Hazards

All Hazards Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Guide

Bio-Terrorism

Bio-Terrorism — or the deliberate attack by an individual or group using a biological agent such as a bacteria, viruses, or toxins — is a threat the San Juan Public Health Department prepares to address.

The CDC has listed the following agents as Category A agents meaning they pose the greatest potential public health threat: anthrax, botulism, plague, smallpox, tularemia and viral hemorrhagic fevers.

While Utah is not considered a prime target for most terrorist activities, some venues would qualify as “soft-targets” … meaning large groups of people gather making for easy dispersal of an agent. Some of these soft targets might include sporting events, large business or conferences, or even university campuses.

A biological attack may not be immediately obvious. Patterns of unusual illnesses or a surge of sick people seeking medical treatment may be the first sign of an attack. If you believe there has been a suspicious release of biological substances:

  • Quickly get away from the area.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with layers of t-shirts or towel.
  • Wash with soap and water.
  • Contact local law enforcement or health authorities.

The most important thing to remember is to follow instructions from local officials. San Juan Public Health Department would utilize mass media, Reverse 9-1-1, and other communications methods to contact individuals believed to be affected, and to initiate appropriate containment and treatment procedures.

Earthquakes

Before an Earthquake

∙ Secure water heater, storage shelves, heavy mirrors, shelves, etc. to walls.
∙ Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
∙ Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves.
∙ Have earthquake drills – identify safe spots in each room
∙ Have an out‐of‐state contact person available to phone.
∙ Develop a plan for reuniting your family after an earthquake.
∙ Review your insurance policies.
∙ Keep a good pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed.
∙ Prepare to survive on your own for at least three days. See “Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit for more information.

During an Earthquake

∙ Stay calm.
∙ If inside,  find protection in a doorway or crouch under a desk or table away from windows, glass brick walls and ∙ If outside, stand away from buildings, trees, telephone and electric lines.
∙ If driving on the road, drive away from under‐passes/over‐passes; stop in a safe area, stay in your vehicle.
∙ If in an office building, stay next to a pillar or column, or under a heavy table or desk.
∙ Stay where you are until the shaking has stopped and you are sure it is safe to move.

After an Earthquake

∙ Check for injuries. Provide for first aid.
∙ Check for fires; gas, water, sewage breaks; downed electric lines; building damage and potential problems after shocks, such as cracks around fireplace and foundation. Turn off interrupted utilities as necessary.
∙ Clean up dangerous spills.
∙ Wear shoes and leather gloves.
∙ Tune radio to an emergency station and listen for instructions from public safety agencies.
∙ Use the telephone, only for emergencies.
∙ As soon as possible, notify family that you are safe.
∙ Do not use matches or open flames until you are sure there are no gas leaks.
∙ Don’t turn light switch off and on. Sparks created by the switch can ignite gas fumes. ∙ In public buildings, follow evacuation procedures immediately and return only after the building has been declared safe by the appropriate authorities.

Explosions

If there is an explosion:

Take shelter against your desk or a sturdy table.

 ∙ Exit the building as soon as possible.

 ∙ Do not use elevators.

 ∙ Check for fire and other hazards.

 ∙ Take your emergency supply kit if time allows.


If there is a fire:

 ∙ Exit the building as soon as possible.

 ∙ Crawl low if there is smoke.

 ∙ Use a wet cloth, if possible, to cover your nose and mouth.

 ∙ Use the back of your hand to feel the upper, lower, and middle parts of closed doors.

 ∙ If the door is not hot, brace yourself against it and open slowly.

 ∙ If the door is hot, do not open it. Look for another way out.

 ∙ Do not use elevators.

 ∙ If you catch fire, do not run. Stop, drop and roll to put out the fire.

 ∙ If you are at home, go to a previously designated meeting place.

 ∙ Account for your family members and carefully supervise small children.

 ∙ Never go back into a burning building.

 

 If you are trapped in debris:

 ∙ If possible, use a flashlight to signal your location to rescuers.

 ∙ Avoid unnecessary movement so that you do not kick up dust.

 ∙ Cover your nose and mouth with anything you have on hand. (Dense‐weave cotton material can act as a good filter. Try to breathe through the material.) ∙ Tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are.

 ∙ If possible, use a whistle to signal rescuers.

 ∙ Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause a person to inhale dangerous amount of dust.

Fires

Before a Fire

 ∙ Make sure home is free of unnecessary combustible materials.

 ∙ Do not store flammable liquids inside the home.

 ∙ Do not run wires under carpets or rugs.

 ∙ Do not store matches or cigarette lighters where children can get them.

 ∙ Do not leave cooking unattended.

∙ If you smoke, do not smoke in bed or in other positions where you may fall asleep. Also, have many large ashtrays in the home.

∙ Know avenues of escape. Always have two ways out of every room.

 ∙ Have a place to meet so no one tries to go back into a burning building to look for someone needlessly.

∙ Have fire extinguishers near the kitchen and the garage.

 ∙ Have escape ladders for all windows higher than eight feet off the ground.

∙ Install a smoke detector in every bedroom, in every hallway outside of a bedroom, and at least one on every level of the house. Test the smoke detectors monthly.  Change the batteries in the smoke detectors in the fall when you change your clocks.

∙ Plan and practice a family fire drill on the first of each month. A good plan will have a place to meet, two ways out of every room and escape ladders.

During a Fire

∙ If you are outside, stay outside. Do not return for anything. Do not re‐enter the building until appropriate authorities have given permission.

∙ If you are inside, get out. Go to the nearest house or building and call 911. Report the address and type of fire. Listen to and follow instructions. Go to the family meeting place.

∙ If you are inside and have time, make sure everyone is out.

∙ If you are in a closed room or office, do not open the door without first feeling it or the door knob. If it is warm or hot, do not open it, but unlock it to help rescue or fire personnel.

∙ If there is smoke, get under the smoke, no matter how low it is, and get out of the building.

∙ If you cannot use the door or other means of escape to exit and there is smoke, use clothes, sheets, etc. to stop the smoke from coming in. Go to the window and yell or blow a whistle.

∙ If you see someone on fire, use a coat or blanket, but not your bare hands, to smother the flames∙ Watch to see that nobody goes back inside to rescue anything or anyone.

∙ If possible, turn off the gas and electricity from outside the house.

 ∙ In a public building, know two ways out. If you hear a fire alarm, immediately exit the building regardless of what you are doing. Follow the established evacuation instructions.

Wildland Fires

Before a Wildfire

To prepare for wildfires, you should:

 ∙ Mark the entrance to your property with address signs that are clearly visible from the road.

 ∙ Keep lawns trimmed, leaves raked, and the roof and rain gutters free from debris such as dead limbs and leaves. ∙ Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your residence.

∙ Store flammable materials, liquids, and solvents in metal containers outside your residence at least 30 feet away from structures and wooden fences.

 ∙ Create defensible space by thinning trees and brush within 30 feet around your residence. Beyond 30 feet, remove dead wood, debris, and low tree branches.

 ∙ Landscape your property with fire resistant plants and vegetation to prevent fire from spreading quickly. For example, hardwood trees are more fire resistant than pine, evergreen eucalyptus, or fir trees.

 ∙ Make sure water sources, such as hydrants, ponds, swimming pools and wells, are accessible to the fire department.

∙ Use fire resistant, protective roofing and materials like stone, brick, and metal to protect your residence. Avoid using wood materials. They offer the least fire protection.

 ∙ Have chimneys, wood stoves, and all home heating systems inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.

  ∙ Insulate chimneys and place spark arresters on top. The chimney should be at least three feet above the roof. ∙ Remove branches hanging above and around the chimney.

Follow Local Burning Laws

Before burning debris in a wooded area:

 • Make sure you notify local authorities and obtain a burning permit.

 • Use an approved incinerator with a safety lid or covering with holes no larger than ¾ inch.

 • Create at least a 10‐foot clearing around the incinerator before burning debris.

 • Have a fire extinguisher or garden hose on hand when burning debris.

If a wildfire threatens your home and time permits, take the following precautions:

∙ Shut off gas at the meter. Only a qualified professional can safely turn the gas back on.

 ∙ Seal attic and ground vents with pre‐cut plywood or commercial seals.

 ∙ Turn off propane tanks. ∙ Place combustible patio furniture inside.

 ∙ Connect garden hose to outside taps. Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above‐ground fuel tanks.

 ∙ Wet the roof.

 ∙ Wet or remove shrubs within 15 feet of your residence.

Flooding

Before a Flood

 ∙ Know the elevation of your property in relation to flood plains, streams and other waterways. Determine if your property may be flooded.

 ∙ Plan what to do and where to go in case of a flood.

 ∙ Prepare a Family Emergency Supplies Kit – 72 Hour Kit.

 ∙ Fill your car with gas in case you have to evacuate.

 ∙ Move furniture and essential items to higher elevation, if time permits.

 ∙ Have a portable radio and flashlights with extra batteries.

 ∙ Open basement windows to equalize water pressure on foundations and walls.

 ∙ Secure your home.

 ∙ Consider flood and earthquake insurance.

Evacuation

∙ Listen to local radio or TV for weather information.

 ∙ If asked to evacuate, shut off main power switch, main gas valve and water valve. Follow local evacuation plan and routes.

 ∙ Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road; it may be washed out. While on the road, watch for possible flooding of bridges, dips and low areas.

 ∙ Drive slowly in water; use low gear.

 ∙ Abandon your vehicle immediately if it stalls and seek higher ground.

 ∙ Do not attempt to cross a stream on foot where water is above your knees.

∙ Register at your designated evacuation center and remain there until informed you may leave.

After a Flood

∙ Remain away from evacuated area until public health officials and building inspector have given approval.

 ∙ Check for structural damage before entering.

 ∙ Make sure electricity is off; watch for electrical wires.

 ∙ Do not use open flame as a light source because of the possibility of escaping gas. Use flashlights. Beware of dangerous sparks.

 ∙ Do not use food contaminated by flood water.

 ∙ Test drinking water for suitability with test kits.

∙ Avoid walking in flood water. Do not let children play in flood water.

Gas Leaks

Emergency Control of Gas

 ∙ Check house piping, appliances, and vents for damage.

 ∙ Check for fires or fire hazards.

∙ Do not use matches, lighters or other open flames.

 ∙ Do not operate electrical switches, appliances or battery‐ operated devices if you suspect natural gas leaks. This could create sparks that could ignite gas from broken lines.

 ∙ If gas line breakage is suspected, shut off the gas at the meter.

 ∙ Wear heavy shoes in all areas near broken glass or debris. Keep your head and face protected from falling debris.

 ∙ Turn on a battery‐operated radio if no gas leaks are found or a car radio to receive disaster instructions.

 ∙ Do not use your telephone except in extreme emergency situations.

Hazardous Materials Incident

Before an Incident

 ∙ Be prepared to evacuate. An evacuation could last for a few hours to several days.

 ∙ Be prepared to shelter‐in‐place.

During an Incident

∙ Stay away from the incident to minimize the risk of contamination.

 ∙ Remain uphill and upwind from the source of the hazardous materials.

 ∙ If asked to evacuate your home, do so immediately.

 ∙ Shelter‐in‐place if requested to stay indoors.

 ∙ Schools may institute shelter‐in‐place procedures if there is a hazardous materials incident. If so, you will probably not be able to drive to the school to pick your children. Follow the directions of your local emergency officials.

 ∙ Avoid contact with spilled liquids, air‐borne mists or condensed solid chemical deposits.

After an Incident

∙ Do not return home until you are told it is safe.

 ∙ When you get home, open windows, vents and turn on fans to ventilate your house.

 ∙ Find out from local authorities how to clean up your land and property.

 ∙ Report any lingering vapors or hazards.

Winds

Before High Winds

  ∙ Survey your property. Take note of materials stored, placed or used, which could become missiles and destroy other structures or be destroyed. Devise methods of securing these items where they will still be accessible for day‐to‐day needs.

∙ Keep tall trees properly pruned away from power lines.

 ∙ Keep radio and/or TV on and monitor for wind advisories.

. ∙ If possible, board up, tape or shutter all windows, but leave some ventilation.

 ∙ Store water in case water service is interrupted.

 ∙ Have a supply of flashlights, spare batteries, candles, first aid equipment, medicines, etc., available for use.

 ∙ Have plastic sheeting available in case roof is damaged and it begins to rain.

 ∙ Secure outdoor furniture, trash cans, tools, etc.

During High Winds

∙ Take shelter in hallways and closets, avoid windows.

 ∙ If outside, take shelter from flying debris.

After Winds Subside

∙ Inspect your home for structural and roof damage.

 ∙ Check all utilities and power lines for damage and proper operation.

 ∙ Monitor radio and TV for instructions from local leaders.

Household Chemical Emergency

Before a Household Chemical Emergency

 ∙ Buy only as much of a chemical as you think you will use.

 ∙ Keep products containing hazardous materials in their original containers and never remove the labels unless the container is corroding.

 ∙ Never store hazardous products in food containers. ∙ Never mix household hazardous chemicals or waste with other products.

Take the following precautions to prevent and respond to accidents:

 ∙ Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper use of the household chemical.

 ∙ Never smoke while using household chemicals.

 ∙ Never use hair spray, cleaning solutions, paint products, or pesticides near an open flame.

 ∙ Clean up any chemical spill immediately. Use rags to clean up the spill. Wear gloves and eye protection. Allow the fumes in the rags to evaporate outdoors, then dispose of the rags by wrapping them in a newspaper and placing them in a sealed plastic bag in your trash can.

 ∙ Dispose of hazardous materials correctly. Take household hazardous waste to a local collection program.

 ∙ Discard clothing that may have been contaminated. Some chemicals may not wash out completely.

During a household chemical emergency, be prepared to seek medical assistance:

 ∙ Call Poison Control at 1‐800‐222‐1222 and follow directions.

 If there is danger of fire or explosion:

 ∙ Get out of the residence immediately. Do not waste time collecting items or calling the fire department when you are in danger. Call the fire department from outside (a cellular phone or a neighbor’s phone) once you are safely away from danger.

 ∙ Stay upwind and away from the residence to avoid breathing toxic fumes.

 If someone has been exposed to a household chemical:

 ∙ Find any containers of the substance that are readily available in order to provide requested information. Call emergency medical services.

 ∙ Follow the emergency operator or dispatcher’s first aid instructions carefully. The first aid advice found on containers may be out of date or inappropriate. Do not give anything by mouth unless advised to do so by a medical professional.

Power Outage

Home Electrical Circuits

 ∙ Familiarize yourself with the location of the electrical breaker panel.

∙ Turn off breakers for areas of concern.

∙ If in doubt, shut off main breaker. Check your house electrical meter. If it is on your home, there may be a main disconnect breaker where the line enters the home.

 ∙ Be sure and show others in the family where the breakers are located in case of emergency.

 ∙ In case of basement flooding: Think before stepping in any water. A shock hazard may exist even in an inch of water. If the electrical panel is upstairs, shut off all circuits. If the electrical panel is in the basement, determine whether it can be reached on DRY ground. If not, shut off the main breaker.

Before a Power Outage

 ∙ Unplug all your appliances and electronic equipment. A power surge could ruin appliances when power is restored.

 ∙ Turn off all but one light switch.

 ∙ Open refrigerator door only to take food out, close as quickly as possible.

 ∙ Use camping equipment outside, six feet away from everything. Use only a fireplace, properly installed wood stove or a new‐style kerosene heater in a safe area with fresh outside air coming into the area.

 ∙ Report any downed lines.

 ∙ Do not allow children to carry lanterns, candles or fuel.

After the Power Outage

 ∙ When power is restored, plug in appliances one by one, waiting a few minutes between each one. This will prevent overloading the system.

 ∙ Be patient. Energy may first be restored to police and fire departments and hospitals.

 ∙ Examine your frozen food. If it still contains ice crystals, it may be refrozen. If meat is off‐color or has an odd odor, throw it away.

Pandemic Influenza

“Pandemic Influenza” and other diseases that can easily spread from person-to-person are important concerns local health partners want to address. San Juan County Health Department is developing plans to deal with such an outbreak if one occurs. Currently, there is no influenza pandemic. However, it behooves each of us to prepare ourselves, our families, our businesses and our community to be prepared.

This website provides a resource for information, checklists for preparedness and facts to dispel rumors and myths. By working together with the community, we at the San Juan County Health Department want to be sure San Juan County and its citizens are as prepared as possible in the case of an outbreak.

Resources:

Nuclear Emergency

During a Nuclear Emergency

 ∙ If you have advanced warning, take your 72‐Hour kit and go to an approved shelter or your basement. Huddle close to the floor and as near to a wall as possible. Get under a table for protection from falling objects.

 ∙ DO NOT attempt to evacuate your shelter until advised.

 ∙ If you see a nuclear flash and feel sudden heat, take cover INSTANTLY, within one to two seconds. Drop to the ground and curl up tightly, covering as many parts of your body as possible. Go to a shelter once the heat and blast effects have cleared.

 ∙ Never look at the light of a nuclear explosion.

After a Nuclear Emergency

 ∙ Take cover in an underground shelter, basement, etc.

 ∙ Remove contaminated clothing.

 ∙ Wash yourself thoroughly with soap and water. Wash your head and nose hairs especially well.

 ∙ If source of radiation is known and travel advisable, travel in the opposite direction and go up wind from radiation.

 ∙ Remain in protective shelter for three days. Limit your exposure to contaminated areas.

 ∙ If someone needs radiation sickness treatment, keep the victim calm, give emotional support and plenty of fluids.

 ∙ Wipe food and water containers with a clean cloth to remove particles of fall out, which resemble sand or salt.

Terrorism

Preparing for Terrorism

 ∙ Wherever you are, be aware of your surroundings. The very nature of terrorism suggests there may be little or no warning.

 ∙ Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage unattended. Unusual behavior, suspicious packages and strange devices should be promptly reported to the police or security personnel.

 ∙ Do not be afraid to move or leave if you feel uncomfortable or if something does not seem right.

 ∙ Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you frequent. Notice where exits are when you enter unfamiliar buildings. Note where staircases are located.

 ∙ Assemble a disaster supply kit at home and learn first aid.

Chemical Attack

 ∙ Signs of a chemical attack would include many people sufferings from watery eyes, choking and having trouble breathing and many sick or dead birds, fish, or small animals.

If you suspect a chemical attack has occurred:

• Avoid the contaminated area. Either gets away from the area or shelter in place, using the option that minimizes your exposure to the chemical.

• Wash with soap and water immediately if you were exposed to a chemical.

• Seek medical attention.

• Notify local law enforcement or health authorities.

Biological Attack

∙ A biological attack may not be immediately obvious. Patterns of unusual illnesses or a surge of sick people seeking medical treatment may be the first sign of an attack.

If you believe there has been a suspicious release of biological substances:

• Quickly gets away from the area.

• Cover your mouth and nose with layers of T‐shirts or towel.

• Wash with soap and water.

• Contact local law enforcement or health authorities.

 The CDC has listed the following agents as Category A agents meaning they pose the greatest potential public health threat: anthrax, botulism, plague, smallpox, tularemia and viral hemorrhagic fevers.

Thunder & Lightning

Protect Yourself

 ∙ Get inside a home or large building when a storm approaches. Stay indoors and don’t venture outside unless absolutely necessary.

 ∙ Stay away from open doors, windows, fireplaces, radiators, stoves, metal pipes, sinks and appliances.

 ∙ Do not use electrical appliances.

 ∙ Use telephone for emergencies only.

During a Storm If you are outside, with no time to reach a safe building or vehicle, follow these rules:

 ∙ Do not stand under a natural lightning rod such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.

 ∙ In a forest, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.

 ∙ In open areas, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.

 ∙ Do not stand on a hilltop, in an open field, on the beach or in a boat on the water.

 ∙ Avoid isolated shed or other small structures in open areas.

 ∙ Get out of the water and off small boats.

 ∙ Get away from anything metal – tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, bicycles, and umbrellas made with metal.

 ∙ Stay away from wire fences, clothes lines, metal pipes, rails, exposed sheds or anything that is high and could conduct electricity. Some of these items could carry electricity to you from some distance away.

 ∙ When you feel an electrical charge – indicated if your hair stands on end or your skin tingles – squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees.

 ∙ Do not lie flat on the ground!

Winter Storm

Before a Storm

 ∙ Arrange for emergency heat supply in case of power failure.

 ∙ Prepare auto, battery‐powered equipment, food, heating fuel and other supplies.

 ∙ Prepare a car winter survival kit. Include the following items: blankets or sleeping bags, flares, high energy foods (candy, nuts, raisins) first aid kit, flashlights, extra clothing, knives, compass, candles and matches, maps, jumper cable, tow chain, shovel, windshield scraper, sack of san and paper and pen to leave a note in case you evacuate your car.

∙ Keep car tank about half full.

During and After the Storm

 ∙ At home – stay in your house. Use your Emergency Supplies Kit. Avoid travel.

 ∙ Dress warmly, Wear multiple layers of protective, loose‐fitting clothing, scarves, mittens and hoods. Cover your mouth and nose to protect lungs from extremely cold air.

 ∙ Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks are a major cause of death during and after winter storms. Shoveling snow or freeing stuck vehicles can be extremely hard work. Don’t overdo it!

 ∙ Beware of the chill factor if winds are present. ∙ Be prepared for isolation at home. Make sure you can survive for a week or two in case a storm isolates you and makes it impossible for you to leave. If Trapped in Your Car

 ∙ Stay in your car for visibility and warmth. Do not try and walk out. ∙ Use a candle for warmth. Run the motor for only 10 minutes each hour for heat with rear window open slightly for ventilation. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.

 ∙ Change positions frequently.

 ∙ Stay alert. Do not let all occupants of the car sleep at once.

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