Hazards Central – Chapter 40

Hazards Central – Resources, Checklists, Playbooks and Tabletops – Chapter 40 in The Ultimate Business Continuity Success Guide

Hazard information at your fingertips! There is more natural and man-made hazard related business and personal information below than you or I could ever hope to assemble. Fortunately, we do not have to!

Disclaimer: Because every emergency is different, it is important for your safety that you follow the directives of your state and local emergency management authorities and local utilities. The information provided through these linked sites and in this book, is intended for general informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of any particular material or service.

Emergency Management Offices:

Here is a link to a great list of emergency management offices for every state and some additional countries which offers incredible information at your fingertips. Each office has location specific information. Many provide alert services. For example, in New York I rely daily on Notify NYC for many types of disruption  alerts. Often, I get these alerts before the news services report on them.

Alert services I rely on that offer free online versions:

  • Department of Homeland Security– they have a terrific newsletter
  • gov– they offer a great deal of worthwhile info and templates
  • USGS – Earthquake Notification Service– they have a somewhat hidden real-time feed
  • American Red Cross– great institution with important information
  • NOAA- National Weather Service– is the feeder for most TV and radio reporters
  • com– Weather Underground. I value their predictions. During a recent blizzard in New York their scientific discussions provided me with unique insight that the event would not impact some of my assets as severely as 99% of other services predicted they would be impacted. Weather Underground was correct!
  • com – this is my favorite wind specific site. Detailed maps, speed, direction, etc. Search by zip or city. It has served me well in numerous storms. Review all the tabs, as there is a lot of information on their site
  • org – this service fascinates me. Great info is searchable by city AND for a programmer like me, it has a really cool API. I am making time to test the API as soon as I complete the book you are now reading. I will report the results in the free Ultimate Business Continuity Email Newsletter

Hazard Information:

The two FEMA links below are favorites of mine. They have information and checklists on many hazards in convenient pdf format. Use them as is or customize them for your crisis management program.

  • https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1549-20490-4629/natural_hazards_1.pdf
  • https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1549-20490-2128/natural_hazards_2.pdf

Special Triple Mashup Resource:

Three additional resources I use on a regular basis are Ready.gov Prepare for Emergency Page, the DisasterAssistance.gov site and FEMA’s ‘Know Your Hazards site. They contain hazard related guidance, checklists, videos and FEMA scenario specific playbooks for organizations, including tabletops. I encourage you to visit all three sites.

BONUS!  For your convenience I created a special triple mashup consolidation of the three sites. The list below contains most, but not all, of the hazards described on the sites. The first resource for each hazard is from Ready.gov, then the FEMA playbook (where available), followed by additional resources:

Biological Threats – Learn what biological agents are and how they can be spread. You can also learn what to do to prepare in anticipation of an attack and what to do if you’re exposed.

  • Biological Threats(Ready.gov)
  • Bioterrorism – Learn what bioterrorism is and the categories of biological agents. You can also learn about specific agents and get fact sheets. There is also information for healthcare professionals and first responders. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Biodefense and Bioterrorism – Learn about agents such as anthrax and smallpox as well as research, treatment, and tests. There is also an option for you to sign up for email updates. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  • Bioterrorism and Drug Preparedness – Learn about drug therapy and vaccines and receive advice on medication for certain biological agents. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

Bomb Threat and Explosion Information

  • Bomb Threat and Explosion Information(Ready.gov)
  • Please read the next chapter in the book – ‘Homeland Security Bomb Threat Checklist, Guidance and Video’ for detailed information

Chemical Threats – Learn what chemical agents are and how they can be released. You can also learn the possible signs of a chemical attack and what you should do if you’ve been exposed.

  • Chemical Threats(Ready.gov)
  • Household Chemical Emergencies – Learn the guidelines for safely buying and storing chemicals in your home, and what to do in an emergency. (Ready.gov)
  • Chemical Emergency Preparedness – Learn how you can prevent chemical accidents as well as prepare for an emergency. You can also learn how you may be exposed to a chemical and how to respond. (American Red Cross)
  • Chemical Emergencies Overview – Learn what chemical emergencies are and the different chemical types. You can also learn about sheltering in place, evacuation, and decontamination. And there’s information for healthcare professionals and first responders. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Drought – Nearly every part of our country experiences periods of reduced rainfall. If we plan for drought, then we can enjoy the benefits of normal or rainy years and not get caught unprepared in dry years.

  • Drought(Ready.gov)
  • S. Drought Portal– View maps, local news, and fact sheets to help you monitor droughts in your area. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • National Drought Mitigation Center– Get current news and monitoring tools, and learn how to plan for a drought. There is even a section just for kids! (University of Nebraska–Lincoln)
  • Drought Preparedness and Water Conservation – Learn about the four types of drought and what they affect. You can also learn how to conserve water indoors and outdoors. (American Red Cross)
  • Water Conservation Tips– Learn how you can save water in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry, and outside your home. (Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission)

Earthquakes – Sudden rolling or shaking events caused by movement under the earth’s surface. Earthquakes occur along cracks in the earth’s surface, called fault lines, and can be felt over large areas, although they usually last less than one minute. Earthquakes cannot be predicted — although scientists are working on it! All 50 states and 5 U.S. territories are at some risk for earthquakes.  Earthquakes can happen at any time of the year.

  • Earthquakes(Ready.gov)
  • Prepare Your Organization for an Earthquake Playbook(FEMA)
  • USGS – Earthquake Notification Service
  • Earthquake Preparedness – Learn about risks and get an Earthquake Safety Checklist. You can learn how to prepare for and what to do during an earthquake, both inside and outside. Also become informed on how to let your family know you are safe after an earthquake. (American Red Cross)
  • Surviving an Earthquake – Find out how to prepare ahead and deal with home hazards. Learn about what to do in specific situations during an earthquake, such as if you are in a crowded public place or have impaired mobility. You can also learn what you need to know about food, water, and other safety issues after an earthquake. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Earthquakes can trigger fires, floods, landslides and tsunamis, so it’s good to learn how to stay safe from these hazards, too.

Fire – Fires can start by accident, acts of nature, or even by arson. They are common across all locales. You can help keep your family and co-workers safe during a fire by making sure smoke alarms work and by practicing a fire escape plan. The resources below can help you learn what to do to prevent or recover from a fire.

  • Fires (Ready.gov)
  • After the Fire: Returning to Normal (PDF, 406 KB) – Learn what to expect and how to handle the damage after a fire. There’s also a checklist to help you record vital details to keep on file. (FEMA)
  • Also, please read the sample tabletop chapter in the Testing part of this book. I incorporate a sample fire scenario.

Floods – Learn some flood terms, facts and safety tips to help you before, during, and after a flood. You can also read about flood insurance.

  • Floods– (Ready.gov)
  • Prepare Your Organization for a Flood Playbook– includes a tabletop  (FEMA)
  • Key Facts About Flood Readiness – Learn basic steps to prepare for a storm and pending evacuation. You can find out what to do if you’re under a flood watch or warning, and what emergency supplies you need. The site also has information about clean-up and food and water safety after a flood. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Flood Safety Checklist (PDF, 80 KB) – Get a checklist that answers three questions to help you prepare for a flood: What should I do? What supplies do I need? What do I do after a flood? You can also learn about the “Safe and Well” website. It allows you  to register to let your family know you are safe. (American Red Cross)
  • What Consumers Need to Know About Food and Water Safety – This page offers food and water safety facts to help you prepare for and respond to a hurricane, power outage, or flood. For floods, you can learn specific steps to help keep water and food safe during and after a flood. There is also a link to a PDF file if you want to save a copy of the information. (Food and Drug Administration)
  • Flooding – Get tips on how to recover after a flood. Tips such as how to use a generator safely, how to handle private wells and septic systems and how to deal with disaster debris, mold, clean-up and renovation are provided. You can also find information on water and food safety. (Environmental Protection Agency)

Hurricanes – Learn terms, facts, and safety tips to help you before, during, and after a hurricane. You can also read about the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale and the five hurricane categories.

Landslides

Power Outages – Basic safety tips and what to do before, during and after a power outage.

Radiation and Nuclear

  • Nuclear Power Plant Emergency – Learn the potential radiation exposure danger from a nuclear power plant emergency. Learn how to prepare a supply kit and how to make a family emergency plan. You can also find out what you should do during and after the emergency. (Ready.gov)
  • Nuclear Blast – Learn what a nuclear blast is and the hazards of nuclear devices. Learn how to prepare your home and family before a nuclear event, and what you should do during and after. (Ready.gov)
  • Hazardous Materials Incident – Find out what different hazardous materials are and where they can be found. Learn how to build an emergency supply kit, how to protect yourself during a hazardous materials incident and what you should do after. (Ready.gov)
  • Contamination vs. Exposure – Learn the difference between contamination and exposure and how you can limit contamination. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) – Find out what you need to know about radiation sickness. Learn how you can get it, what the symptoms are and how it is treated. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Potassium Iodide (KI) – Read frequently asked questions about the use of KI in radiation emergencies. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

Thunderstorms & Lightning – All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States. On average in the U.S., lightning kills 51 people and injures hundreds more each year. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Protecting your property from high winds can involve a variety of actions, from inspecting and maintaining your building to installing protective devices. Most of these actions, especially those that affect the exterior shell of your building, should be carried out by qualified maintenance staff or professional contractors licensed to work in your state, county, or city. For buildings with Exterior Insulation Finishing System (EIFS) walls, a type of wall often used for commercial buildings, one example of wind protection is inspecting and maintaining the walls.

Tornado – Get tornado facts and learn the conditions to stay alert for. Find out how to shelter in different structures or even if you are outside. Learn how to stay safe, inspect the damage, and clean up after a tornado. There’s also information on how to prepare a safe room.

  • Tornado– (Ready.gov)
  • Tornado Playbook(FEMA)
  • Tornado Safety – Learn the difference between a “tornado watch” and “tornado warning,” and the danger signs to watch for. Read about warning systems, and how to prepare your family and your home ahead of the storm. Learn what to do to stay safe during a tornado and how to recover after. (American Red Cross)
  • Tornadoes – Get information on how to prepare before a tornado, and how to stay safe during and after. Learn what to do when you re-enter your home and how to safely handle flooding or debris. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Tsunamis – Find out how to protect yourself and your family before a tsunami. Learn how to make a family communication plan and what the warning signs are. Learn what to do during a tsunami and how to stay safe after.

  • Tsunamis– (Ready.gov)
  • Warnings and Forecasts – Learn how the Tsunami Warning System works and how to respond. You can also find links to other tsunami information like “The Tsunami Story,” event databases, and news articles. (NOAA)
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response – Tsunamis – Find information on the health concerns and effects of tsunamis. You can also get tips on food and water safety. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Tsunami Preparedness – Learn the warning signs of a tsunami and the best sources for information. Get tips on how to prepare and be aware of the area around you. You can also learn how to respond during a tsunami, what to do after and how to let your family know you are safe. (American Red Cross)
  • Tsunami Hazard Mitigation – Get facts about tsunamis and learn what to do if you are on land or in a boat when a tsunami arrives. (University of Washington)

Volcano – Learn the many hazards of a volcanic eruption. Learn what you need to be aware of during an eruption.

  • Volcano– (Ready.gov)
  • Volcano Preparedness– Do you live in a known active or dormant volcano area? If so, you need to know about your local warning systems and emergency plans. Learn the other hazards that can be caused by an eruption and how to prepare before an event. Find out what to do during an eruption, whether indoors or outdoors, and how to protect yourself during ash fall. You can also get tips on how to stay safe after. (American Red Cross)
  • Volcanoes– Get information about how to prepare for a volcanic eruption. You can also learn how the EPA responds and you also learn about the health and environmental impacts after. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Volcanoes – What You Should Know – Get advice on how to protect yourself and your family after an eruption. There are also links to help you learn about other hazards that can occur with an eruption. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Volcanic Ash – Learn what ash is, what it can do, and how to prevent damage. Get tips on what actions to take for clean-up and disposal. You can also view brochures about volcanic ash from the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN). (U.S. Geological Survey)

Winter Storm – Learn the terms for winter weather conditions and how you can plan for a storm. Learn what you should do during a winter storm or in extreme cold, such as if you are stranded in a car. You can also learn how to find a shelter if you lose power or heat and don’t have any way to stay warm in your home overnight.

  • Winter Storm– (Ready.gov)
  • Prepare Your Organization for a Winter Storm Playbook(FEMA)
  • Winter Weather – Learn how to deal with extreme cold and its health hazards. Get winter weather checklists and learn how to prepare your home and car for winter emergencies. You can also learn what to do during and after a winter storm. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Winter Weather Safety – Find out about the coming winter weather outlook, get forecasts and warnings, and winter storm preparedness tips. There is also a link to help you find weather awareness safety events in your state. (National Weather Service)
  • Winter Tips – Get tips on how to stay safe, save energy, and reduce waste in the winter season. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Winter Storm Preparedness – Learn how to prepare before a winter storm. One way would be to make a supply kit. You can also get tips on how to stay safe during a storm and learn about carbon monoxide, frostbite, and hypothermia hazards. (American Red Cross)