If child or loved one is heading for school this year, can you really be confident they’ll be safe in their classroom or dorm room if a deranged gunman appears or other disaster occurs? At least 74 school shootings have occurred since December 2012, when an assault at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut left 20 children and six school staff dead, along with the shooter, Adam Lanza, and his mother.
The sad fact is that unexpected school shootings average about once a week in the U.S. No school is totally safe. Shootings have occurred at elementary, middle and high schools, colleges, universities and trade schools in every type of neighborhood. In many cases the schools were locked-down by authorities for the duration of the disaster, trapping students in classrooms without protection, communications, provisions or restroom access.
When a Los Angeles Unified School District officer was shot by his car near a school, authorities sealed off a seven mile radius and nearby schools locked-down, trapping 9,000 students and teachers in classrooms for hours without relief until the all-clear finally occurred.
More than 20 states today require lockdown or similar types of drills and 30 states require schools to have broader emergency plans, according to a recent New York Times article.
While many colleges and schools are prepared for unforeseen disaster, including shootings, tornadoes and earthquakes with emergency plans and disaster supplies in place, most schools are not, or not as prepared as they want to be.
Put simply: Every school should do their best to keep students as safe as possible. The American Red Cross recommends that schools be prepared for disaster with, at a minimum, the basic supplies listed below:
• Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation)
• Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation)
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radios
• Extra batteries
• First aid kits
• Basic medications and medical items
• Multi-purpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items
• Cell phone with chargers
• Family and emergency contact information
• Emergency blanket
• Maps of the area
If your child or a loved one is heading for college or attending school this year, can you really be confident they’ll be safe in their classroom or dorm room or apartment if a deranged shooter tries to take control, or other disaster occurs?
Are you assured that emergency preparedness kits that include portable toilets, medical supplies, water and provisions will be available in every classroom and dorm room to help your loved one endure any disaster?
If not, it may be best to provide your loved one with a “back to school” emergency survival kit equipped with everything they need to help ensure their safety. It is better to be prepared than not when disaster arises .
First responders in coastal regions will help people prepare for the worst during National Hurricane Preparedness Week May 25 through June 3.
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1st through November 30. The Eastern Pacific season is May 15th through November 30. The National Weather Service has already compiled a list of names for hurricanes and tropical storms anticipated for this season.
Based on records dating to 1950, a typical season has 12 tropical storms; about seven of those become raging hurricanes. Tropical storms have sustained winds of 39 mph or higher, becoming hurricanes when those winds reach 74 mph, producing enough power to wreck houses and flood neighborhoods.
USA Today reports that even the best forecasts can be wrong. In 2012, more than twice as many hurricanes formed than were predicted. The results were devastating for many U.S. homes and businesses.
The National Weather Service says prepare early for hurricane season,and prepare well:
“Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?”
The best advice includes acquiring an emergency preparedness kit containing items to help you and your family during a hurricane or tropical storm. Consider having more than one kit and storing those in different locations at your home or office. In addition, the National Weather Service advises:
• Protect yourself and family with a Family Emergency Plan for your residence
• Consider an Emergency Plan if you are away from home, such as at work
• Business owners should create a Workplace Emergency Plan
• Make sure that schools and daycare centers your children attend have School Emergency Plans
• Pet owners should plan to care for their animals with a special pet survival kit
• If you own a boat, prepare it for a coming storm or move it away from the coastal area
Be alert for evacuation guidelines from local authorities. It’s smart to keep a contact list of local resources including emergency management agencies, law enforcement, local hospitals and the American Red Cross.
The first ten names that the National Weather Service has chosen for 2014 hurricanes and tropical storms are: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias and Josephine.
Be prepared for any of them!
Posted in Extreme Weather, extreme weather, Hurricanes, preparedness, Preparedness Tips
Tagged 2014 hurricanes, hurricane preparedness, hurricane survival, hurricanes, national weather service predictions, NOAA, severe weather, severe weather preparedness
March through August is tornado season in the United States, where some 1,000 tornadoes hit every year. Be prepared. Tornadoes are more powerful than any other storm: They can toss freight trains like toys and throw your house down the block.
If you live in one of the top ten tornado states identified in order below, be smart and prepare yourself and your family for unexpected disaster:
- Florida is hit by more tornadoes than any other state in the U.S. and, also, also by more severe thunderstorms than any state.
- Oklahoma is the heart of what meteorologists call Tornado Alley. Its weather patterns often make warm and cool air collide — ideal for creating tornadoes and damaging thunderstorms.
- Kansas is where a mammoth twister whisked Dorothy and her little dog Toto to Oz, but it’s also where thousands of people are caught unprepared for damaging storms every year.
- Iowa was clobbered by 28 tornadoes in 2013 and averages of about 50 damaging thunderstorms every year.
- Illinois experienced one of its deadliest years on record for tornadoes in 2013. Storms generated widespread flooding and cut power in more than 160,000 homes and businesses.
- Indiana ranks second in the nation for the costs of tornado damage, sixth for the number of deaths and seventh for the number of personal injuries.
- Mississippi averages 29 tornadoes per year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its coastal regions are hit by devastating hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Maryland ranks in the Tornado Top Ten because of its mid-south and Atlantic Ocean weather patterns generate many twisters and serious thunderstorms.
- Louisiana ranks second in the U.S. for the most thunderstorms annually and as a result, and averages 37 tornadoes per year.
- Texas averages 155 tornadoes per year – the most of any state — but its land mass is so large it ranks 10th in the U.S. per tornadoes every 10,000 square miles.
Posted in climate change, disaster, emergency, Emergency Preparedness, Extreme Weather, extreme weather, homes, Tornadoes
Tagged NOAA, severe weather, tornado preparedness, tornado safety, Tornadoes
Sunday, September 15th begins Child Passenger Safety Week. With school having just started, this is a good time to think about how you keep your kids safe while on the road. Naturally, you will have a car emergency kit in your vehicle, but there is so much more to consider.
To help you teach your child, and maybe even refresh your own memory, Traffic Safety Marketing is offering a free activity book PDF called Let’s Learn About Safety. This 20-page book includes coloring pages, word puzzles and more. This is a big file to download, because it includes other materials as well, just so you know before you start to download it.
For kids old enough to ride the bus to school, they also offer a bilingual PDF titled Tips to Increase Your Child’s School Bus Safety. This PDF offers tips for parents so they can teach their child to be safe on the school bus, as well as approaching and walking away from the bus. It also provides ways that parents be be safer during the school year, such as slowing down and watching for children in school zones.
Use these materials to help your child have a safer school year.
Image credit: Traffic Safety Marketing
Keeping your child safe at home is almost second nature. We are always sure to have a child safety kit and home survival kit on hand to protect our children from everyday household hazards and emergencies, as well as a first aid kit for unexpected emergencies. But preparedness and safety don’t only apply at home.
Make sure, now that school is under way, that your child’s school always has current contact information in case of an emergency. In addition, your child should have an emergency contact card at all times.
Find out where your school will take children if there is a need to evacuate. Ask about their food and water storage for classrooms in case children need to shelter in place, and see how the school plans to contact family in emergency situations. Lastly, have an emergency person who is authorized to pick up your child if you are unable to. Make sure the school knows who this person is in advance of an emergency situation.
photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District via photopin cc