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Monday, 29 October 2012

Disaster preparedness – are you ready?

The west coast was rocked by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. Tsunami warnings were followed by swells that were mostly less than 1 metre.  Damage was minimal.  Essentially a training exercise for the predicted “Big One”

Comparatively speaking the east coast is about to be pummelled by Sandy as she makes landfall near New Jersey, will collide its warm humid air with a cold front, and then get pushed north and finally east  with the storm centre expected to pass on a track over Kingston and Montreal before heading across New Brunswick, PEI and Cape Breton.   Our thoughts in advance to those that will still feel its slightly buffered down furry.

For those in the expected path, perhaps a bit of time to scramble to prepare.  Check out some quick reliable sites like the Red Cross or the Canadian government. The only added advise, is be prepared for up to 7 days before aide becomes available.   The typical 72 hour notice is based upon Californian expectations of the time to initial contact – not the time to receive aid.

Sandy has already killed over 60 people in the Caribbean, and likely that number will substantially increase.   Deaths from falling material, wave surges amongst gawkers who feel indestructible, exposure, and add to this the exacerbation of cardiac and other chronic diseases caused by acute stresses that can lead to sudden death or disease exacerbation.   With the predicted levels of snowfall in some areas, motor vehicle deaths may increase.  A review of the Canadian weather that kills provides a reminder that annually about 20 people are killed by weather, but extreme events can increase that to 100. 

In the aftermath, there is a predicted $80 Billion clean up expected as this Frankenstorm hits some of the most populated US areas and will pass along a portion of Canada’s most populous area.   Canadians, while priding themselves in being intimately familiar with extreme weather events, may still not be adequately prepared for the consequences and conduct of this hurricane/tropical storm.  Let us hope that the predictions are exaggerations. 

When preparing for a potentially disastrous situation, pray for the best, but plan for the worst.  For those not affected, your thoughts are welcomed, and  take this opportunity to plan for your disaster, there is not a part of the country that is immune from extreme natural events. 

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