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Chapter: 12th Nursing : Chapter 8 : Disaster Management

Phases of Disaster Management

When excess of water over flows, it submerges land and destroys everything that get in its way.



1. Natural Calamities


When excess of water over flows, it submerges land and destroys everything that get in its way. This is called flood. Flood usually caused when the volume of water with in a lake, river, or other body of water exceeds the total capacity of the body. Sometimes level rise and causes it overflow its channel.

What to do before hand

While town planning it is the government’s responsibility, individuals should find about risks in the area where they are living e.g. people who live in areas down stream from a dam should know the special signals when a dam threatens to break. Forecasting of floods or tidal waves is very dicult, but hurricanes and cyclones often occur at the same time of the year when particular vigilance must be exercised. They are often announced several hours or days before they arrive.


2. During Flood

            Turn off the electricity to reduce the risk of electrocution.

            Protect people and property (as soon as the flood begins, take the vulnerable group, children, the old, sick and the disabled to an upper floor)

            Whenever possible, move personal belonging upstairs or go to raised shelters provided for use in floods.

            Beware of water contamination if the taste, colour or smell of the water is suspicious. It is vital to use some means of purification.

            Evacuate denser zones as ordered by the local authorities.

After a flood

When a flood is over, it is important, people do not return home until that told by local authorities, who will have ensured that buildings have not been undermined by water. From then on it is essential to;

·           Wait until the water is declared safe before drinking.

·           Clean and disinfect any room that has been flooded.

·           Sterilize or wash with boiling water all dishes and kitchen utensils.

·           Get rid of any food that has been in or near the water including canned foods and any food kept in refrigerators and freezers.

·           Get rid of all consumables (drinks, medicines, cosmetics, etc.,)


3. Earthquakes

Earthquake are one of those type of natural disaster that strike without an early warning signal. An earthquake is the result of the sudden break within the uppercrest of the earth, which may also break the surface and lead to the vibration of the ground.

What to do before hand

·           Build in accordance with urban planning the regulations for risk areas.

·           Ensure that all electrical and gas appliance in the house together with all pipes connected to them are firmly fixed.

·           Avoid storing heavy objects and materials in high altitude.

·           Hold family evacuation drills and ensure that the whole family knows what to do in case of an earthquake.

·           Prepare a family emergency kit.

During an Earthquake

·           Keep people calm – do not get panic.

·           People who are indoors should stay there but move to the central part of the building.

·           Keep away from the stairs, which might collapse suddenly.

·           People who are outside should be away from buildings and collapsing walls and away from electric cables.

·            Anyone in a vehicle should park it, away from bridges and buildings.

After an Earthquake

·           Check if you or anyone else is hurt. Use first-aid for cuts and bruises.

·           Keep the streets clear for emergency services.

·           Switch off all appliances like the refrigerator, Television or Radio

·           Turn off the gas (LPG).

·           Wear shoes to protect your feet from debris.

·           A battery-operated radio will help you to get important messages.

·            Be prepared for more shocks.


4. Fire Accident

A fire is defined as undesirable event which emits heat, smoke and or flame, which has the potential to cause damage either mechanical or manmade.

Some of the causes are:

·           Cooking equipment

·           Heating

·           Smoking in bedrooms

·           Candles

·           Curious Children

·           Faulty wiring

·           Flammable liquids

·           Ignorance, carelessness, faulty handling, indifference and recklessness of people

Effects of Fire Accidents

 Destroying houses, wildlife habitat and timber

 Polluting the air

 Permanently  damages  the  human  or animal’s respiratory system and cause death


 Keep all fires and heaters well guarded.

 Especially open fires.

 Keep open fires away from furniture’s and curtains

 Do not smoke in the bedroom

 Never leave a pan unattended when deep frying because many fire starts in the kitchen

 If there are children around keep matches and lighters out of reach

 Fit approved smoke detectors and smoke alarm on each floor

 Plan an escape route

 If you suspect a gas leak, open the windows and turn off the supply


•  React as soon as you hear the smoke alarm

•  Safely exit through doors    

•  Protect yourself from smoke inhalation

•  Stop, drop and roll if your clothes catch fire

•  Call for help     

•  Use fire extinguishers to control the fire

•  Don’t stay and search for pets and belongings

•  Never use an elevator to exit a building during the fire       


 Cool off as soon as possible with water for first and second degree burns

 Don’t break the blisters. Don’t try to remove the adhere clothes from the burnt area

 Visit the nearby hospital


5. Clouds of Toxic Flames

What to do before hand

People in risk area should

 Find out the evacuation plans and facilities Familiarize themselves with the alarm signals used in case of an emergency

 Equip doors and windows with the tightest possible fastenings

 Prepare family emergency kit

During an Emergency

 Do not use the telephone, leave lines free for rescue services

 Listen to the messages given by radio and other media

 Carry out the instructions transmitted by radio or loudspeaker

 Close doors and windows Stop up air intakes

 Seal any cracks or gaps around windows and doors with adhesive tape

 Organize a reserve of water

 Turn off ventilators and air conditioners

After an Emergency

Comply with the authorities’ instructions and do not let go out until there is no longer any risk

Carry out necessary decontamination


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