Sunday, November 3, 2013

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Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquake Preparedness
By []Jaycee Fox

Preparation is key when facing any type of natural disaster. Although preparation can help alleviate some of the fear, of course it doesn't solve all problems. One of the most recent earthquakes occurred on May 19, 2009 in Long Beach, California. It was a mild one; some shattering glass, but most importantly a reminder to those California residents to be prepared.

So how do we really prepare ourselves for an earthquake? Unfortunately, earthquakes come with no warning and can cause great damage in mere seconds. The San Francisco earthquake in 1989 did ten billion dollars worth of damage, and guess how long it lasted? Ten seconds. If you've been in such a situation -- unprepared -- the best times to prepare for the next one is immediately afterwards while your needs are fresh in your mind. So let's go over some steps we can take to better ready ourselves before, during, and after an earthquake.


1. Have the essential supplies ready:

A 72 hour kit or survival kit. I'd recommend a backpack for each individual in the family -- that can easily be grabbed -- that contains food and water, along with blankets and an extra set of clothing.
First aid kit.
Necessary medications.
Extra batteries for radio and flashlights.
Waterproof matches.
Baby wipes.
Small denominations of cash. If power is out, how will you use your credit card?
Manual can opener.
Comfortable sneakers or hiking boots. Hazardous rubble such as broken glass is not a good fit with bare feet or flip-flops.
Any extras beyond the essentials: A propane grill, camping supplies, an alternate method of transportation, such as a bicycle.

2. Prepare your home: What can I do ahead of time?

Have instructions to turn off your utilities handy. Where are the emergency shut-offs for gas, electricity and water?
Move heavy items to lower shelves.
Secure heavy furniture.
Secure mirrors and paintings and any other hanging items.
Secure your water heater to the wall studs.
Secure your home to the foundation if is hasn't been done. This should only be a problem with older homes.
Brace your chimney.
Keep flammable items away from potential fire hazards.

3. Make a plan: This is a necessary step that is often overlooked, but is especially important if you have dependents.

Have a meeting point. With all the chaos, this will be one sure thing.
Go over the safe zones in your home; where to hide during the quake. Obviously you want your children to know to stand clear of windows and anything heavy that may fall.
Be educated about local emergency procedures and protocols.


Stay inside, keeping away from falling glass and debris. Try to find something to hide under, such as a solid table. If there is nothing to hide under, stay in a door frame or along the walls.
If you're cooking, turn off the stove.
If outside, move to a clear area, staying clear of power lines, big buildings and glass windows.
If you're driving, pull over and steer clear of trees, power lines and bridges. Stay in your vehicle.


Check for injuries and carry out any necessary first aid.
Don't use the phone unless it's a critical emergency as phone lines will be heavily used.
Shut off any utilities.
Put out any small fires with your fire extinguisher and if there's any smell of gas -- evacuate.
Leave your home or building if at all possible and especially if the structure has been compromised.
Expect aftershocks so be prepared.

Being prepared in such an event is always the wisest choice. It will enable you to keep a clear head and do what's necessary even with the unexpectedness of a quake.

Jaycee Fox is a writer. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three children. Visit her blog, [], to see what she's written.

Article Source: [] Earthquake Preparedness

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Preparing for an earthquake.

Preparing for an earthquake

Before you start collecting supplies for an earthquake, you need to lay out your plan and discuss it with all your family members. There are a couple of things that need to be done and each adult in your household should know how to do them.

Shut off utilities.

Each member should know where the main electric power cutoff is for your house. If you have natural gas, you should make sure everyone knows where to turn it off – and where the tool is to do it. Cut off the water. You might think water is not such a big deal, but if a pipe bursts and floods your home you will know better.

Earthquake Kits

Your earthquake kits should have emergency supplies for at least 72 hours – but if you can plan for a week that will be even better. 

Water and canned foods, dry mixes for milk or other drinks, energy bars and other non-perishable foods should be a part of your supply. Add a blanket and some warm outer clothing for each member of your family, a basic first aid kit and a battery-powered radio and flashlight.

You can purchase 72-hour kits which provide a list of what you need. But if you want to make your own, there are plenty of sites online that can give you a good start.

Be prepared.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Clouds Warn of Disasters

In states other than Colorado where I live, there can be many rainy and stormy days. We can see lots of clouds, but they are normally the beautiful, fluffy cumulus clouds which bring us great days of sunshine and clear weather. 

Some cloudy days are welcome, especially when they bring rain to parts of the US that really need the moisture. As an example, the farming areas of the country reap many benefits of the rain since it is needed for the growth of crops. Of course, all of the country is grateful when the farms get rain because our produce nationwide is a better price for us all!

In some areas of the country, like the dry parts of Texas, a rainstorm can be devastating. Since the ground is so hard, the rain is unable to soak into the earth and runs off causing flooding issues there. Folks who work to keep their lawn aerated gain the most in Texas rainstorms because their lawns are able to take advantage of the rains.

The country’s golf courses green up from Mother Nature’s showers, but if the rain doesn’t come they must use other means to keep the grasses in a playable form. 

Although weather forecasters try to do their best, letting the public know what is going to happen in the weather today is a sketchy endeavor. They watch the cloud formation, the rotations, warm and cold air fronts to try to determine what is going to happen. They are very good when the situation is ripe for disastrous weather as the indications of severe weather are strong, but the normal days without hurricane, tornado, earthquake or blizzard conditions are not as easy to predict.

The best thing we can do is to be prepared for the unexpected as well as the expected. Be aware of your surroundings and watch for changes in cloud coverings that can let you know rough weather is ahead.

Stratocumulus Clouds and Disaster?

Some of the most common clouds are the stratocumulus clouds. These are an excellent indicator of high moisture content near the earth’s surface. These are low level clouds with bases of less than 7,000 feet altitudes. 

With patterns of sheets or layers of grey and white clouds, they appear with a ragged look above and a flat appearance on the bottom. They seem to be shallow, sweeping layers of clouds that are broad across the sky. These cloud formations can be miles wide.

These clouds are formed due to rising air meeting a warmer layer of air, flattening the base of the clouds. As it is pushed upward, it forces the shape and produces these stratocumulus clouds. In the winter months, the air is condensed and brings out the overcast skies that can last for days in many areas of the US. Some areas of the country suffer from overcast winters more than others, caused by these conditions. They can produce snow and light rains in cold temperatures, but generally they are simply an unwelcome winter snow covering. Bringing depression and the overcast of darkness to the earth instead of precipitation.

By bringing a full-on cloud cover, the color can vary from light to dark grey. The convection makeup of the clouds can cause a lumpy appearance as opposed to the flatter look of the stratus variety.

Windy days bring with them stratocumulus clouds that are stationed at about 1,500 feet altitude as the wind brings turbulence within the cloud layers and the earth’s terrain of hills, buildings and trees. But on calmer days, the clouds will be between 2,000 and 7,000 feet altitude. These higher ones may give the occasional rain shower, but no severe storms. 

If these clouds have not developed into the big fluffy cumulus clouds by the early afternoon, it is unlikely that there will be any lasting cloud cover through the evening. Keeping an eye on the development of cloud formations can foretell the weather patterns to come.

Understanding the Classification of Cloud Families

Clouds are classified by four separate categories: 

  • ·         Low Level
  • ·         Medium Level
  • ·         High Level
  • ·         Multiple Level (These have vertical development)

These classifications are determined specifically by the altitude where they are located. The classifications themselves are pretty much self-explanatory.

Low Level Clouds

These clouds are mostly water vapor. Depending upon other factors, these can develop into rain, ice or snow. These are stratocumulus, stratus and cumulus clouds. Cumulus clouds are the fair-weather variety – fluffy and pleasant.  These clouds are close to the earth at 6,500 feet altitude or lower.

Medium Level Clouds

These clouds are found between 6,500 feet and 20,000 feet altitudes above the earth. These are generally altocumulus, altostratus and nimbostratus varieties. With high moisture levels, these clouds are usually super cooled.
High Level Clouds

These high level clouds are usually ice crystals and found no closer to the earth than 16,500 feet altitude. As noted above, medium level and high level clouds can occupy part of the same air space.  Cirrostratus, cirrus and cirrocumulus clouds are the ones in this classification. These clouds indicate fair weather and are not at all associated with storms or tornadoes under normal circumstances.

Multiple Level Clouds with Vertical Development 

These clouds are the most dangerous of all. They can be as close as 1,000 feet above the earth with the tops reaching much higher into the heavens. Cumulonimbus and cumulus with towering vertical development occur when the atmosphere is unstable. The storms produced when these clouds are present can bring extremely severe weather.

Types of Clouds

Clouds are capable of predicting the weather. This is why storm chasers watch the clouds for information regarding the incoming storms.

Cirrus Clouds
These clouds are feathery and spread over the sky, leaving the blue sky visible through them. These are by-far the most pleasant clouds to view, with many people enjoying lying on the ground looking up at them. During the summer, these indicate a beautiful day ahead.

Cirro-Cumulus Clouds
These clouds look like cirrus clouds with a bit of attitude. The ripple effect you see in them is what makes them different. They indicate a change in the weather is about to occur. With rain on the horizon, you might want to prepare for the possibility of a storm.

Cumulonimbus Clouds

These are storm clouds. When you see them, a storm is likely already happening beneath them and it may be heading your way! Clouds that look like mushrooms generally are foretelling a severe thunderstorm. With a taller profile, looking like anchors in the sky, these clouds are difficult to miss. If they also have a fluffy, cauliflower-shaped top, this indicates that the storm is becoming more intense. Watch these for not only storms, but also the rotation of tornadoes.

Mammatus Clouds

These clouds appear like balls that are pointing down toward the earth. When these clouds are noticed, indications are that there is serious weather brewing. But there is no need to panic, these shaped clouds indicate that the storm is moving away from you. Although they look ominous, they are less dangerous than you might think.

You can learn a lot about the weather by watching the clouds. Nothing replaces the experience of viewing the changes and making notes of how the weather reacts to them. You can read a lot about them on the internet, but first-hand knowledge will help you to predict incoming weather patterns and potential disasters so you can prepare appropriately.

Be ready for any crisis! 

Your survival could depend on your own awareness.