Talking About Disaster: A Guide for Standard Messages
Table of Contents
Introduction and Purpose
What Is in This Guide
Using This Guide
Hazard Messages
Chemical Emergencies
Fires, Residential
Fires, Wildland
Floods and Flash Floods
Hazardous Materials Incidents
Heat (Heat Wave)
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
Nuclear Power Plant Incidents
Thunderstorms, Severe
Winter Storms
Special Populations Messages
Talking to Children About Disasters
Preparedness Action Messages
Family Disaster Plan
Disaster Supplies Kit
Emergency Supplies for your Vehicle
First Aid Kit Contents
First Aid Kit for Pets
Stocking and Storing Food and Water
Smoke Alarms
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Fire Extinguishers
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)
Home Fire Sprinkler Systems
Portable Generators
Evacuation, Sheltering, and Post-Disaster Safety Messages
Evacuation, Sheltering, and Post-Disaster Safety
What to do if Evacuation is Necessary Because of a Storm
What to do When There is Flooding
“Wind Safe” Room
How to Shelter-in-Place (Chemical Incidents)
Factors for Protection from Radioactive Fallout
Food and Water Safety During/Post Disaster
Emergency Sanitation
How to Recognize and Treat Heat Emergencies
Frostbite and Hypothermia
Heat Emergencies

How to Recognize and Treat Heat Emergencies
Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are conditions caused by overexposure to heat. Heat cramps are the least severe but, if not cared for, may be followed by heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are heat-related illnesses. Generally, illnesses caused by overexposure to extreme temperatures are preventable. To prevent heat emergencies from happening to you or anyone you know, follow these guidelines:

Avoid being outdoors in the hottest part of the day.
Change your activity level according to the temperature.
Take frequent breaks.
Dress appropriately for the environment.
Drink large amounts of fluids before, during, and after activity. The easiest way to prevent illness caused by temperature extremes is to avoid being outside during the part of the day when temperatures are most extreme.

The signals of heatstroke include—
hot, red skin which can be dry, or moist from exercise; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing, vomiting.
A person experiencing heatstroke can have a very high body temperature—sometimes as high as 106°F (41° C).

What to do for heat stroke—
Heatstroke is a life-threatening situation. If you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately:

1. Move the person to a cool place.
2. Loosen tight clothing.
3. Remove perspiration-soaked clothing.
4. Apply cool, wet cloths to the skin.
5. Fan the person.
6. If conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink.
7. Place the person on his or her side.
8. Continue to cool the person by using ice or cold packs on the wrists, ankles, groin, and neck and in the armpits.
9. Continue to check breathing and circulation.

Do not give liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine because they can cause further dehydration, making conditions worse. Ensure 9-1-1 or the local emergency number is called if the person refuses water, vomits or starts to lose consciousness.

Heat Exhaustion
The signals of heat exhaustion include—

cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; 

heavy sweating; 

headache; nausea, dizziness, and exhaustion; 

normal or below normal body temperature.

What to do for heat exhaustion—If you suspect someone is suffering from heat exhaustion;

1. Move the person to a cooler place;
2. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths, such as towels or sheets soaked in water.
3. If the person is conscious, give him or her cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.
4. Let the person rest in a comfortable position; and
5. Watch carefully for changes in his or her condition.

Do not give liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine because they can cause further dehydration, making conditions worse.

Heat Cramps
Heat cramps are muscle spasms that are caused by excessive sweating that results in a deficiency of salt. Although not as serious as heat exhaustion or heatstroke, heat cramps sometimes precede them. If someone is suffering from heat cramps, move the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch and gently massage the affected muscle and replenish fluids. Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.

Do not give liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine because they can cause further dehydration, making conditions worse.

Initial development of this guide was made possible by a grant from the Home Safety Council, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping prevent the nearly 21 million medical visits
that occur on average each year from unintentional injuries in the home. Through national programs and partners across America, the Home Safety Council works to educate and empower families to take actions that help keep them safe in and around their homes. This guide is the product of the hard work and collaboration of many professionals affiliated with the organizations partnering with the American Red Cross, which represents the expertise and commitment of the following organizations:

American Geological InstituteDisability Preparedness CenterHome Safety CouncilThe Humane Society of the United StatesInstitute for Business & Home SafetyInternational Association of Emergency ManagersNational Fire Protection AssociationNational Interagency Fire CouncilNational SafeKids CampaignNational Science FoundationU.S. Consumer Product Safety CommissionU.S. Department of Agriculture -Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service -Extension Disaster Education Network -Food Safety and Inspection ServiceU.S. Department of Commerce - NOAA/National Weather ServiceU.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Food and Drug AdministrationU.S. Department of Homeland Security -Federal Emergency Management Agency -U.S. Fire AdministrationU.S. Department of Interior - U.S. Geological Survey
From: Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages. Washington, D.C., 2007.

Html Copyright The Disaster Center 2012

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