Forest Fires | Natural Risk

Forest fires and wildfires are very common in many places around the world. Forested areas are particularly susceptible to wildfires, especially where climates are sufficiently moist to allow the growth of trees but feature extended dry or hot periods. Forest fires are particularly prevalent in the summer and fall, as well as during droughts when fallen branches, leaves, and other material can dry out and become highly flammable. Wildfires are also common in grasslands and scrublands and are most severe on days with strong winds, which help increase the tempo and intensity of fires. Forest fires present significant risks to urban areas bordering forested or grassland areas, as well as facilities and travelers caught in the fire's path. Forest fires fall into three basic categories:
1.  Add a note hereWildfire.: An unplanned and unwanted fire, including unauthorized humancaused fires, escaped wild land fire use events, escaped prescribed fire projects, and all other wild land fires.
2.  Add a note hereWild Land Fire Use.: The application of the appropriate management response to naturally ignited wild land fires to accomplish specific resource management objectives in predefined designated areas.
3.  Add a note herePrescribed Fire.: Any fire ignited by management actions to meet specific objectives.
Add a note hereThe common causes for such fires include human carelessness, arson, volcanoes, heat waves, drought, lightning, and industrial accidents. The effects can be devastating and can quickly overwhelm emergency responders attempting to extinguish the fires. The propagation of a fire has three mechanisms that managers should be aware of (if operating within regions susceptible to forest fires):
1.  Add a note hereCrawling Fire.: A fire that spreads via lowlevel vegetation (e.g., bushes, grass, and scrub).
2.  Add a note hereCrown Fire.: A fire that spreads across the top branches of trees. Crown fires can spread at an incredible pace through the top of a forest. They can be extremely dangerous to all inhabitants underneath, as they may spread too fast to be outrun, particularly on windy days.
3.  Add a note hereJumping Fire.: A fire that produces burning branches and leaves that are carried by the wind to start distant fires. A jumping fire can be carried over roads, rivers, or even firebreaks.
Add a note hereThe IMP should be designed to support companies whose facilities or work sites operate within regions that suffer from forest fires. Prior to a forest fire event, companies should undertake the following measures as part of their contingency planning phase:
§  Add a note hereConsult with your local fire department regarding the measures required to make the facility more fire resistant.
§  Add a note hereCheck for and remove fire hazards in and around the facility, such as driedout branches, leaves, and debris.
§  Add a note hereDevelop fire response plans and rehearse these with personnel and local authorities.
§  Add a note hereLearn fire safety techniques and teach them to employees.
§  Add a note hereMake sure every floor and all working areas have smoke detectors.
Add a note hereDuring a forest fire event, the local or incident response manager should undertake the following simple activities to increase the protection of personnel and facilities:
§  Add a note hereMonitor local radio stations in order to understand where the fire is located, and which areas are affected by the downwind effects—in terms of smoke hazards as well as the direction in which the fire is moving.
§  Add a note herePrepare personnel to evacuate along prescribed escape routes once the location and direction of travel are known.
§  Add a note hereRemove all outdoor furniture, tarps, and other combustible material from the facility exterior; these present a flammable hazard for jumping fire threats.
§  Add a note hereClose all doors in the facility; shut off gas valves and pilot lights; and remove flammable drapes, curtains, awnings, and other window coverings.
§  Add a note hereKeep lights on to aid visibility in case smoke fills the facility.
§  Add a note hereIf sufficient water is available, turn sprinklers on to wet the roof and any waterproof valuables to reduce the risks of ignition.
§  Add a note hereLimit the time spent outdoors until conditions improve to avoid breathing in harmful smoke.
§  Add a note hereTurn off air exchange units that bring air in from the outside if they are worsening indoor air quality.
Add a note hereThe IMP is designed to protect facilities from being susceptible to fire hazards during a forest fire crisis, as well as help determine the point at which personnel evacuate if the fire comes into immediate proximity of the facility. The guidance and instructions provided by government authorities should be followed at all times; however, companies can increase the levels of awareness and response to their employees during such events by developing simple and sensible response measures and protocols.

Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Volcanoes | Natural Risk

Hurricanes and Tornadoes
Add a note hereA hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a lowpressure system that generally forms in the tropics. It is an intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a welldefined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (119 km/h) or greater. Sustained winds are defined as a oneminute average wind speed measured at about 33 feet above the surface. Hurricanes are categorized according to the strength of their winds. A category 1 hurricane has the lowest wind speeds, while a category 5 hurricane has the strongest. These are relative terms, though, because lowercategory storms can sometimes inflict greater damage than highercategory storms, depending on where they strike and the particular hazards they create. Tropical storms can also produce significant damage and loss of life, typically due to flooding.
Add a note hereA tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both a cloud base and the surface on the earth. Tornadoes come in many sizes, but are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris. Most tornadoes have wind speeds of about 110 miles per hour, are approximately 250 feet (75 m) across, and travel a few miles before dissipating. Some attain wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour (480 km/h), stretch more than a mile (1.6 km) across, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (more than 100 km).
Add a note hereThe IMP is designed to provide immediate response measures for company facilities and personnel to reduce the risks and impacts presented by hurricanes and tornadoes. Facilities located in areas with a history of severe weather conditions may install permanent storm shutters to offer protection for windows. Alternatively, boarding up windows offers an emergency solution. Surrounding trees and shrubs should be well trimmed to prevent debris from damaging the property or personnel, and loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts should be cleared. The company may designate a safe room and stock such a facility with a disaster supply kit—water, nonperishable food, medications, and lighting.
Add a note hereDuring a hurricane or tornado, personnel should avoid windows, skylights, and glass doors, as debris and strong winds may shatter such structures. Personnel should move to a safe area, such as an interior office, a closet, or a bathroom on the lower level of the facility. In case of flooding, electricity should be turned off at the main circuit breaker. If the facility loses power, major appliances should be turned off, such as the air conditioner and water heaters, to reduce damage. Personnel should not leave a safe location when in the eye of a hurricane, but must wait until the storm has passed over, since there will be a short period of calm, followed by a rapid increase in wind speed from the opposite direction.
Add a note hereFollowing a hurricane or tornado, personnel should remain indoors until official notifications have been issued indicating that it is safe to leave the property. Personnel should be advised not to touch fallen or lowhanging wires and to stay away from puddles with wires in or near them. Many of the same conditions resulting from floods or earthquakes will be prevalent, with weakened structures, contaminated water, and a loss of social infrastructures. The IMP should provide guidelines to local managers and incident response groups so that they can prepare for pending hurricane and tornado events, limit the danger to personnel and facilities during the crisis, and recover safely once the storm has passed to safe areas or emergency muster points designated by government authorities.

Add a note hereVolcanoes
Add a note hereA volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock below the surface of the earth. When pressure from gases within the molten rock becomes too great, an eruption occurs. Eruptions can be either quiet or explosive; there may be lava flows, flattened landscapes, poisonous gases, and flying rock and ash. Because of their intense heat, lava flows create significant fire hazards and can destroy all structures in their paths. Typically, lava flows are slow moving, and personnel can move out of their way. Ash flows can occur on all sides of a volcano, and ash debris can fall hundreds of miles downwind of the volcano. Dangerous mudflows and floods can occur in valleys leading away from volcanoes, striking with little warning. Typically, mature crisis management plans are in place for projects operating within the shadow of a volcano. The IMP plays an important role in the first actions taken during an eruption, enabling personnel to deal with the common risks that accompany volcanic eruptions, including:
§  Add a note hereEarthquakes and tsunamis
§  Add a note hereMudflows and flash floods
§  Add a note hereLandslides and rockfalls
§  Add a note hereAshfall and acid rain
Add a note hereDuring a volcanic eruption, personnel should try to leave the affected area using an established evacuation plan (if advised by authorities), avoiding downwind areas and river valleys downstream of the volcano. If caught indoors, personnel should close all windows, doors, and dampers; put all machinery inside a garage or barn; and bring all animals and livestock into closed shelters. If personnel are outdoors, they should seek shelter indoors as quickly as possible. If subjected to ashfall, personnel should seek protection by wearing longsleeved shirts and long pants, goggles to protect vision, and a damp cloth to assist with breathing.
Add a note hereFollowing a volcanic eruption, personnel should stay out of an affected area, as the effects of a volcanic eruption can be experienced many miles from the main event, including mudflows, flash flooding, forest fires, and hightemperature ash flows. When safe to do so, roofs should be cleared of ash, as it can result in structural collapse. The IMP should be designed to provide guidance if a volcanic eruption is imminent so as to enable managers to make the determination whether to evacuate or to remain in place, and help them reduce the possible risks associated with falling debris and other associated hazards. The employment of mature crisis response plans should quickly follow a volcanic eruption.

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