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Natural Disasters


Always call 911 if you are in immediate danger and need emergency help.

Prepare for a tsunami

A tsunami can strike suddenly, violently and without warning. Once a warning is issued there may be little time to prepare other than getting to a safe location.

Tsunami Preparedness, from NOAA

For water and wastewater facilities:

Suggested activities to help facilities prepare. Please note, the linked information is written for hurricane preparedness but much of it can be adapted for any disaster planning.

Planning for disaster debris:

Damage from a tsunami depends on the size, extent, and other factors. Damage debris can include destroyed structures, hazardous waste, green waste, or personal property. More information

Chemical or fertilizer storage:

Properly designed or modified storage facilities enhance worker safety and minimize the risk contamination.

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Other sites related to recovery

Recover after a tsunami

Expect more waves. Stay away from spills and damaged facilities. Clean up spilled medicines, cleaners and solvents, gasoline or other fuels, or other potentially hazardous substances. More on tsunami preparation from FEMA

People get sick or die each year from carbon monoxide or "CO" poisoning due to unsafe use of generators.

Indoor air:

Broken gas lines greatly increase the risk of fire, explosion, or poor air quality. If you smell gas, open windows and shut off the main gas line. Notify the utility or other authorities.

Drinking water and food:

For water and wastewater facilities:

Suggested activities to help facilities recover Please note, the linked information is written for hurricane recovery but much of it will still apply to any recovery activities.


Flooding and mold:

Pesticides, chemical and oil spills, hazardous waste:

  • Call the National Response Center 1-800-424-8802 (24 hours a day every day). For those without 800 access, please call 202-267-2675.
  • Industries and businesses that encounter spills or discharges in the aftermath should contact the National Response Center immediately. You or your organization may have legal requirements for reporting or for taking other actions, depending on the spill.
  • National Pesticide Information Center: 1-800-858-7378. Pesticide contacts
  • General information about environmental emergencies

What to do with disaster debris:

How a community manages massive amounts of disaster debris depends on the debris and any waste management options available. Burying or burning may not be acceptable unless permission or a waiver has been granted, because of the side effects of smoke and fire from burning, and potential water and soil contamination. Typical methods of recycling and solid waste disposal in sanitary landfills often cannot be applied to disaster debris because of the large volume of waste and reluctance to overburden existing disposal capacity. More information on disaster debris.

Demolition, Renovation and Cleanup

Natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes or floods often result in the need for emergency renovations to damaged homes and other structures. When common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition occur in structures that contain lead-based paint, they can release lead-based paint hazards, including lead-contaminated dust. Lead-based paint dust and debris are hazardous to everyone - adults, particularly pregnant women, and children.

Asbestos is still found in many residential and commercial buildings. During demolitoin or renovation, workers must understand the risks and know how to handle asbestos-containing materials safely. Exposure to asbestos dust can cause serious diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.

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