Step 3: Scout Your Area — What Are The Dangers We Face, As A Community?
September 15, 2014
In the previous 2 steps, we took the time to figure out a defined area for your disaster plan to cover, and then looked at the people who lived in the area and tried to determine what their needs could be during a disaster. We also reached out to the community to identify and recruit possible leaders, those people who have had the training and experience to assist and guide neighbors in the event of an emergency. We’ve covered a lot of ground so far!
Now we have to get serious about the possibilities of threats and risks to our community; in other words, what sort of disasters or emergencies might we experience in our neighborhood, given our landscape, location, weather, etc.? Let’s take a moment to identify possible threats. Here are some examples of what Los Angeles, could be susceptible to in terms of disaster threats:
Fires – given the extremely dry weather conditions, there is currently a high risk of wildfires, but fire can break out from faulty gas lines or electrical malfunctions.
Earthquakes –Los Angeles, is built upon fault lines and every location is at risk of “the big one,” an earthquake of catastrophic magnitude.
Flooding – this particularly affects low-lying areas, but heavy rains or even a burst water main, as was the case recently at UCLA, could cause severe water damage anywhere.
Landslides, Tsunami – depending upon where you live, whether it’s on a hillside or along the coast, either of these disasters could adversely affect your area.
Electricity, Water, Telephone Service – during a disaster, these services could be shut off or unavailable for an extended period of time.
Chemical Emergencies – a threat could come from a chemical storage facility or ruptured pipeline in the area, or possibly an industrial, freeway, or railway accident.
Disease Outbreak – this threat may be more difficult to quantify, but consider how services could be disrupted or shut down with an epidemic or outbreak of major proportions.
Extreme Heat and Cold/Severe Weather – severe weather conditions can be harmful to certain members of the public, such as older adults, young children, or people with chronic conditions or disabilities. Other weather hazards can affect an entire population, including lightning strikes, high winds and hailstorms.
Terrorist Attack – highly populated areas or significant structures and facilities could be a potential target for an attack, such as a shopping mall, a government buildings, schools, or transit hubs.
Local Hazards – think of hazards specific to your neighborhood, such as natural gas pipelines, overhead electrical transmission lines, power plants, chemical storage, etc.
Remember, when considering disasters that could happen to your neighborhood, it’s best to be prepared for the worst, and hope for the best.