a long-term health threat if ingested or inhaled. Minerals, especially calcium and magnesium salts, are what gives water its hardness. Rainwater contains virtually no minerals before it is harvested and so it is a very soft water. It is also slightly acidic, with a pH around 5.6, due to the carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur dioxides it absorbs from the atmosphere. Because it takes time for rainwater to absorb minerals, most of the minerals present in harvested rainwater will have been leached from materials used to construct the system rather than from environmental sources.
Metals
Metals include lead, arsenic, copper, iron, and manganese. Some metals, such as lead and arsenic, can pose a long-term health threat if they are present in high enough concentrations. Other metals, such as iron and manganese, can affect the appearance and taste of the water but pose no health threat. It takes time for metal to dissolve in rainwater. Therefore, this type of contaminant is usually present only after metallic materials such as lead solder, iron and copper pipe, and brass fittings have been exposed to rainwater for several hours or longer.
Microbiological Contaminants
Rainwater seldom contains any type of microbiological contaminant until it is harvested and stored. The water in a raindrop is extremely pure, but it is virtually impossible to maintain that level of purity during the collection, treatment, and distribution processes. Rainwater can be contaminated by two major categories of microbiological agents: those that cause disease and those that do not. Microbiological contaminants that can cause a disease or infection are called pathogenic, while those that do not are called nonpathogenic. Nonpathogenic organisms can be present in high numbers regardless of where your home is located.
These nonpathogenic microbes include many kinds of protozoa, algae, bacteria, and viruses.
Although they do not cause illness, nonpathogens often reduce the aesthetic quality of the water and can interfere with the operation of the rainwater harvesting and treatment facilities, increasing
COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUAL ITY
Harvesting, Storing, and Treating Rainwater for Domestic Use
operational and maintenance requirements. For example, high concentrations of algae can make the water slimy, plugging the filters used to treat the water, or fungi and bacteria can colonize in the water lines in your home. Pathogenic organisms are not normally found in rainwater. However, they can be present if the
rainwater collection or storage facilities have been contaminated by fecal material such as animal or bird droppings. Pathogenic microbes pose a greater health threat to rainwater users than most chemical contaminants, for a number of reasons, including:
• Pathogens can cause disease after a single exposure, while most chemical contaminants may
require months or even years of exposure before causing a health effect.
• Pathogens do not affect the taste, smell, or appearance of the water. Many chemical
contaminants, on the other hand, make the water taste, smell, or look different, especially if the chemicals are present at levels that would pose a short-term risk.
• Pathogen levels can rise very quickly, while chemical levels tend to remain fairly constant.
Consequently, it is relatively easy (though somewhat costly) to periodically test for chemical
contaminants, while it is both difficult and costly to continuously test for most pathogens.
• A disease caused by pathogens can usually be passed from person to person, while the health
effects caused by chemicals affect only those that actually consume the contaminated water.
• Waterborne illnesses caused by pathogens can be a serious health risk for the elderly, infants, chemotherapy patients, and other individuals with a delicate or weakened immune system. Pathogenic microbiological contaminants include certain types of protozoan parasites, bacteria, and viruses. The infectivity rates (the number of microbes required to cause a disease) and the virulence (the severity of the disease) vary, depending on the type of pathogen present and the immune system of the person that is exposed. Some pathogens can cause an illness if a person with a weakened immune system is exposed to just a few organisms. Some of the pathogens that can be introduced through improperly designed and operated rainwater systems are shown in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1

 

Type of Pathogen Organism Source
Parasite Giardia lamblia cats and wild animals
Parasite Cryptosporidium parvum cats, birds, rodents, and reptiles
Parasite Toxoplasma gondii cats, birds, and rodents
Bacteria Campylobacter spp. birds and rats
Bacteria Salmonella spp . cats, birds, rodents, and reptiles
Bacteria Leptospira spp. mammals
Bacteria Escherichia coli birds and mammals
Virus Hantavirus spp. rodents

 

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Using Ceramic High Efficiency Filters can remove 99.99% of pathogenic debris from water sources for usable potable water.  Setting up a primary storage tank for collection and transferring water via gravity or pumping station to a potable storage tank is the preferred method of insuring water is clean, free from pathogens.

Build a Whole House Rain Water Collector and Storage System.

Traditional System

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‘Substantial’ El Nino event predicted

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By Helen BriggsBBC Environment correspondent

  • 2 hours ago
  • From the sectionScience & Environment
  • 185comments

The El Nino weather pattern, which can drive droughts and flooding, is underway in the tropical Pacific for the first time in five years, say scientists.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology predicted that it could be a “substantial” event.

The phenomenon arises from variations in ocean temperatures.

The El Nino is still in its early stages, but has the potential to cause extreme weather around the world.

US scientists announced earlier in April that El Nino had arrived, but it was described then as “weak”.

Australian scientists said models suggested it could strengthen from September onwards, but it was too early to determine with confidence how strong it could be.

“This is a proper El Nino effect, it’s not a weak one,” David Jones, manager of climate monitoring and prediction at the Bureau of Meteorology, told reporters.

“You know, there’s always a little bit of doubt when it comes to intensity forecasts, but across the models as a whole we’d suggest that this will be quite a substantial El Nino event.”

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Aftermath of flooding in California put down to El Nino

El Nino had been expected during last year’s record-breaking temperatures, but failed to materialise.

Weather patterns

The last El Nino five years ago was linked with poor monsoons in Southeast Asia, droughts in southern Australia, the Philippines and Ecuador, blizzards in the United States, heatwaves in Brazil and extreme flooding in Mexico.

El Nino is a warming of the Pacific Ocean as part of a complex cycle linking atmosphere and ocean.

It is known to disrupt weather patterns around the world, and can bring wetter winters to the southwest US and droughts to northern Australia.

The consequences of El Nino are much less clear for Europe and the UK.

Research suggest that extreme weather events like El Nino will become more intense as global temperatures rise.