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Causes, Preventive Measures - Man - made Disasters | 12th Geography : Chapter 8 : Man Made Disasters Public Awareness For Disaster Risk Reduction

Chapter: 12th Geography : Chapter 8 : Man Made Disasters Public Awareness For Disaster Risk Reduction

Man - made Disasters

Disaters induced by human beings are man-made disasters. It includes fire accident, transport accident, structure failure, minining accidents, explosions, stampede etc. In this lesson, we study about some of the man-made disasters. 1. Stampede 2. Drowning 3. Fire Accident 4. Industrial Disasters, 5. Road accident

Man - made Disasters

Disaters induced by human beings are man-made disasters. It includes fire accident, transport accident, structure failure, minining accidents, explosions, stampede etc. In this lesson, we study about some of the man-made disasters.

 1. Stampede 2. Drowning 3. Fire Accident 4. Industrial Disasters, 5. Road accident

1. Stampede

The term stampede is a sudden rush of a crowd of people, usually resulting in injuries and death from suffocation and trampling. In stampede, the term mob or crowd is used to refer to a congregated, active, polarized aggregate of people, which is basically heterogeneous and complex. Its most salient features include homogeneity of thought and action among its participants and their impulsive and irrational actions.

Causes of stampede

Incidents of stampedes can occur in numerous socio-cultural situations. These stampede incidents can be categorized into the following types: Entertainment events, escalator and moving walkways, food distribution, processions, natural disasters, power failure, religious events, fire incidents during religious/ other events, riots, sports events and weather related events.

Large religious gatherings are the major stampede events in developing countries like India. As stated in a newspaper in 2013, 79 percent of stampedes in India have taken place at religious events.

Stampede Management

Crowd management is defined as the systematic planning and supervision of the orderly movement and assembly of people. Crowd control is the restriction or limitation of group behavior.

The rules of action for stampede

1. Notice Alternate Exit: First thing to know in such situations is the route out. If you are attending an event, one of the things you can do in preparation is to try and know the topography of the place. This will help you find the exits. So, when struck in a stampede, try to identify these exits.

2. Keep Your Hands by Your Chest: Your hands must be up by your chest like they would be in a boxing position. This makes it easy to move. It also stops your ribs from getting crushed by the crowd on both sides. When the crowd pushes you from front and back, your lungs will be affected. You will suffer of suffocation.

3. How to move when on your feet: In the middle of a moving crowd, do not resist the flow by standing still or sitting down. The force is too much to fight. Like in a wave, there is force and in crowd situation. Keep moving diagonally between the pockets of people whenever there is a lull. Try to move towards the exits but not towards walls or fences where you might be cornered. Keep moving with the crowd to avoid falling.

4. How to move if you fall: If you fall and get back on your feet, cover your head with your hands and hurl up in a fetal position. Basically, avoid exposing your lungs to the crowd. Keep trying to find an opportunity to get up.

5. Communicate smartly: When trapped in the crowd, use sign language such as waving your hands up one side after another so that you will not get exhausted.

6. Conserve energy: Keep calm and do not try to scream. That only increases panic.

7. Set a meeting place: Arrange a meeting place, in case you get separated, one inside and another one outside. If someone extends his/her hand for help, grab hold to keep them up.

Child safety Tips: Take a second, take a photo. Before taking children out to any event, pull out your phone and take a photo of each child individually a selfie. That way you have a picture of how they looked that day. The photo can be sent to police to aid in locating the child in case the child is lost in a crowd.


2. Drowning

Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths. There are an estimated 3,72,000 annual drowning deaths worldwide. Children, males and individuals with increased access to water are most at risk of drowning. Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid; outcomes are classified as death, morbidity and no morbidity.

Fact File

It is one of our most visceral fears; thrashing in the deep, far below the water’s surface, lungs burning for oxygen. Drowning claims hundreds of thousands of lives every year, a great many of whom are young children. Of course, exposure to water is a key factor in drowning, but there is a strong economic correlation as well. Those in poorer countries are far more likely to be drowning. In Bangladesh, 17,000 children drown annually that’s 46 a day.

Fresh Water and Salt Water Drown You Differently.

Fact File continue

At first glance, it would appear that swimming in the ocean is far more dangerous than swimming in a lake. Crashing waves and riptides can easily sweep beachgoers to their doom. But shockingly enough, about 90 percent of drowning cases occur in freshwater. The reason involves a bit of chemistry. Fresh water is more similar in composition to our own blood than salt water. When it is inhaled into the lungs, it passes into the bloodstream through osmosis. When the blood is so radically diluted, cells burst, leading to organ failure. The entire process takes two to three minutes.

Ocean water contains far more salt than human blood. When it is aspirated, the body attempts to regulate itself by transferring water into the lungs, thickening the blood. It takes considerably longer to kill a person, between 8 to 10 minutes, allowing a much greater chance of rescue.

Males are especially at risk of drowning, with twice the overall mortality rate of females. Studies suggest that the higher drowning rates among males are due to increased exposure to water and riskier behavior such as swimming alone, drinking alcohol before swimming alone and boating. Drowning accounts for 75% of deaths in flood disasters.


There are many actions to prevent drowning. Installing barriers (e.g. covering wells, using doorway barriers and playpens, fencing swimming pools etc.) to control access to water hazards.

Community-based, supervised child care for pre-school children can reduce drowning risk. Teaching school -age children basic swimming, water safety and safe rescue skills is another approach.

Setting and enforcing safe boating, shipping and ferry regulations is an important part of improving safety on the water and preventing drowning. Building resilience to flooding and managing flood risks through better disaster preparedness planning, land use planning, and early warning systems can prevent drowning during flood disasters.


3. Fire Accident

Massive forest fires may start in hot and droughty weather as a result of lightning, and human carelessness or from other causal factors. Fires can lead to the destruction of buildings, wooden bridges and poles, power, transmission and telecommunication lines, warehouses of containing oil products and other fuel. It causes injury to people and animals

Students’ activity

Mock Drill: To escape a fire, stop, drop, and roll. In case your clothes burn, stop running, drop on the floor and roll to stop fire spreading.

During droughts or windy weather, fire may destroy low vegetation and trees. The spreading speed of low fire is 1-3 m/sec and high fire may reach up to 100m/sec.

Think why?

Smoke kills more than fire.

Rule of actions for Fire Accident-Do’s

1. When Fire accident occurs, warning should be given by shouting or ringing bell.

2. Extinguish the fire using sand and other fire extinguishers.

3. Main switch should be switched off immediately.

4. If clothes started burning, the victim should roll on the ground to extinguish the fire.

5. The combustible materials found near the fire accident place, have to be discarded so that the fire does not spread to them.

6. If fire breaks out with smoke spreading, cover the nose, crawl and move out.

7. Think that life is more valuable than belongings.

8. Move from the fire accident place to a safe place.

Preventive Measures

1. Create a safe zone between the house and flammable plants.

2. Cut off all the branches of trees with below three meter height standing near your house.

3. Remove moss and dry branches from plants standing near the house.

4. Clean ditches and pits from dry branches and leaves.

5. Keep flammable materials in the checked safe containers.

6. Ask your relative or friend living in a different location to be your contact person.

7. Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.

A natural gas vent in Iraq known as The Eternal Fire of Baba Gurgur, meaning 'Father of Fire' has been burning continuously for over 4,000 years, and it has been mentioned by Herodotus, and Plutarch.

During fire accident

1. When water cannot be used (because the equipment is plugged-in) or there is no water and the fire is not strong, you can use cooking soda or calcite soda, washing powder, sand, soil.

2. Keep your head no higher than 30 cm above the floor; above this height accumulation of heavy harmful gases may exists.

3. If there is no opportunity to leave the room, move towards a window, and try to get the attention of people by giving signals.

4. If your clothing has caught fire do not run because this will intensify burning. Take the clothes off, throw them in a safe place and put out the fire.

5. If you are near a fire in a forest and cannot extinguish the fire by yourself, immediately inform people who are nearby about the necessity to leave the hazard zone.

Tips to use fire extinguisher:

Put out small fire with fire extinguisher or cover the source of fuel with blanket. For fire extinguisher remember to use pull safety pin from handle. Aim at the base of the flame. Squeeze the trigger handle. And sweep from side to side at the base of the flame.

Things that must never be done during a fire

1. Never pour water on burning electrical equipment if it is switched on. If a TV set, a refrigerator is burning, turn off the electricity from the main switch.

2. Do not jump from windows of upper floors.

3. Do not panic.

4. Do not try to extinguish the fire by yourself.


4. Industrial Disasters

Industrial hazards consist of four principle hazards. The hazards encountered are fire, explosion, toxic release and environmental damage. This is because industries engage in different processes involving a wide range of different raw materials, waste products and final products. Danger originates from technological or industrial accidents, dangerous procedures, infrastructure failures or certain human activities. It may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.

Fire: This is the most frequent hazard. Fire can also produce toxic fumes like Acrolein, Carbon monoxide and Cyanides. Physical structures can be damaged either by the intensity of the heat or combustion. It may also have an effect on essential services like power and instrumentation.

Explosion: Explosions is the result of a shock wave. This overpressure can kill people but usually the indirect effects of collapsing buildings, breaking of glasses and falling of debris causes far more loss of life and severe injuries. There are different types of explosions which include gas explosions and dust explosions. Gas explosions occur when a flammable gas mixes with air. Dust explosions occur when flammable solids, especially metals, in the form of fine powders are intensively mixed with air and ignited.

Chemical release: Sudden release of toxic vapours has the potential to cause death and severe injuries several kilometres from the release point. They are carried by water and air. Their release into public sewage systems, rivers, canals and other water courses, either directly or through contaminated water used in fire fighting can result in serious threat to public. The number of casualties depends on the weather conditions, population density in the path of the cloud and the effectiveness of the emergency arrangements.

Environmental Damage: Release of other substances, not directly toxic to humans can cause major pollution problems. It is becoming increasingly recognized that damage to natural resources such as plant and animal life can have serious long term consequences. E.g. destruction of trees is increasing the effect of global warming and extinction of animals are severely disrupting food webs and causing an increase in pests.

Means of reducing the industrial hazards

Process of Safety Management: Reliability assessment of process equipment, incorporating safety tips, scrubbing system, etc, should be done before effecting major process changes.

Safety Audits: Periodical assessment of safety procedures, performance of safety systems and gadgets along with follow up measures should be carried out.

Emergency Planning: A comprehensive risk analysis indicating the impact of consequences and practiced emergency procedures should be done. This can be done by communities as well as national or regional corporation authorities.

Training: Proper training of employees and protective services should be done.


5. Road accident

It is estimated that 1.34 million people are killed in the road accidents every year. Road accident is the 8th leading cause of death globally. Every year, up to 50 million people suffer serious, life-altering injuries which, in many low- and middle-income countries.

Primary road safety risk factors in low and middle-income countries include:

1. Speeding

2. Drink-driving

3. Non-use, or improper use of helmets, and

4. Non-use, or improper use of seatbelts

Strengthening the capability of the road traffic police to enforce traffic laws is fundamental to deterring road users from violating the laws, to reduce harm and to reduce inappropriate and unsafe behaviors on the roads.

Basic road safety rules for students:

1. Aware of the road signals

Assist students to learn the traffic lights and signs. Check out the relevance of each color:

* Green light is an indication for “go”- Whenever the signal turns green, the vehicle can move ahead.

* Red light is an indication “to stop”- All the vehicles have to stop, when the red light is on.

* Yellow light is an indication “to slow down”- When the yellow light turns on, you should slow down your vehicle and prepare to stop.

* “Walking man” signal at intersections are constructed for the pedestrians. Recall the fact that you will be authorized to cross the road only when the signal turns green. Ensure that there are no vehicles, both on the left and right side of the road.

* Never attempt to cross the road, if the signboard signifies “Don’t walk” message or the walking symbol turns red.

2. Stop, look, and cross

In fact, students will either walk to school or to the bus stop for waiting their respective school bus. The only task of students is to cross the road prudently, right after the school bus drops them off. Hence, we should undertake the responsibility to provide adequate guidance for crossing the road cautiously.

We teach them to be aware of various road signs and recommend them to utilize the zebra crossing while crossing the road. If there are no markings or signs, the following procedures can be worthwhile:

* Check the right side, after that to the left side of the road for the incoming vehicles.

* If you notice a vehicle is approaching, wait for the vehicle to pass and then safely cross the road.

* Do not cross the road at the turns, it is unsafe.

* Never cross the road between the stopped vehicles.

However, accompaniment is required for the children aged below 6 years and you should compulsorily hold their hands while crossing the road.

3. Listen

Educate the child to be extra vigilant while they cross the road at the turns. As a consequence, listening can only aid them. For this reason, instruct your child to listen and ensure whether a vehicle is approaching or not. Ordinarily, vehicles apply horns at turns and at unmanned intersections to provide a warning to other road users. Meanwhile, you can interpret the following instances to students:

* If a horn is heard, stop and cross only after ensuring that no vehicle approaches you from left or right side of the road.

4. Don’t rush on roads

Students will not be tolerant and have a tendency to dash across the road to reach the other side. In addition, they become absent-minded when they are having fun and henceforth bound across or along the road. Therefore, teach them to remain placid while they are near the road.

5. Relevance of Sidewalks

Persuade students to avail the service of sidewalks whenever they walk on the road. Demonstrate them how to cross the road safely. Motivate them to avail the sidewalks even though it is not a busy street.

6. Crossroads and pedestrian crossings

Students will have a tendency to scoot across the street. This will become particularly perilous since vehicles will never slow down unless there is a cross road or relevant signal. Notify your students to cross only at intersections and avail the pedestrian crossings. If there is no crossroad or pedestrian crossing, you can admonish students to comply the rules mentioned above.

7. Place the hands inside the vehicle

A multitude of students have the habit of placing their hands outside the vehicle while it is moving. They will lay their head out and wave with exhilaration. This is a familiar sight among the school bus students. Nevertheless, these behaviors can have significant consequences. Due to carelessness, they will be injured by vehicles, which advance from the opposite direction.

8. Never cross road at bends

Bends are evidently the blind spot for motorists. When you attempt to cross at bends, the driver will be unable to recognize you and stop the car at the right time. As a result, students will be hurt while crossing at bends

9. Remain safe on a bicycle

If students ride bicycle to reach the school, ensure that they adhere to the following cycling rules:

* Utilize the bicycle lane. If such a lane does not exist, ride the bike either on the extreme left or right side of the road and glide along with the traffic.

* Never permit your students to ride on congested streets without your supervision.

10. Staying safe in a moving vehicle

In a moving vehicle, you can ensure the student’s safety with the assistance of a seat belt. Let them practice the following safety rules in your absence:

* Never stand, stroll or sprint inside a moving vehicle.

* Remain seated and hold the rails on the seats until the school bus halts.

* Do not put your hands outside the moving vehicle.

11. Get off the vehicle at the curb side

Ask your students to memorize the following safety tips and conform to the rules while they get down from the school bus:

* Ensure that you reach the bus stop prior to the scheduled bus timing in order to avert the circumstance of running behind the school bus.

* Form a queue to board or descend the school bus.

* Disembark the school bus at the curbside in order to evade unnecessary endangerment and hindrance to other vehicles.

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