Make this your Home Page
Do you know how safe you are when a disaster strikes?
Read the following to assist you with your answer.
DEFINITION OF A DISASTER
It is a progressive or sudden, widespread or localized; natural or human-caused occurrence that -
(a) Causes or threatens to cause -
(i) death or disease;
(ii) damage to property, infrastructure or the environment; or
(iii) disruption of the life of a community; and
(b) is of a magnitude that exceeds the ability of those affected by the disaster to cope with its effects using only their own resources;
Note: Its only when both (a) and (b) are occurring that a disaster has happened. Any other occurrence will be a normal or major incident.
WHAT IS DISASTER RISK?
The chance for a disaster to happen
DISASTER RISK = HAZARD x VULNERABILITY
DEFINITION OF DISASTER RISK
Disaster risk is the expected loss in terms of life, damage to property and economic loss caused by a specific threat. We are all exposed to various threats on a daily basis. It is important that you know what is threatening your safety at all times. In a community or schools, the occurrence of a disaster depends on the hazard (threat) and your vulnerability (how weak or unprepared you are against the hazard).
A hazard can also occur without you being affected. That is when you are protected or prepared to deal with the hazard, e.g. when the wind is blowing strong and your house or school is built in such a way that the wind cannot damage it. This means that when strong winds occur, you are relatively safe. This may not be the case for other hazards, like fire, because these will need other measures to be safe. Therefore, it means that the risk of a disaster is greater when the intensity of the hazard is higher and you are more vulnerable.
SO REMEMBER! IN ORDER FOR YOU TO BE SAFE, BE PREPARED!
DEFINITION OF A HAZARD
A hazard is a rare or extreme occurrence that threatens life, property and the environment. It can be a natural or human-caused event that is rare or extreme. Take wind as an example to illustrate the difference between a normal and extreme event (hazard). Wind in Nelson Mandela Bay is a common occurrence, whether weak or strong. Most strong winds are not hazards. As soon as the Weather Office issues a warning of extremely strong winds, the wind can be regarded as a hazard. The same applies when heavy rains are predicted, heavy rains are normal, but when the Weather Office predicts a storm with extraordinary levels of rain, it may lead to flooding, which is the hazard.
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF HAZARDS
The following hazards may occur in the Nelson Mandela Bay Area:
- Severe wind
- Fires (informal settlement fires and bush fires)
- Major disruption of electricity, water, sewerage
- Major surface water, sea and land pollution
- Major air pollution
- Transport (incl. hazardous materials, road, rail, shipping transport and fires)
- Transport (air transport and related fires)
- Major events (sports, cultural, political, religious)
- Climate change: Sea level rise
- Radio-active fall-out
- Civil unrest, terrorism
- Floods (incl. ponding, natural river course flooding and dam breaks)
- Industrial spillages, explosions and fires
- Environmental degradation (loss of biodiversity through e.g. mining, overgrazing, cultivation and development.
DEFINITION OF VULNERABILITY
Vulnerability refers to the degree to which you unable to deal with the effects of a hazard. Vulnerability may differ from hazard to hazard, i.e. you may be able to withstand the effects of one hazard, but be completely vulnerable to another.
Example: you will be most vulnerable if you are poor, have no access to basic services, have walls of poor construction, live in flood-plane near pools of contaminated water and ignore your environment and your vulnerability.
Houses less vulnerable to floods
Houses more vulnerable to floods
Know all your emergency telephone number
Ensure that all fire fighting equipment are serviced, clearly marked and unobstructe
Have a contingency plan for each hazard
Have an evacuation plan
Ensure that all escape routes are kept free of obstruction
Ensure that basic services operate and practise proper housekeeping
Consult Fire Department for fire safety in and around your home
What is Disaster Management
Disaster management means a continuous and integrated multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary process of planning and implementation of measures aimed at
(a) preventing or reducing the risk of disasters;
(b) mitigation the severity or consequences of disasters;
(c) emergency preparedness;
(d) a rapid and effective response to disasters; and
(e) post- disaster recovery and rehabilitation.
Principles for handling disasters
- Disasters must be handled at the level where they occur.
- The initial response is normally provided by the emergency services of the municipality.
SOME WAYS TO REDUCE DISATER RISK
1. TREAT THE HAZARD
- If possible, prevent or eliminate the hazard
- If possible, reduce the severity of the hazard
2. TREAT VULNERABILITY
- Reduce vulnerability
- Increase capacity
- Know the hazards you will face
- Protect yourself against each hazar
All structures must comply with building regulations
lity or district municipality affected by the incident.
If it is a natural disaster or a non-security related incident, it will de the responsibility of the disaster management fraternity to deal with the incident with the security support.
If it is a security related incident, the South African Police Services will be responsible to manage the incident with the disaster management fraternity in support.
Contingency plans to deal with any incident/ disaster must be in place on various levels of government.
If the municipality and or district municipality cannot cope with the situation it must request assistance/ support from the provincial level. Likewise, if the province cannot cope, it must request support from the national level.
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING WARNINGS AROUND THE HOME
Don’t leave a hot stove unattended.
Avoid cooking when under the influence of alcohol.
Children should not play with fire.
Make sure your flame stove / primus stove / heater is switched off before you go to bed.
Store matches and paraffin away from children.
Keep flames (like candles and lamps) away from combustible materials (like curtains or Keep gas cylinders in a secure place.
Obtain a permit from the Fire Department before burning garden refuse.
Stay indoors to avoid being injured by flying objects.
Avoid putting objects on top of the roof.
Listen to the radio and TV for warning of severe storms.
If traveling, park under a bridge, get out and crouch behind the bridge structures.
Plant trees to form a wind-break.
Never position a house, storage or camp site, etc. near a water course.
Create a diversion for water away from your house.
In the event of thunderstorm activity or rain of a long duration, listen to warnings on the radio and TV.
Before crossing a river, check whether the water level is rising.
Move to higher ground when flooding occurs.
If trapped in vehicle while there is a flood, rather abandon it and climb to higher ground. It can be dangerous to try and drive out of the water safety.
Drive slowly during heavy rains.
In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level.
Switch off electricity at the supply point to the building.
Protect animals by placing them on higher ground.
Don’t drink and drive or cross the road whilst under the influence of alcohol.
Look left, right and then left again before crossing the road.
Don’t drive while feeling tired.
Animals must be kept off the streets.
Children should not play in the streets.
Follow the road rules at all times.
Pedestrians should wear bright-coloured clothing at night so that drivers can see them.
Wear shoes with rubber soles.
While traveling in a vehicle, you are safe.
Do not hide from lightning underneath trees.
Switch off the electricity.
Do not touch water when there is lightning.
If you are in a large field
When a thunderstorm threatens, get inside a home or large building, or inside an all-metal (not convertible) vehicle
Inside a home, avoid using the telephone, except for emergencies
If outside, with no time to reach a safe building or an automobile, follow these rules:
Avoid standing in small isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas
Do not stand underneath a natural lightning rod, such as a tall, isolated tree
Avoid projecting above the surrounding landscape as you would do if you were standing on a hilltop, in an open field, on the beach, or fishing
Get out of and away from open water
Get away from tractors and other metal farm equipment
Get off and away from motorcycles, scooters, golf carts and bicycles. Put down golf clubs.
Stay away from wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes, rails and other metallic paths which could carry lightning to you from some distance away.
In the bush, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees. In open areas, go to a low place such as a ravine or a valley. Be alert for flash floods.
If you are hopelessly isolated in a level field or prairie and you feel your hair stand on end - indicating that lightning is about to strike - drop to your knees and bend forward putting your hands on your knees. Do not lie flat on the ground.