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Personal Emergency and Disaster Plan

Disasters can always happen at any given time and any given day. There is no place that can be exempted from it, which is why it is advisable for people to be always prepared for disasters. This is different from anticipating it, being overly paranoid, and believing that negative things will happen. Being prepared means having the likelihood that the person will survive the disaster. This is because the individual will have the right tools and equipments and will not panic at the moment because he or she knows what to do.

Natural disasters are those that are hard to survive because there are times when these would come out of nowhere without the proper agencies predicting them and giving warning to the public. Such disaster that people need to prepare themselves for is earthquakes. “An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock. Since it is impossible to predict when an earthquake will occur, it is important that you and your family are prepared ahead of time” (Ready America, 2009).

Another disaster that people should be prepared of is fires. Although buildings are inspected on a regular basis and are built to withstand fires, there are still times when accidents happen and fires are difficult to stop once they have begun. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, there are approximately 4,000 people in the United States who die from fires and 25,000 Americans acquire injuries because of fires (FEMA, 2006). These casualties could have been prevented if only people knew what to do in this type of situation.

Loss of power or electricity would also be important for students because it affects their academic lives. This would be felt especially during long periods of time that electrical power is not available because not only will there be no source of light but there will also be no source of heat. There will be no way for students to use the computer, communicate with other students, and study during the nights. Earthquakes, especially those that would involve large areas would have large effects on students. This would especially be hard if campus buildings are affected by the natural disaster.

Students will also be affected if their homes or dormitories are destroyed by the earthquake. This natural disaster can also cause changes on the roads, which will make it hard for people to travel from one place to another. The worst thing here is being inside a large building, like a university building, during an earthquake and becoming trapped inside. It is possible that the student will not survive the situation. It is also possible that it will take days for rescuers to find the person because of the severity of the earthquake. Fires can also pose a threat to students.

If a building they are in is on fire, they might die from suffocation or they might die from being burned. Like earthquakes, fires can trap people inside facilities and it might be too late by the time firefighters arrive to rescue them. Although fires can be detected as early as the time it starts, there are many people who dismiss the likelihood that fires are going to occur because they feel that the building or their homes are safe. This belief only increases their chances of not surviving such situations. Loss of electricity for a few short hours is not something that students should be worried about.

However, if this involves a longer duration like days or weeks, students might not be able to go to school and their academic learning will be interrupted. They may also not have the right resources to obtain basic necessities such as food, water, and heat. Planning is important for one to survive such disasters. Ready America recommends that everyone obtain a basic emergency supply kit, which contains one gallon of water for each person that can last at least three days, non-perishable food for three days, radio, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, dust mask, moist towelettes, and maps (Ready America, n.

d. ). If an earthquake happens, especially while inside the campus, it is better that students know the emergency exits of the buildings. This will make it easier for students to exit at the nearest door if they can. Students should also always make sure to leave their communication lines open and to have enough batteries in their cellphones in case they are trapped inside a building and need to get help from the outside. Earthquakes usually have aftershocks and not many people know this.

Being prepared will allow a person to know what to do like stay away from tall buildings if the person is outside or to remain under stable furniture if they are inside buildings or houses. People can also escape from fires by being prepared beforehand. It is always recommended that people memorize routes, especially if they are not at home where they are familiar with the surroundings. It is important to remember to stay low and near the floor where the air is more breathable than the air above. People should also avoid smoking and using flammable substances where it is not advisable and appropriate.

If the students are living inside a dormitory, they should make sure to have electrical wirings checked by the appropriate staff so that accidents do not happen. Knowing where to find fire extinguishers and emergency exits are also helpful. To prepare for power outages, students need to buy flashlights and batteries. It is also advisable to keep cash and change on hand since power failures affect ATMs (The City of Norfolk, n. d. ). It is also advisable for people to keep a fully charged mobile phone or a phone that does not require electricity to make a call.

Students should also have a plan with their families for reunion if in case they are not together during the time. Security is also important so students should make sure to check for suspicious people and unfamiliar faces who may take advantage of the situation. Being prepared requires not only these things but also having the right attitude. This will require students to become alert at all times and not panic because this will only make the situation worse. It is also suggested that the university hold regular symposiums regarding emergency preparedness for its students. Emergency drills should be done regularly.

The university should hand out disaster plans that will detail the emergency exits of each building.

References Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2006, April 6). Fire. Retrieved May 6, 2009, from http://www. fema. gov/hazard/fire/index. shtm Ready America. (2009, March 9). Earthquakes. Retrieved May 6, 2009, from http://www. ready. gov/america/beinformed/earthquakes. html Ready America. (n. d. ). Get A Kit. Retrieved May 6, 2009, from http://www. ready. gov/america/getakit/index. html The City of Norfolk. (n. d. ). Preparing for power outages. Retrieved May 6, 2009, from http://www. norfolk. gov/Emergency/power_outages. asp

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