Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Volcanic Ashfall Guidance

(Above: Volcanic Ashfall from Etna, 2002)
One day last week, I was excited to find an Emergency Management (EM) Public Awareness Info Kit in a large ziploc bag in my teacher box at school! Inside, it said, "This bag is provided to help you prepare for and deal with a potential major emergency, be it a natural disaster or man-made event." ("Man-made event" = War in Iraq/on Terror?)

The Emergency Management Officer must have a pretty good sense of humor, though, because he decorated the paper with little graphics of a cloudburst (reminiscent of last year's flood?), an erupting volcano, and a shaking house. He also referred to the Emergency Preparedness Tri-fold Brochure as "the boring white one" and the "Volcanic Ashfall Tri-fold" as "also boringly white" and "extra guidance as we live next to one . . . " No kidding, I live ON it!

Other cool things in the bag were two refrigerator magnets with numbers and information, a wallet card with the same, and, coolest of all, a whistle/light key chain with US NAVY EM printed on it. There's even a little compass on it! The EMO again shows his sense of humor with "a toy perhaps, but the light works and it's a lot easier to blow a whistle to attract attention than to yell for a long period of time." Good point.

The last item in the bag is a map of the area with primary and alternate routes. Unfortunately, the map ends well before it ever gets near my town, but it's possibly useful for newcomers and visitors.

Of the most interest to me was the Volcanic Ashfall Guidance. Here are some highlights:

"Minimize travel--driving in ash is hazardous to you and your car," and then, "Any vehicle can be considered a movable, second home." (So, which is it?)

" If you live very close to the volcano, plan several evacuation routes in the event you receive advance warming of major volcanic activity." (That WOULD be an event!)

"Keep pets indoors. If pets go out, breush or vacuum them before letting them indoors. Discourage active play in dusty settings." (This person has never had CATS.)

" Know your school's emergency plan." (Good luck, because we don't have one!)

"Ash accumulates like heavy snowfall, but doesn't melt." (No kidding?)

Actually, there is a lot of good, useful information in the kit, and I love the whistle/light! I just hope I never have to shovel ash off my roof or let the ash settle in my water before drinking it. That did happen in 2002, though, two years before I moved here. These are Kendra's photos to prove it! Check out the ash on these cars and the guy shoveling it!


At September 19, 2006 8:19 PM, Blogger Kendra said...

This is a light dusting of what distance from the volcano? Pretty far. At your house, in Nicolosi, as I hear it told...the ash was like a foot deep...which explains why you still have so much. ;)


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