Natural Disaster Emergency Plans

Introduction
A natural disaster is defined as an unfavorable event that results from natural processes of the earth. It also may be defined as a force of nature that brings along catastrophic consequences. It is important to note that such an event cannot be stopped. The Collins English dictionary defines a natural disaster as a natural event which causes a lot of damage and kills a lot of people (William Collins 2013). Examples of natural disasters include hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides as well as other geological processes. An emergency is any dangerous situation that requires immediate attention and action. Therefore a natural disaster is an emergency. Tackling this kind of emergency requires well thought measures to deal with it hence the need for plans. These plans enhance safety and security of the victims.
Predictability of natural disasters
When it comes to emergency plans, natural disasters differ in that some are predictable while others are not easily predictable, (Özdamar, Ekinci, & Küçükyazici, 2004). Weather related disasters including hurricanes and floods can be predicted days before they occur whereas others such as earthquakes may occur suddenly.  Despite what the natural disaster may be, the major part of the plan is usually evacuation. This ensures people are away from the disaster prone areas to a safe place. In case of predictable disaster, one ought to know the evacuation route as well as a safe place where one can stay.
 
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Emergency planning
The government, local authorities as well as social organizations play a major role in informing the affected people on these evacuation routes. They also organize shelters where the affected people can stay and provide them with food as well as other amenities. Along with evacuation, one needs to put together a bag mainly referred to as a ‘go-bag’. This should contain first-aid supplies, medications, flashlight with batteries, cash as well as your critical information. (Özdamar et al, 2004).It is important to note that even areas that are not advised to evacuate may as well be affected by lack of water and power too as well as inaccessibility. Therefore people in such areas still need to prepare with adequate supplies. Families are advised to have an emergency communication plan. This plan applies to all natural disasters. However there is planning related to specific disasters.
When it comes to hurricanes, a generator comes in handy as it deals with power losses in homes. Hurricane winds are very destructive hence it is important to trim trees to prevent them from falling on property as well as reinforcing the roof. Tsunamis on the other hand are very big waves in the ocean that are caused by geological activities underwater including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes. Evacuation, as earlier stated is the first and important plan in the emergency plan. In this case, people are advised to mover inland to safer areas above sea level accompanied by a go-bag, (Rawls, Turnquist, 2010). Not forgetting communication is of great essence in these times between families as well as the community. Thus appliances such as radios and TVs should be kept close and on at all times. As noted, both hurricanes and tsunamis have one thing in common and that is floods. This is water that submerges land that would be otherwise dry and overflows. This poses a major risk of drowning as well as destruction of property. While most floods happen over a relatively long time, some floods can happen in a short notice of up to 15 minutes, (Rawls et al, 2010). These are referred to as flash floods. The basic safety requires one to avoid driving over bridges that are overhead floodwaters. Walking through flooded waters is also not advised. Getting to safety is of most importance.
Earthquakes can be referred to as shaking of the earth’s surface and results from movement of tectonic plates.  Since earthquakes can occur suddenly, one should be always be ready and act fast. The most common practice that has been adopted is the “Drop, Cover and Hold On”. This requires one to drop to the ground, cover the head and neck with hands. Crawling under a safe structure is also advised.
Conclusion
Despite the type of natural disaster, one emergency plan is common to all, which is evacuation. Safety first is the main slogan to go by. Getting to safer grounds should be every victim’s priority. The government as well as emergency response services plays a crucial role in ensuring that the public is well notified of all disaster warnings and alerts. Still, everyone has their role to play to ensure their safety and that of their family and neighbors.
 
References
Özdamar, L., Ekinci, E., & Küçükyazici, B. (2004). Emergency logistics planning in natural disasters. Annals of operations research, 129(1), 217-245.
Rawls, C. G., & Turnquist, M. A. (2010). Pre-positioning of emergency supplies for disaster response. Transportation research part B: Methodological, 44(4), 521-534.
Dictionary, C. E. (2013). Collins Dictionary. London: William Collins.