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A Category 2 Hurricane occurs when the speed of the wind ranges from 96 to 110 mph. It is expected to cause extensive property damage. The winds blow at high speed, causing debris, which, in turn, poses a threat to both human beings and other living organisms. Such a category shows that the roofs and glass windows of buildings are vulnerable to damage. It may also lead to the structural damage to story buildings, mobile homes, and shopping centers. It causes flooding in low-lying areas and extensive power outages that could last a few weeks. This paper aims at giving guidelines that citizens are to follow in the event that a Category 2 Hurricane occurs in the County of Clear Waters.
72 Hours Time Frame
The goal of this disaster preparedness and response plan is for the people and the community of Clear Waters at large to take necessary measures in the anticipation of the hurricane. This plan is to ensure that they have a sufficient supply of water, food and medicines. They should also have a reliable first-aid kit and a plan to locate relatives and family in case transportation and communication networks are disrupted.
Clear Waters has established a Disaster Administration Office. It is mandated to make sure that officials mitigate the consequences of the natural phenomena. These officials will be able to provide the citizens with the latest conditions regarding the preparations and any information about the anticipated natural disasters. The office will work with the United States’ Official Hurricane Center. The center will offer help and up-to-date information on a storm’s development and the forecast of the storm’s track (Pielke & Pielke, 2007). The office is also to liaise with the Navy and Police Departments of the County.
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The Disaster Management Office through the Commanding General of the Navy Base is to indicate the hurricane’s approximate time of impact. It will be done by announcing a ‘condition-of-readiness alert’. The office will use five sample forms of hurricane conditions, each symbolizing the extent of the threat. These forms will be used to provide precise preparations to reduce its anticipated effects. The storm may be unpredictable and can change its course at any time. The officials, therefore, expect that the citizens would be very keen in noticing the different forms of conditions. If the hurricane changes very fast, then other processes would be ignored, and the immediate one will be announced. It will, therefore, require caution to ensure all the relevant authorities implement the precautionary measures at the soonest possible time.
The citizens are to follow these conditions without any reservations. The officials are to initiate Condition 5 and Condition 4. When the department announces the former, it is supposed to imply that there is a normalcy of the weather and that the emergency plan is in a swift mode just in case of any eventuality. Condition 4 implies that there is a possibility of winds of destructive force appearing within the next 72 hours. The department will also be monitoring storm patterns and preparing information necessary for announcements to the public. Hurricane Condition 4 is supposed to imply that citizens should expect it in the county within the next 72 hours.
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Citizens are to act on voluntary evacuations within the first part of the government allocated timeline. As evacuations can be slow, they are encouraged to be ready to leave early. They are to select and confirm their destination beforehand. Residents should pick their primary and alternative evacuation routes in case the main path fails. During this period, residents who have cars should check their fuel tanks to ensure they have adequate fuel and good tires to take them to safe evacuation centers or out of town. Citizens should carry spare tires in case of any emergencies. Residents are to organize themselves into groups in advance so as to plan on how they would meet and get to the safety place on the day of the storm. Each member must know the addresses of people in their team. They should think of a point of leaving and provide each other with the directions to their homes. They are also advised to stay outside the notified danger zone.
The department will locate the evacuation centers at specific places throughout the county. Citizens who can afford hotels outside town or are financially stable are advised not to use these centers. The department will liaise with the American Red Cross Society to provide extra shelters. In case of any trouble locating these shelters, citizens should contact the American Red Cross society through telephone numbers provided at the department’s offices or at their website. Citizens who are to be evacuated from their houses are those who live in mobile homes or temporary structures. Hurricane winds are stronger at high elevations; therefore, residents living in high-rise buildings are also advised to leave their homes. Citizens who are in safe houses and would not require going to the evacuation centers are to secure their homes. They are to do this using hurricane rollers or wood. They are also to keep outside objects lying and fastened to the ground. (United Way of Connecticut, 2014). Anyone with a boat is supposed to secure it. The department strongly advises the trimming of plants and bushes surrounding their buildings and the clearing of blocked rain paths. Citizens are to charge their cell phones and to use them only in times of emergencies. As there are chances of water shortages or water infection, residents are advised to store water in bottles and containers for use during that period. Residents are to fill bathtubs with water for use during the hurricane period.
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The Emergency Office is to inform health organizations and donor groups of the elderly people’s wants and necessities (Hutton, 2008). The department is also to appoint among its committee members an old people’s representative who would ensure that the officials take care of their needs. During the evacuation, special guidelines and plans are to be followed regarding the old and frail in the community. The officials should devote special attention to expectant women and infants. They will form a part of the vulnerable group, and they should be given priority during the evacuations. The officers are also to provide people with disabilities or special needs with means of transport and medication necessary.
48 Hours Time Frame
When the Emergency Office announces Condition 3 readiness, it implies that harmful winds are anticipated in 48 hours time. On the other hand, a Condition 3 hurricane storm means that storms are to be expected within 48 hours too. The evacuation notice given at this time is a mandatory one. During this period, special evacuation routes will be free of traffic congestions are to be made.
Citizens are expected to become acquainted with and follow these routes immediately before the actual evacuation process. Residents are also advised not to deviate from the specific routes allocated to them, no matter how the traffic would look. It is so as to create order and to avoid expansion of traffic jams.
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A directive will be issued to close highways and reverse lanes where necessary so as to deal with the massive stream of people. The following list of items will be provided at the evacuation centers. Citizens should be advised that the government will only offer the basic amenities. Residents are to provide themselves with money. Water will be supplied at one and a half gallons per person per day. The government will also offer non-perishable or preferably canned food, utensils, rain gear, and such hygiene items as soap, towel, blankets or sleeping bags. First-aid kits, including painkillers, battery power radio, flashlights and batteries are also to be provided. A whistle to signal for help will be provided as well. The government will also provide a dust mask to help filter contaminated air. Local maps for guidance will be given too.
Members of the Emergency Department Committee are to convene a meeting during this period for a status review. It can be done in person, via phone or through some other way. A bus sponsored by the Navy Department will be responsible for picking up citizens at specific places and transporting them to the evacuation centers. The airport will also act as an evacuation center. After this period, all bases, including airports, will be closed. Vehicles that are to be kept safe will be left in special hangars. Citizens being carpooled should leave extra cars at the airport while they are on the way out, for safe keeping. Communication will be maintained at this time.
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Announcements in local newspapers are to serve as message boards for friends and relatives. The Police Department will go around the city to disseminate information on evacuation using loudspeakers.
Elderly people are known to play an important role in emergencies through economic and social contributions (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 2005). Special chairs are to be provided to move the disabled, the old and frail to the designated safe centers. In order to provide the old people with medication during this period, the medical officers will be responsible for the appropriate health care.
24 Hours Time Frame
The Emergency Department is to announce a Condition 2 readiness plan, which would imply that the threat of destructive winds is to be expected within 24 hours. Normally, hurricane warnings are given within 24 hours (Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA], 2015). The department will also announce a Condition 2 hurricane, which would mean that storms are to be expected within the period of 24 hours. At this stage, the department will collaborate with the Emergency Agency for Management in-charge of the Federal governments. Around this time, the department can also issue an official evacuation strategy, which, unlike the other evacuation strategies, is to be taken seriously. Citizens are to start acting on it immediately and to do as the notice recommends without any reservations. The formula for issuance of the evacuation strategy is to be determined by such elements as the length of the storm, expected storm path, the direction of the storm, citizens that will be affected and the period it will take to mobilize the citizens.
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During this period, the Emergency Department officials will make door-to-door contacts to encourage residents to stick to the evacuation notice when it is given. Hospitals can decide to shelter the special-needs people of the county. These hospitals are to be reimbursed for the expenses related to the feeding and extra-ordinary care requirements associated with the sheltering operation (United Way of Connecticut, 2014). Psychologists are to be appointed to help citizens deal with the trauma and impact of the hurricane. Each emergency evacuation center should have at the minimum four therapists and the officials of the Red Cross Society of America. They are to help the weak residents of the county, including the elderly and children, cope with the reality and impact of the disaster. The administration is to cater for the providing of specific food for the elderly and infants. It is because this category of people would require food that is not normally consumed by the general population. The food could be softer and with more vitamins than the normal types of foods.
During this stage, it is expected that there is going to be many psychological and sociological issues. Normally, disasters involve unexpected or uncontrollable events rather than long-term experiences. The anticipation and the reality of the hurricane can lead to the development of psychological issues (Gibbs & Montagnino, 2007). The department notes that residents may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. They could re-experience the traumatic event, usually in the form of flash backs or nightmares. The department will provide a guide of how to deal with such people. The government has also hired specialists and psychotherapists to treat such conditions. People affected by the hurricane will tend to avoid the situations or stimuli that could reawaken the trauma. After the hurricane experience, they withdraw from other people and numb their feelings. They experience sleep difficulties, irritability and difficulty in concentration. Affected people could experience depression and anxiety. In some cases, it can lead them to alcohol abuse and drug use to deal with the impact.
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The department has also set extra measures to cater for the vulnerable members of the community during this period. The middle-aged group could be included in this group. It is because the government realizes that they have more burdens and stresses, such as caring and support for a family. Such stress could be amplified in the days immediately after the disaster.
People needing more protection from the office also include the youth, people with mental conditions, even the ones that developed before the disaster, and those who have seen their family members being injured or killed in the disaster. Single mothers having limited financial resources to help overcome the trauma are also included in the category requiring government protection before, during and after the hurricane disaster.
The government also intends to set the support groups for people dealing with psychological issues. These groups are to operate before the disaster, during and after it. During the hurricane, these groups are going to be located at the evacuation centers and the hospitals. The people who will stay in their houses, will be provided with some support as well. There will be a radio show run by psychologists and counselors who would be giving guidance and saying comforting words to people during this hard time. It will be of great importance to citizens at this time. Without it, people can start believing in their own nightmares and fears. Eventually, it can affect them and force them to look for ways that would reduce the impact of the disaster on them. (Lindell, 2013).
The government also requests that the citizens form social groups to help each other deal with the effect of the hurricane on their lives. These groups would make people feel wanted and that they belong and have people who care about them. The lack of social support may lead to significant post-disaster distress. These groups will enable people to work together. The residents will even help each other in the evacuation process. During hurricane disasters, social groups tend to offer a hand to one another, to pray together, eat as a community and entertain each other so as to forget the disaster taking place outside the evacuation centers. In case there are residents stuck in the storm outside, such groups are best placed to help such people. After the hurricane, these social groups will help people to move on and come back to their normal lives after the disaster.
Women are known to better use the social groups to work through their issues. It is because the fact that they were care givers tends to increase their level of stress after a disaster. Therefore, social groups are essential so as to keep them normal. Men, on the other hand, try to cope with problems by using individual or immediate decision making. Sometimes, the sociological impact of the hurricane on individuals could include people experiencing upsets with storms, lack of patience, and strained family relationships. Other people could feel severe ties to social support. They could also experience the feeling of intense helplessness. Sometimes, people are separated and find themselves in different geographical areas (Weems & Watts, 2007).
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The immediate procedures the government is to makes should ensure that all damaged electric wires are reported. Citizens are advised not to go near these poles. The people are also advised to refrain from consuming any water from public water reservoirs. They may be contaminated and not safe to drink. They are to drink water stored in bottles and containers that they had saved prior to the disaster. The government should help in tracing the isolated older people and reunite them with their families. The recovery process will include the analysis of damages, removal of the aftermath of the disaster, and re-building of the infrastructure.
The county’s recovery process will involve four stages. The first is disaster assessment whereby the relevant authorities will undertake a rapid assessment. They will then produce a preliminary report on the damage (Lindell, 2013). The second stage is the short-term recovery. Here, county security will be provided. There will be the provision of temporary shelter, infrastructure restoration, debris management, emergency demolition of affected buildings, management of donor funds, and disaster assistance.
The third stage is long-term reconstruction, which will focus on building-construction practices. Land-use practices are also going to be analyzed by the government. The ways of developing the economy are going to be devised as well to ensure the economy recovers from this disaster. The stage will also include catering for the resilience of the infrastructure of the county, the historical preservation of the county’s valuable relics, the recovery of the environment and disaster memorization. It will focus on recovering legal authority and financing by the national government. The fourth stage will focus on administrative and logistical support for the county. The county will look at measures aimed at external coordination of the county with other counties too. It will also cater for the recovery of facilities and equipments lost during the hurricane that therefore need replacement.
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