We read about the rescue operations undertaken upon an occurrence of a calamity. The images in the newspaper show safety boats carrying people from the affected areas to the community centres where they are provided with relief and shelter. These relief operations are arranged by the government or non-profit organizations under the disaster management department. Apart from these relief operations the department of disaster management also plays some rules and safety measures to prevent the losses during these calamities. In this article, we will discuss the safety measures undertaken during a cyclone and the role of technology in spreading awareness and warning.
Local councils and building control authorities lay standards for the structure of buildings that can sustain damage during a cyclone. These standards are taken care of while constructing buildings in cyclone-prone areas.
- Community warning service such as loudspeakers, conches, drums or any traditional warning system is used to telecast the weather forecast. Cyclone shelters and safe houses are constructed for providing shelter to inhabitants of the affected areas. As a safety measure, an emergency kit containing a portable radio, torch, spare batteries, stock of dry food, matches, fuel lamps, portable stove, cooking utensils, waterproof bags, first aid kit, a plastic rope etc are kept handy.
- As a part of safety measures, the roofs, walls and window sills of houses near the cyclone-prone areas are regularly checked for cracks. And these are covered with bamboo, net or plastic for reinforcement. The loose materials that can blow and cause damage during extreme winds are cleared off. A list of emergency addresses and phone numbers along with the contact of government offices and agencies responsible for search rescue and relief operations in the area are kept on display.
- When the cyclone strikes, all the electrical appliances are disconnected and the gas supply is turned off. If the building starts to crumble, mattresses rugs or strong table or bench is used as a covering. When caught in a storm, one has to take shelter under a metallic frame such as bus, car etc.
- After the cyclone is over, we refrain from going out in the open until it is officially advised. The gas line is checked for any leakage and the electrical lines are checked for moisture. A stick or bamboo is advised to be carried to bar off snakes and insects in the affected areas. The fallen power lines and damaged bridges, buildings and trees are avoided and measures to repair them are undertaken immediately.
Role of Technology
Weather radar installed along the coastal belt provides an estimate of rainfall and wind speed for a region along with the possible locations of tornadoes and centre location of the cyclones. A cyclone alert or a cyclone watch is issued hours before the calamity.
Satellites are used to look up for tropical cyclones. Some techniques are used to determine the strength of cyclones and the maximum sustained winds. The data is used effectively for mapping and monitoring flood inundation, flood damage assessment, past flood survey and flood hazard zoning.
The Internet provides a useful platform for disaster mitigation communication. It provides an option for rapid, automatic and global transmission of information.
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