Are you ready for extreme heat and other natural and man-made disasters?
Every year, particularly during the summer months, Australians are faced with horrific fires, droughts and floods which destroy lives, property and have a huge impact on local communities. Whether you live or intend to reside in a flood-prone area, a high fire danger zone or in a cyclone area or tuck yourself away in the city or suburbia, one should be prepared for any emergency – natural or man-made. In other words, make plans before disaster strikes and also, take into consideration your neighbours, elderly friends and relatives in the area. I recall while living in Milan, Italy during an August heatwave in which hundreds of elderly people who were left alone in poorly ventilated, small apartments died while the families scooted off to the lakes or beaches. Similarly, in Melbourne, Australia this summer, there were hundreds of deaths resulting from the effects of the extreme heat – meanwhile, the tennis stars played on during the Australian Open Tournament – not a pleasant site.
Make time with your family to consider:
If you or family members live in a zone prone to specific natural hazards – floods, droughts, fires, thunderstorms, cyclones etc., have you done some kind of emergency planning? Do you have a disaster supplies kit to suit your particular needs? Do you have adequate shelter for you and your animals from the hazard? Do you practise and maintain your plan?
What are the natural hazards you may encounter in your area?
Why should we prepare for extreme conditions?
What basic preparedness should we put in place?
Should we consider technological hazards and make preparedness e.g. hazardous materials incidents and household chemical emergencies?
Are you ready?
Jan Couper M.Ed.; M.Env.