As the summer months slowly fade away and we head into fall (and gasp, winter!), our thoughts and actions steer toward the start of school and even the upcoming holidays. But in fact, the fall season is actually a time when hurricanes, thunderstorms, wildfires, and other natural disasters make their impressive mark and affect the way we live our daily lives. If you've seen the news lately, you know that the east coast is currently bracing for Hurricane Florence, and expected to make landfall this week. Did you know that while hurricane season begins May 15 and ends Nov. 30, according to the National Weather Service, most of these storms peak in October? You don’t have to look too far back to remember Superstorm Sandy that hit the east coast in October 2012 to understand how powerful these storms can be.
And it’s not just hurricanes that make the news: Southern California begins experiencing troublesome Santa Ana winds in October, which have been known to increase the intensity of an existing wildfire or turn a small brush fire into an a blaze, and the Plains and Great Lake regions often start their battle with freezing conditions and snow.
According to the Weather Channel, other memorable storms that have battered the U.S. in October include:
- October 2013: Winter Storm Atlas hammered the High Plains with blizzard conditions
- October 2011: The "Snowtober" storm knocked out power to over 3 million in the Northeast.
- October 2010: The "Octobomb" storm set all-time low pressure records in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and spawned severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Ohio Valley and Mid-South.
- October 2006: Heavy lake-effect snow damages many trees, knocks out power to one million customers in Buffalo, New York.
With National Preparedness Month upon is, it’s incumbent upon all of us who are tasked with protecting people and property from fire, electrical and related hazards to work with each other and with our communities before emergencies affect our areas. Being better prepared for and collaborating during and after an emergency is key to also getting operations back to normal as quickly as possible.
NFPA provides a wealth of information for professionals including building owners and facility managers, first responders, health care facility managers, electrical professionals, and more. The following is a sneak peak of what's available on our website:
- Need answers to your bigger emergency planning challenges and questions? Download for free NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity/Continuity of Operations Programs, a vital guide for the development, implementation, assessment, and maintenance of disaster/emergency management and continuity of operations programs.
- As a business owner, you’ll want to check out our Emergency Preparedness Checklist, which helps you identify where to focus your emergency preparedness efforts.
- A new fact sheet and related information provides wildfire risk reduction steps to help homeowners and business owners keep houses and businesses safer.
- First responders face many hazards when working with vehicles that have been submerged in water, particularly with hybrid or electrical vehicles. Our newest Submerged Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Bulletin breaks down the safety issues to help keep first responders safe.
- Electrical professionals are often tasked with equipment maintenance for electrical, electronic and communication systems and equipment found in multi-family residential complexes, industrial plants, and commercial buildings to prevent equipment failures and worker injuries. Chapter 32 of NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, provides a useful framework for recovering electrical equipment and systems after a disaster.
These are just a few of the great resources NFPA provides to help guide you in your emergency preparedness efforts. With so much “weather” happening across the country these days, don’t wait until it’s too late to take advantage of this great material. Let us know how we can help.
For these and other sources of information including related blog posts and articles, visit www.nfpa.org/disaster.