Our beloved “Music City”, Nashville, has become a devastated area, following heavy thunderstorms and flash flooding, which caused the Cumberland River to rise almost 12’ above flood level last weekend. At least 30 deaths in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi have been blamed on the recent storms. The Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame, Opryland Hotel, and Opry Mills have been inundated with water. The field of the Tennessee Titans was flooded, as well. Ironically, this is “National Music Week,” stressing the role music plays in our lives. Several country music stars lost valuable equipment in storage, as well as damage to their homes. They, along with entertainers across America, have been performing to raise money to help residents who have lost everything.
Here are some helpful tips for those who are trying to retrieve whatever they can from their flooded property:
- Extreme caution should be used because of possible chemical and electric hazards.
- Wear special chemical protective outerwear and safety goggles
- Also wear rubber or plastic gloves, boots, and other protective clothing to guard from contact with floodwater.
- Be sure tetanus shot is current (within 10 years).
- Hazardous waste and chemical containers may be moved or buried by floodwaters far from their regular storage places, which are risky for those who come in contact with them. The fire department or police should handle these circumstances.
- Maintain good hygiene during cleanup operations, wash hands with soap and running water as often as possible during the day.
- Do not allow children to play in floodwaters, or with toys that have been in floodwaters.
- Wear eyewear and head protection. Sunscreen needs to be worn, as well.
- Take precaution from insect and mosquito bites.
- Get medical attention for all animal bites immediately.
It will take time to rebuild the attractions that draw tourists to Nashville and the surrounding area, but with the determination their citizens have shown, it will happen. We can’t stop the music; it will always be what keeps us all going!
Sources: OSHA Natural Disaster Recovery: Flood Cleanup
On March 24, 1989, an oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez, hit the Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, and things have never been the same for this pristine area. Alaskans are watching the cleanup process that is beginning on the shores of Louisiana, and Alabama. Florida and Mississippi’s shorelines are also threatened. The oil that leaked from the Exxon Valdez is still ranked #1 in environmental damages; however, it has been dropped from the top fifty international oil spills. The damage to the fishing industry in Alaska, as well as tourism and other resources suffered immensely. On the outside, it is vastly improved; but on the inside, Alaskans who were involved are scarred.
According to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the accident and determined that the probable causes of the grounding were:
1. The failure of the third mate to properly maneuver the vessel, possibly due to fatigue and excessive workload;
2. The failure of the master to provide a proper navigation watch, possibly due to impairment from alcohol;
3. The failure of Exxon Shipping Company to supervise the master and provide a rested and sufficient crew for the Exxon Valdez;
4. The failure of the U.S. Coast Guard to provide an effective vessel traffic system
5. The lack of effective pilot and escort services.
The ship’s captain had received permission to use the inbound lane rather than the outbound lane, due to the presence of icebergs. However, once the ship passed the icebergs, it didn’t get back into the correct passage and became grounded on the reef.
Four summers were spent cleaning up the shores. More than 1,000 boats and 100 airplanes and helicopters were involved, as well as more than 11,000 Alaska residents and some Exxon employees working together to restore the area. Imagine 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of oil; that is equal to the amount of oil that leaked from the tanker. Some of the wildlife and sea creatures of Alaska have come back; the herring have not.
Even though residents received monetary compensation, which took years in some cases, due to appeals, they feel they were not repaid for years that they were unable to make a living, most of them by fishing.
It’s unclear what will happen on the Gulf Coast, but massive efforts are being made to protect the wildlife and do what can be done to prevent the same devastation of livelihoods in that area as happened in Alaska. After a thorough investigation, time will allow us to know what caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, taking the lives of eleven persons, as well as injuring several others. Until that time, our thoughts are with those who are trying to stop the oil spill, in addition to those who are struggling to protect the Gulf shores.
When news of an 8.8 earthquake hit the Latin American country of Chile on Saturday, President Obama sent word to President Michelle Bachelet, that the U.S. is ready to help. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left Sunday for a planned 5-day trip to Latin America. She also promised that rescue and recovery support is available.
Thus far, Chile has reported 708 deaths resulting from the earthquake. Concepcion, population 670,000, was hardest hit. The quake’s epicenter was reported offshore and 21 miles underground, which was about 200 miles from Chile’s largest city, Santiago.
President Bachelet has ordered the country’s military troops to assist local police in controlling looting. She has appealed for help from other countries, as well.
Although the earthquake measured stronger than the Haiti quake, the devastation and death count was much higher in Haiti, whose death toll is 220,000. Millions of persons remain homeless, and still in need of food, water, and shelter. The location of the epicenter of Haiti’s earthquake was 8 miles underground, and on the edge of Port-au-Prince. After the Saturday quake, there was the threat of tsunamis as far away as Russia and Japan; however, there have been no immediate reports of serious damage from any countries.
Chile is the wealthiest country in Latin America; Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Chile has architectural structures that can handle natural disasters better than the buildings in Haiti that were poorly built, and crumbled on top of each other. February, 2010, has not been kind to our friends to the south. Help came from all over the world when the earthquake happened in Haiti. When Chile decides what their main needs will be, dedicated rescue teams and workers of all types will be there. Thankfully, their infrastructure and government can handle things well, and they are better able to take care of their people.
We pray for the safety of all volunteers who travel to Chile and for the well-being of the citizens of that country. Let’s hope for peace and quiet for a long time!
It goes without saying that the devastation of the earthquake Haiti experienced January 12th has touched everyone. The scenes that are described by the media can’t begin to show the true horror of what is being experienced by the persons who are victims, as well as those playing a part in their rescue. February 12th was set aside as a National Day of Prayer in Haiti, and the 12th through 15th as days of prayers to remember their loved ones.
Haiti was a very poor country to begin with and most of the population did not have the conveniences that we take for granted. Water, electricity, and sanitation were things that many of their citizens did without. Now, the situation is even worse. International aid workers have faced many obstacles since Day One: an overwhelmed airport, blocked roads, lack of communication, electricity, food, and water. Topping that off, crime is also a problem for those who are doing their level best to make things better. Looting always seems to follow a catastrophe. Some of the rescue personnel have had U.N. military escorts. Because there were no national building codes, many of the structures were built without rebar, or any type of solid support, which caused them to crumble. Aftershocks have also added to the fears of everyone involved.
We have seen a myriad of highly trained rescue teams, physicians, nurses, and missionaries, all representing their countries with one goal in mind – helping those who can’t help themselves. When they leave, other volunteers will replace them. Many who were involved in search and rescue were equipped with high-tech devices such as fiber-optic cameras and ultra-sensitive listening devices. These workers are skilled in complex rescue measures.
Now is the beginning of the rainy season for Haiti. This is just one more problem that they will face. As reported by the BBC, an international aid project called Haiti Flash Appeal, was launched by several humanitarian agencies experienced in dealing with natural disasters. Ninety-five percent of the $577 million target has been met. This target is an estimate of funds that will be required for the next six months in the areas of food, health, emergency shelter, and agriculture.
A brief breakdown of this information and the percentage of goals met for the appeal are as listed:
- Emergency shelter (47%). There are still 1.2 million persons sleeping in the streets, with at least 650,000 homeless children among them.
- Sanitation (33%). Although bottled water is being provided, there is not enough drinking water or sanitary waste provisions.
- Food (57%). With so many to feed, food has not yet reached all of the three million people who need it.
- Logistics (100%). Roads have been cleared, and the ports are providing access to allow more deliveries.
Philippine Online Chronicles reports that food distribution has become somewhat organized, by a coupon system. Women are given the coupons, as it was felt that the food would be better distributed to families when given to the women. Crime, as mentioned earlier, is rampant, and many women have lost their husbands and male family members, and are not safe from becoming victims of rape, and/or theft of food or whatever little they may have.
It is hoped that the funds sent to charities for Haiti will be managed by the United Nations or others that will help Haitians restore their lives in a responsible and productive way.
Texas America Safety Company has sent gloves, respirators, and disposable clothing for use in the recovery process. We, along with millions of people all over the world, send our prayers, as well.
In the early evening of January 12th, an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale struck the tiny Caribbean nation of Haiti. The epicenter of the quake was about 10 miles south of Port-Au-Prince, the country’s densely populated capital, and the damage was disastrous.
The U.N. headquarters and the Presidential Palace became piles of rubble, with persons buried underneath them, in addition to businesses, hospitals, schools, and homes. Some buildings are still standing, but it is feared that they could come crumbling down at any time. An estimated 200,000 people are dead, thousands more are injured and countless more are still missing. Aftershocks continue to rock the capital. Countries from all over the world have sent rescue and medical personnel to the aid of Haitians and others who live there – from babies to the elderly. Medical professionals worry that many of the injured will not be able to survive their wounds, due to the risk of infection and disease, and lack of antibiotics and other badly needed medicines. The arrival and distribution of medical supplies, water and food, has been slowed down due to the lack of sufficient landing space, as there is only a single-runway airport.
The United States plans to have around 16,000 troops in Haiti by the end of this week. Heavy construction equipment will be used to clear pathways for transportation of food, water, clothing, and medicines to reach the people who so desperately need it. There are more than 2 million persons who have been left homeless.
Texas America Safety Company the parent company for www.blog4safety.com has donated respirators, gloves, and disposable clothing for use in the relief effort through FEED THE CHILDREN. We encourage everyone to join us in giving to a reputable charity. All donations will help these folks survive until they are able to rebuild their lives and their country. Pray for the homeless, injured, those who have lost loved ones, and for the wonderful volunteers who are working so hard to help them.
The United States Department of Homeland Security’s READY campaign, along with AD Council, and Citizen Corps, announced their sixth annual National Preparedness Month on September 1st. Their purpose is to encourage Americans to be prepared for emergencies in their communities, homes, and businesses. Americans must understand what being ready really means. This month, this National Public Service advertising campaign will promote individual emergency preparedness to respond to emergencies including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.
Others who actively participate in this endeavor are the Better Business Bureau, Boy Scouts of America, National Volunteer Fire Council, Home Depot, ASPCA, and the American Red Cross.
This is a true story, from my little home town:
Shortly after 9-11, one of the schools got a suspicious package in the mail. The postmark showed it was from a foreign country, and seemed to have a powdery material seeping out of it, so the secretary immediately reported it to the proper authorities. All types of activities proceeded, as planned, with a HazMat team coming from 90 miles away, emergency responders setting up areas to wash down anyone who was possibly contaminated, hospital locked down, etc. As it turned out, it contained some educational tapes and the packing material had become crushed in the process of being mailed. She was very embarrassed, but she did the right thing, as the materials had not been ordered, and at that particular time, we were all nervous about the unexpected. What we found out was, though, we were really not prepared. Many things were done that should have been done, but not necessarily in the correct order.
In earlier articles we have presented, Being Prepared, and Dog Rescuers in Times of Disaster, we have listed tips on basic safety kits that families should have, as well as ideas for those who rescue animals in emergency situations, so you may want to review them.
It would take time to gather up all the things needed to for an emergency disaster kit, but we want to point out many basic necessities:
- Water: 1 gallon per day, per person, for up to 3 days
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Can opener
- Battery powered NOAA weather radio, and extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust Masks
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties
- Prescription medications
- Pet food, water
- Paper products, towels, plates, etc.
- Cell phone
Natonal Preparedness Month membership is open to the public and private sector organizations. For information, go to www.ready.gov. Businesses, families, school administrators, and individuals should all get involved and spread the word that we must be better prepared.