Threat & Hazard Response

The attached pages are intended to help you prepare your family for emergencies in the home, at work or school or in the community.

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Active Shooter Actions

Active Shooter Actions
shooterUnfortunate incidents, like the shootings at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., show the importance of remaining vigilant, reporting suspicious activity, and having a plan to prevent and respond to an active shooter. Remember: If an active shooter incident should occur, the best thing to do is to "Run, Hide and Fight." 

  • Run if a safe path is available. Always try to escape or evacuate even if others insist on staying.
  • Encourage others to leave with you, but do not let the indecision of others slow down your effort to escape.
  • Once you are out of the line of fire, try to prevent others from walking into the danger zone and call 9-1-1.
  • If you cannot get out safely, find a place to hide.
  • When hiding, turn out lights, remember to lock doors, and silence your ringer and vibration mode on your cell phone.
  • As a last resort, working together or alone, act with aggression, use improvised weapons, and fight.
Department of Homeland Security Active Shooter Preparedness Booklet:   
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/active_shooter_booklet.pdf

Blackouts

Blackouts
2073779_blackouts-a-history_6i2o57rmhjxg4y3usybhytcfamoxpy7q62c4u66siw3t6qwph3oq_757x425Prepare: 

  • Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer. Cold water bottles will help keep food cold during a power outage and can also be used for drinking water.
  • Check with your physician or pharmacist about any medication that needs to be refrigerated. It is important to know how long medication is safe in the refrigerator without power.
  • Make a plan to prepare for family members with disabilities or who have ill health.
  • Try to keep gas tanks at least half full. If the power goes out, gas stations may be unavailable.
  • Have extra cash available. ATMs will not work without electricity.
  • Keep a key to the house with you when away from home.   The garage will not open if the power is out.
 Blackout-Specific Items to Add to Preparedness Kit

  • Extra Batteries
  • Large Flashlights/ Emergency Lighting
  • Food that does not require heat
  • Warm clothes and blankets
Be Safe:

Signs:

  • Severe weather, such as thunderstorms, tornados, winter storms and strong winds.
  • Extreme hot or cold temperatures.
During:

  • Use only flashlights or emergency lighting.   Never use candles during a blackout or power outage due to fire risk.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep the contents inside as fresh as possible. If you must eat food, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and electronics. The return of power may cause surges that can damage them.
  • If it is hot outside, move to the lowest level of your home, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, and drink water.
  • If it is cold outside, dress in warm clothing and layers, keep doors shut and never use the stove or charcoal as a source of heat.
  • Use extreme caution when driving.
  • Do not call 9-1-1 to ask about the power outage. Listen to a battery powered radio for updates.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by not using grills, unvented gas or kerosene heaters, generators, or ovens and stoves in the house.
After:

  • Throw away food that has been exposed to temperatures more than 40 degrees for two hours or more, or if they have unusual color, odor or texture. Remember: When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Report downed power lines. Stay away. Stay safe!
blackout_1More Information/Additional Resources:

http://www.ready.gov/blackouts

EXTREME COLD

EXTREME COLD
extreme cold - CopyTerms:

Blizzard Warning: Wind may reach up to 35 miles per hour or greater with snow. This will cause the temperature to be very cold.
Frost/Freeze Warning: Below-freezing temperatures are expected.

Prepare:

  • Make sure you have sufficient fuel for cars and generators.
  • Weather-proof doors and windows to trap heat inside your home.
  • Put warm supplies-such as gloves, blankets and hats-in your car in case you become stranded or extreme cold strikes while you are away from home.
  • Make sure animals are indoors well before cold weather hits.
  • Insulate pipes with newspaper or plastic to keep them from freezing.
Extreme Cold-Specific Items to Add to Preparedness Kit

  • Hat and Gloves
  • Warm-Layered Clothes
  • Portable Heater
Be Safe:

Signs:

  • During the winter months
  • Commonly accompany snow storms or blizzards
During:

  • Be sure to eat regularly and drink fluids.
  • Watch for frostbite. Signs include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes, or face.
  • Watch for hypothermia. Signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion.
  • If using a heater, make sure the area is well ventilated.
  • If you must go outside, wear protective gear such as hats, mittens, and gloves in addition to a warm coat. Always protect your lungs with a scarf.
  • Change out of wet clothing immediately.
  • Wear several layers of loose fitting clothes.
  • Allow water to drip from your faucets to reduce the chance that they will freeze.
After:

  • Check on elderly and children for any signs of illness due to the cold weather.
  • Refill any supplies used from your preparedness kit.

Wind Chill Chart

Below is the "Wind Chill Chart" that is a measure of the cooling effect of wind.   Wind increases the rate at which the body loses heat, ato the air on a windy day feels cooler than the temperature indicated by a thermometer.   This heat loss can be calculated for various combinations of wind speed and air temperature an then converted to a wind chill eaualevent temperature or "Wind Chill Factor".

wind chill chart

More Information/Additional Resources: http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

Extreme Heat

Extreme Heat
extreme-heat-5286 - CopyTerms:

  • Heat Wave: Prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with humidity.
  • Heat Index: A number in degrees Fahrenheit that tells how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air temperature.
  • Heat Cramps: Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. The first signal that your body is having trouble with the heat.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Blood flow to the skin increases, which decreases blood flow to vital organs and creates a form of mild shock. The condition will worsen if it is not treated.
  • Heat Stroke: The body's temperature control system stops working and causes brain damage. Death may result in some instances.
Prepare:

  • Install air conditioning systems or know where the nearest air conditioned public place is located.
  • Check your air conditioning system for proper insulation.
  • Cover windows that receive sunlight.
  • Keep a large supply of cold water where it is easily accessible.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Listen to local weather forecasts and remain aware of possible upcoming temperature changes.
Extreme Heat-Specific Items to Add to Preparedness Kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Cold Water
Be Safe:

During:

  • Stay indoors and limit sun exposure as much as possible.
  • Spend the warmest part of the day in the air conditioning. If you do not have air conditioning, considering going to a public location or cooling center that does.
  • Eat well-balanced, light and regular meals.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
  • Check on family and friends.
  • Never leave children or pets in closed vehicles.
  • Remember to give you pet extra water and limit their time outdoors.
  • Take frequent breaks from any strenuous work or activity.
  • Plan outdoor activities for the coolest times of the day.
  • Always wear sunscreen. Sunburn limits your body's ability to dissipate heat.
After:

  • Continue to drink water to restore proper hydration.
  • Check on neighbors and family to make sure they are not suffering from a heat related illness.
More Information/Additional Resources:  http://www.ready.gov/heat

Fires

Fires
firePrepare:

  • Install smoke detectors on every level - Check them monthly.
  • Keep bedroom doors closed when sleeping – It takes 10 to 15 minutes for a flame to burn through a door, giving you more time to escape.
  • Teach all household members to stop, drop and roll if they catch on fire.
  • Establish a family meeting place, a safe distance from your home in case of a fire.
  • Dispose of fireplace ashes in a metal container.
  • Ensure all room exits are always unobstructed.
  • Store matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Use barbecue grills away from buildings.
Be Safe: 

During: 

  • Yell to other members of the household to alert them of the fire as you evacuate your home.
  • Go directly to your safe family meeting place; never re-enter a burning building.
  • If the room is filled with smoke, drop to your hands and knees and crawl the nearest exit or window. The air is clearest near the floor.
  • Before opening doors, touch them to see if they are hot. If they are hot, do not open the door and find an alternative exit.
  • If trapped in a room with fire blocking all exits, close all doors and wait for firefighters to rescue you. Stuff cracks and vents to keep smoke out.
  • If possible, call 9-1-1, even if the fire department is on scene, to give your exact location within the house.
  • Wait at the window and signal with a sheet or flashlight.

After: 

  • Do not re-enter your home until you are told it is safe      to do so.
  • Check yourself and family members for any injuries.
More Information/Additional Resources: https://www.ready.gov/home-fires
                                                                             https://www.ready.gov/wildfires

 

Floods

Floods
flooded homeTerms

Flood Watch: Flooding is possible in your area. Monitor local media channels and listen to your NOAA weather radio.
Flash Flood: Rapid flooding, usually in low lying areas. Water floods with great force.
Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible in your area. Monitor local media channels and listen to your NOAA weather radio.
Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur in your area. Move to higher ground and listen to local media for evacuation orders.
Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground and listen to local media for evacuation orders. 

Prepare:

  • Create an emergency preparedness kit with a 72-hour supply of water, including three gallons per person.
  • Scan and store important documents on an online cloud-based program.
  • Put important documents and valuables in a water-proof container on the top floor of your home.
  • Understand how to safely turn off electricity and gas lines in your home.
  • Create an inventory of your household items and take photos of the interior and exterior of your home.
  • Consider installing sewer backflow valves to prevent flood water from backing up into your home through drain pipes.
  • Double-check sump pumps to ensure they are working properly. If possible, have a battery backup system.
  • Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
  • Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.
  • Rise or flood-proof heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment by elevating equipment above areas prone to flooding. Another method is to leave equipment where it is and build a      concrete or masonry block flood wall around it.
  • Anchor fuel tanks. Unanchored fuel tanks can be easily moved by floodwaters. 
Driving in Flood Conditions:

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups trucks.
  • Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious.
  • The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
  • Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
  • Do not try to take short cuts--they may be blocked.   Stick to designated routes.
  • Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers. 

Flood-Specific Items to Add to Preparedness Kit:

  • Extra Bottled Water - Faucet water may be contaminated during flooding
  • Map of Local Evacuation Routes 
Be Safe:

Signs:

  • Heavy rainfall
  • High river and lake levels
  • Dams in the area 
During:

  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Disconnect all electrical equipment.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches is enough  water to knock you down.
  • Do not drive in flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause you to lose control and two feet of water can sweep away your car
  • Remember: Turn around, don't drown.
  • Listen to local media reports for information about if the water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid contacting flood waters because they can be contaminated by hazardous liquids and may contain sharp debris.
  • Report and stay 25 feet away from downed power lines. 
After:

  • Listen to local media reports for information about if the water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid flood waters because they can be contaminated by hazardous liquids and may contain sharp debris.
  • Be aware of areas that were previously flooded. The roads may be weakened.
  • Report and avoid downed power lines.
  • Clean and disinfect anything that was wet from the flood. Throw away any food that was touched by flood waters. 

More Information/Additional Resources:  http://www.ready.gov/floods

Thunderstorms & Lightning

Thunderstorms & Lightning

thunder stormTerms:

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: A severe thunderstorm is likely to occur in your area. Monitor local media and listen to your NOAA weather radio for updates and further information.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning: A severe thunderstorm is occurring in the area. Seek shelter immediately. 

Prepare:

  • Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall on your home with strong winds.
  • Postpone outdoor activities until the storm has passed.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could be blown around, such as garbage cans and patio furniture.
  • Close all windows and blinds.
  • Charge cell phones and other wireless communication devices.
  • Sign up to receive text or e-mail alerts from your local media, weather provider or the National Weather Service.
  • Plan a way to monitor local weather and news while in shelter.
  • Identify the safest shelter location in your home; it should be on the lowest level, away from windows and doors.
  • Prepare for a power outage. See Blackouts 

Be Safe: 

Signs:

  • Rain
  • Dark Skies
  • Lightning
  • Increased Wind Speed 

During:

  • Do not use corded devices, such as house phone or anything that plugs into a wall outlet.
  • Do not complete activities that use water or plumbing, such as laundry and showering.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • Avoid tall and isolated objects. They are the most likely to be struck by lightning.
  • If you are outdoors with no place to shelter, seek low level ground that is away from trees and metal objects.
  • If you are traveling by car, pull over and remain in your vehicle until the storm passes.
  • If you are boating or swimming, go to land and seek shelter immediately. 

If someone is struck by Lightning:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Check for breathing – if breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Check for a heartbeat – if the heart has stopped, begin CPR.
  • Check for other injuries, such as broken bones or loss of hearing and eyesight. 

Note: It is okay to give first aid without fear of being hurt; the victim will not carry and electrical charge

After:

  • Wait 30 minutes before you go outdoors, remain cautious and remember that lightning can strike 10 miles away from a storm.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.
  • Monitor weather for other severe storms.
  • Check on elderly and children who may need help. 

More Information/Additional Resources:  

http://www.ready.gov/thunderstorms-lightning
http://www.mcswa.com/

Winter Storm

Winter Storm

winter-stormWinter Weather Bulletins issued by the National Weather Service:

Winter Storm Watch

A major snow and/or ice storm is   developing and may arrive within 24 to 48 hours.

Winter Weather Advisory

A light to moderate mix of rain,   snow, sleet and/or freezing rain can be expected soon or is occurring now.

Winter Storm Warning

At least 6 inches of snow over a   12 hour period &/or significant amounts of freezing rain and gusty winds   can be expected soon or is occurring now.

Ice Storm Warning

1/4 inch or more of ice   accumulation on exposed surfaces is expected soon or is occurring now.

Blizzard Warning

Snow with sustained winds of 35   miles per hour causing visibility frequently below 1/4 mile can be expected   soon or is occurring now.

Terms:
Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground. It leaves ice on the roadways.
Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before it hits the ground.
Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm is possible in your area.
Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm is occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Blizzard Warning: Considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow, with winds up to 35 miles per hour cause low visibility. 

Prepare:

  • Winterize your car:
    • Refill antifreeze
    • Check and repair windshield wiper equipment
    • Check lights and hazard lights
    • Check tires for wear, consider snow tires
    • Keep fuel tank at least half full
  • Gather and have supplies easily accessible to keep warm in case of power outage, including blankets, hand warmers and warm clothing.
  • Have a heat alternative and fuel supply in case of power outage. 

Winter Storm-Specific Items to Add to Preparedness Kit

  • Warm clothing (e.g., hats, mittens, scarves, wool socks, etc.)
  • Ice Scraper/Shovel for your car
  • Salt or sand to melt ice 

Be Safe:

Signs:

  • Severe winter storms are usually preceded by strong winds and snow. 

During:

  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow; this could cause heart attack or other health complications.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. See Extreme Cold
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid toxic fumes.  Keep away from flammable objects.
  • Drive only if it is necessary: 
    • Travel during the day.
    • Update a family member or friend of destination and travel timeframe.
    • Stay on main roads.
    • Remember to take it slow on ice and snow. 
  • Avoid walking under heavily iced tree branches or buildings. 

After:

  • Check and restock emergency supply kit. 

More Information/Additional Resources:  http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

The Importance of Wind Chill:

During the winter months, it's not only the actual temperature that we worry about, but the wind chill temperature as well. The Wind Chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the combined effects of wind and cold. It is how cold the air feels to our skin. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate. The following is a chart that graphically correlates the properties of Air Temperature and Wind Speed.

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