Former Chief Scientist Officer

4 Types of Disasters and Emergencies by Martin Lloyd Sanders

4 Types of Disasters and Emergencies by Martin Lloyd Sanders

Disasters can occur with scant or no warning at all. Various forms of emergencies may arise depending on the extent and nature of the disaster. Human cost and damage to property as well as economic activity can be overwhelming. Martin Lloyd Sanders, as a staunch advocate for public health and safety, repeatedly reminds family, friends and the public that it’s not a question of if, but when a disaster will strike in the area where you reside.

Disasters can be either natural or man-made, and come in many different forms. In this post, Martin Lloyd Sanders, the former Director for Safety, Environmental Compliance and Emergency Management in Federal Occupational Health, provides information about 4 types of disasters and emergencies the world witnesses every year.

1. Hurricanes

According to Martin Lloyd Sanders, hurricanes are strong life-threatening storms. Known as cyclones or typhoons depending on where they occur, they’re among the most destructive natural disasters, and can bring about heavy rainfall, powerful winds, flooding, storm surges, tornadoes, and other severe hazards. Their sheer size and the vast area they usually affect are also a cause for concern. 2005’s Katrina resulted in many billions of dollars in damages.

2. Earthquakes

Earthquakes can occur at any time. They are caused by the sudden, quick shaking of the Earth’s surface due to the shifting and breaking of underground rock. While instruments have been developed to measure the intensity of earthquakes and pinpoint their epicenter, none are currently capable of predicting when exactly an earthquake will strike. There are forty-five states and territories in the US that are at extreme to moderate risk of earthquakes, says Martin Lloyd Sanders.

3. Fire

When left unchecked, fire can spread rapidly and turn into a conflagration capable of devastating property and the environment. It can also lead to great losses in human and animal life. Fire may occur due to natural causes such as lightning strikes, volcano eruptions, or sparks during hot and dry conditions, or unnatural ones such as campfires, faulty appliances, damaged electrical cords, cigarettes dropped on floors, or even arson. The thick smoke produced by a fire disaster can also become a respiratory hazard.

4. Hazardous materials

Hazardous materials can lead to some of the most damaging man-made disasters. One example is the chemical spill. Chemical agents such as liquids and aerosols are beneficial to mankind in many ways. When mishandled, however, they can be toxic to living organisms, causing respiratory problems, nausea, eye irritation, and the like. Other hazards include radioactive materials, combustible and flammable substances, and poisons. According to Martin Lloyd Sanders, accidents due to hazardous materials can happen at home, at the workplace, or in the community.

There are other natural and man-made disasters that Martin Lloyd Sanders can talk about, perhaps in another forum. He espouses preparedness activities that can help put your community or workplace in a better position to properly respond to a disaster.

Disclaimer: This article was prepared by Martin L. Sanders in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of the USPHS, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the United States government.


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