Tornado Information

Tornado Information Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds. A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Every state is at some risk from this hazard. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado. The following are facts about tornadoes:

They may strike quickly, with little or...

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Chemical Threats

Chemical Threats Chemical agents are poisonous vapors, aerosols, liquids, and solids that have toxic effects on people, animals, or plants. They can be released by bombs or sprayed from aircraft, boats, and vehicles. They can be used as a liquid to create a hazard to people and the environment. Some chemical agents may be odorless and tasteless. They can have an immediate effect (a few seconds to a few minutes) or a delayed effect (2 to 48 hours). While potentially lethal, chemical agents are difficult to deliver in lethal concentrations. Outdoors, the agents often dissipate rapidly. Chemical agents also are difficult to produce. A chemical attack could come without warning. Signs of a chemical release include people having difficulty breathing; experiencing eye irritation; losing coordination; becoming nauseated; or having a burning sensation in the nose, throat, and lungs. Also, the presence of many dead insects or birds may indicate a chemical agent release. // ...

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Nuclear Blast

Nuclear Blast A nuclear blast is an explosion with intense light and heat, a damaging pressure wave, and widespread radioactive material that can contaminate the air, water, and ground surfaces for miles around. A nuclear device can range from a weapon carried by an intercontinental missile launched by a hostile nation or terrorist organization, to a small portable nuclear devise transported by an individual. All nuclear devices cause deadly effects when exploded, including blinding light, intense heat (thermal radiation), initial nuclear radiation, blast, fires started by the heat pulse, and secondary fires caused by the destruction. Hazards of Nuclear Devices The extent, nature, and arrival time of these hazards are difficult to predict. The geographical dispersion of hazard effects will be defined by the following:

Size of the device. A more powerful bomb will produce more distant effects.

Height above the ground the device was detonated. This will determine the extent of blast effects.

Nature of the surface beneath the explosion. Some materials are more likely to...

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General Information about Terrorism

General Information About Terrorism Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal laws of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion, or ransom. Terrorists often use threats to:

Create fear among the public. Try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent terrorism. Get immediate publicity for their causes.

Acts of terrorism include threats of terrorism; assassinations; kidnappings; hijackings; bomb scares and bombings; cyber attacks (computer-based); and the use of chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological weapons. High-risk targets for acts of terrorism include military and civilian government facilities, international airports, large cities, and high-profile landmarks. Terrorists might also target large public gatherings, water and food supplies, utilities, and corporate centers. Further, terrorists are capable of spreading fear by sending explosives or chemical and biological agents through the mail. Within the immediate area of a terrorist event, you would need to rely on police, fire, and other officials for instructions. However, you can prepare in much the same...

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Have Information on Disaster Preparedness

Have Information on Disaster Preparedness Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as making an emergency supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. Learn more about the potential emergencies that could happen where you live and the appropriate way to respond to them. In addition, learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government. Emergency preparedness is no longer the sole concern of earthquake prone Californians and those who live in the part of the country known as “Tornado Alley.” For Americans, preparedness must now account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. Visit and review...

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Always Have a Plan

Always Have a Plan Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. Family Emergency Plan

Identify an out-of town contact. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.

Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.

Teach family...

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Why Disaster Preparation is Important

Why Disaster Preparation is Important Some people are apathetic about preparedness, often because they aren’t sure what to do or where to begin. They may become overwhelmed at the prospect of a crisis and the responsibility of self-reliance and become discouraged before they begin. Others are frustrated by contradictory advice, not sure whose ideas to follow. Still others do nothing, figuring that if trouble comes, an emergency disaster organization will rush to their rescue. A common misconception that can be refuted is that the government will immediately come to the rescue. Federal and state organizations perform marvelous service, but when a large population is relying solely upon them, it is virtually impossible to provide for specific or individual needs of everyone. The Federal Emergency Management Agency advises, “If a disaster threatens your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you. But you need to be prepared as well. Local officials may be overwhelmed after a major disaster, and emergency...

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Coping with Disasters

Coping with Disaster The emotional toll that disaster brings can sometimes be even more devastating than the financial strains of damage and loss of home, business, or personal property. Understand Disaster Events

Everyone who sees or experiences a disaster is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain.

Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster “second hand” through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected. Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of...

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Water Supply

Water Supply Water is one of your most urgent needs in a survival situation. You can’t live long without it, especially in hot areas where you lose water rapidly through perspiration. Even in cold areas, you need a minimum of 2 liters of water each day to maintain efficiency. More than three-fourths of your body is composed of fluids. Your body loses fluid as a result of heat, cold, stress and exertion. To function effectively, you must replace the fluid your body loses. So, one of your first goals is to obtain an adequate supply of water. Securing a dependable supply of drinking water may be your greatest challenge. Indeed, the entire world seems to be entering a crisis mode — one-fifth of humanity has no access to safe drinking water and it’s only getting worse. For most everyone reading this, however, there’s still plenty of easily accessible water, but water main breaks, flooding and contamination may change things abruptly. In addition, more regions...

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During a Hurricane

During a Hurricane If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

Listen to the radio or TV for information. Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors. Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed. Turn off propane tanks.· Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies. Moor your boat if time permits. Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions. If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground. If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations. If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an...

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