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Disaster Recovery

    Post-Disaster Hazards

    Potential post-disaster hazards follows to assist management with planning the return to site and subsequent movement inside buildings.

    Loss of utilities and breaks in pipes and lines (breaks may not be apparent until service is restored)

    • Telephone service: prevents 911 calls
    • Water pressure: loss deactivates toilets, sprinkler systems and hydrants; broken pipes can lead to flooded rooms and interference with electrical/electronic systems.
    • Electrical power: loss deactivates fire alarm systems, emergency lights, and regular lighting. A line break can electrify an area when power is first restored.
    • Natural gas supply: broken lines can lead to fires, explosions, and ODH.

    Damaged structures

    • Suspect buildings and structures must be approached with caution.
    • Inspectors must wear protective clothing, such as hard hats, safety shoes, safety glasses, and gloves.

    Chemical spills

    • Spills can present a health, property, or environmental hazard and any combination thereof.
    • Spills of flammable or combustible materials increase the risk of fire.
    • Containing and cleaning up spills of hazardous materials must be done by trained staff.

    Natural Hazards

    • Trees and tree limbs may be one gust-of-wind away from falling. Keep out of forested areas until Plant Engineering approves access.
    • Disasters in other places have resulted in loose, disoriented, and hungry pets, farm animals, and exotic/zoo animals. The SPCA shelter on J. Clyde Morris is home to several large members of the cat family.

    Safety Hazard

    • Safety hazards are possible in every work area. Trip and fall hazards, no lights, and electrical hazards are most probable.
    • Caution and protective clothing are common mitigating measures.
    • Staff making initial entries into buildings should proceed with great caution.

    Traffic Hazards

    • A major lesson learned from wind storms is to expect roads to be strewn with debris. Rescue vehicles will be either blocked from reaching the injured or their tires will be punctured. Street sweeping is an early priority.

    Health Hazards

    • There may be spoiled food in the cafeteria freezers, chill box, and pantry. Also, vending machine food may be spoiled or contaminated.
    • There may be sewage backup through floor drains, sinks, and toilets. Sewage-line breaks may create pools of raw sewage on the ground.
    • Standing water may breed a host of insects. Animal carcasses provide food for rodents and other pests, and rubble provides shelter.

    Security Hazards

    • Fencing may be down due to falling trees or shifting ground.
    • There may be looting and vandalism.
    • Sensitive records and objects may be out of place, exposed, or lost.
    • Access control devices may be out of service.

    contact Tina Menefee or Tina Johnson
    maintained by
    updated February 28, 2003