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Survive In Any Emergency

Miscellaneous Natural and Manmade Disasters


Volcanoes can throw hot rock over 20 miles. Residue from the volcano can spread over 100 miles. If you live near a volcano, even if it is inactive, prepare to leave at a moments notice if the volcano is going to erupt. Just because there is a lot of rumbling and false alarms in the past does not mean that the current warning is not valid. Treat each warning as a serious threat.

Most people think of volcanoes only in terms of molten lava rushing down a mountain and a gooey orange stream flows down to the surrounding town. As scary and pretty as that may seem, it does not usually happen in just that way. A volcano is basically a big mountain with an underground river of extremely hot rock, rock that is so hot it is liquid and temperatures over 10000 degrees Fahrenheit.

When this swirling mass of hot liquid builds up under the mountain, it begins to boil over and starts to rise to the top. Earthquakes are usually great warning signs that something may happen. If there is too much pressure built up, the top of this mountain can explode into microscopic pieces of dust to large chunks of rock and heavy clumps of dirt. The ash from the volcano can rain over a large area and almost look like snow, except it is very warm and it makes the air very hard to breath.

If you are pelted with rocks spewing from the volcano, they can cause third degree burns. The danger of a volcano is further complicated by earthquakes, fires, floods, mud slides, tsunamis and the flow of the lava itself.

Before a volcano, learn about your community warning systems and be prepared for these disasters that can be spawned by volcanoes. Make plans to evacuate where you can be far away from the eruption. Much like you would in a house fire, have two routes of escape out of town. Make use of your out of town family contact after you have gathered your family to stay with them until the danger has passed.

If you are caught by surprise, stay indoors and seal your home shut. Bring all animals inside or in a barn and seal it shut. Stay in the inner part of your home in an inner room and keep low so you do not inhale fumes.

If caught outside, do not go into low areas since they are prone to collect dangerous gas and are quick to flood. If the land or rocks start to slide around you, roll in a ball and protect your head while you go with the flow.

Whether you are indoors or out, wear goggles and use a dust mask. Do not breathe in the ashes. The ashes can be heavy enough to crush a building, so imagine what they will do to your lungs. The air will be hot and contain noxious fumes. Turn off the gas valves before it causes an explosion. If your home catches fire, it is time to leave the area as quickly as you can. Do not carry possessions or drag anything that will slow you down. If you have children, try using a wheelbarrow to port them out of the area.


If you are on a ski resort or mountainous or hilly area, you can face a potential hazard if it snows or rains. In the case of rain induced mudslides, consult the recommendations under floods, but also keep in mind tips with a snow induced avalanche.

Most of the time there will be a warning posted in areas that are in danger of such conditions. Do not enter those areas if at all possible. Sometimes you might be caught totally off guard when warnings are not posted or conditions are not detected in time, so if you are on any hilly area that is prone to a slide, be prepared.

If going into such areas, bring emergency essentials such as extra blankets, flashlights, portable first aid kit, flares, matches, walkie talkie, food and water that can be carried in a backpack. If there are no warnings are posted, but you are in an area that can have an avalanche, make sure you are dressed warm and it would not be a bad idea to have such a backpack anyway.

Always be sure to tell someone if you are going into a mountainous area and let them know your approximate location. Should the worst happen and you are missing, someone will be able to let help know where you can be found.

If you see the avalanche coming your way, try to find the nearest, heaviest and stable source to block the impact between you and the snow rush. Try and remember that it isn't just snow, but rock and trees and other heavy objects coming down, so hiding behind a tree probably won't help much. If you can, quickly dig a hole and cover yourself while laying face down. Hold your head on your arms so you can have a pocket of air and wait for things to get quiet.

If you are pushed and disoriented by the rush, stay calm and spit. Find out which way the spit went so you will know which way is down. Slowly dig yourself out in the opposite way. It is no time to panic. Save your strength and energy since you might have a long dig ahead and you might have injuries. If you are severely injured, dig enough so you will be able to breathe, but keep yourself partly in the snow with a makeshift igloo. It will shelter you from the cold until help arrives.

If you have a walkie talkie, you can call for help. If you told someone where you are, chances are good that you will be found. If you went alone without a way to communicate, you will have to act smart. Avoiding frostbite might be difficult if you are going to be outside for a long period of time, but you can try to make it so it doesn't have to be as bad. Follow tips for a snow emergency.

Hazardous Chemical Accidents

If you live near a chemical plant, highway, or train, you are in danger of a potential chemical accident involving either a solvent type substance, gaseous and vaporous, oily, and all possibly highly flammable.

If you live in any of these areas, it could happen although the incidents are rare. You should have a plan worked out with your family and the community. When these incidents usually occur, it is the daytime. Kids may be in school and parents at work. You will need an outside family contact for everyone to reach to get reconnected. If you are at home with the family when this occurs, then that is one less problem you have to worry about.

You need a community plan as well. Sometimes everyone will be advised just to stay inside and close all windows and vents to the outside. You may want to keep a list of phone numbers of neighbors nearby who may have special needs and see if they need assistance or wish to stay with you until the danger passes. If they leave with you, put a note on their door saying where they are. When you are settled, do not leave until you have been signaled that everything is okay.

If you have to evacuate the area, you may be routed to some point dictated beforehand by the community or whomever is in charge of the safety of the people at the time. Use the family contact to keep track of family members. Bring along your emergency kit. (See why you need a kit in your child's school and at work now?) Leave a note on your door to let people know that you have left and the house is empty. If you know of neighbors who are sick or disabled that should be home, knock on their door and see if they need help. Try not to breathe in fumes or step in the toxic leak on your way to the shelter area. Try to get comfortable once at the shelter. You don't know how long you will be there. Especially if the disaster results in a massive fire. Do not leave until it is okay.