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Proivides handy tips on how to prepare for disasters...

How to Prepare for a Cyclone?
What is a cyclone?
A cyclone is an area of low atmospheric pressure with rotating winds. Cyclones that affect Sri Lanka develop in the Bay of Bengal. The heavy rains, floods and landslides experienced in Sri Lanka in April 2008 were due to a cyclone named Nargis.
What are the natural hazards associated with a Cyclone?
Heavy Rains, Lightening, Storm Surges, and Tornados are natural hazards associated with Cyclones. As secondary hazards floods and landslides can occur.
When do cyclones can hit Sri Lanka?
Cyclones hit Sri Lanka mostly from October to November and March to April periods.
What should you do to prepare for cyclones?
BEFORE THE CYCLONE SEASON
• Make sure that your house is steady enough to face the cyclones. If not, restrengthen your house.
• Trim treetops and branches well clear of your home.
• Preferably fit shutters, or at least metal screens, to all glass areas.
• Clear your property of loose material that could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage during extreme winds.
• In case of a storm surge/tide warning, or other flooding, know your nearest safe high ground and the safest access route to it.
• Prepare an emergency kit containing:
o a portable battery radio( there will be no electricity, your big radio set or TV will not work!), torch and spare batteries;
o water containers, dried food ex: biscuits, noodles.
o matches, fuel lamp
o a first aid kit and manual, masking tape for windows and waterproof bags.
• Keep a list of emergency phone numbers on display.
• Make sure that your neighbors’ are prepared.


WHEN A CYCLONE WATCH IS ISSUED
• Re-check your property for any loose material and tie down (or fill with water) all large, relatively light items such as boats and rubbish bins.
• Fill vehicles' fuel tanks. Check your emergency kit and fill water containers.
• Ensure household members know which is the strongest part of the house and what to do in the event of a cyclone warning or an evacuation.
• Tune to your local radio/TV for further information and warnings.
• Check that neighbours are aware of the situation and are preparing.
WHEN A CYCLONE WARNING IS ISSUED
Depending on official advice provided by your local authorities as the event evolves; the following actions may be warranted.
• If requested by local authorities, collect children from school and go home.
• Park vehicles under solid shelter (hand brake on and in gear).
• Close shutters or board-up or heavily tape all windows. Draw curtains and lock doors.
• Pack an evacuation kit of warm clothes, essential medications, .
• valuables, important papers, photos and mementos in waterproof bags to be taken with your emergency kit. Large/heavy valuables could be protected in a strong cupboard.
• Remain indoors (with your pets). Stay tuned to your local radio/TV for further information.
ON WARNING OF LOCAL EVACUATION
Based on predicted wind speeds and storm surge heights, evacuation may be necessary.
Official advice will be given on local radio/TV regarding safe routes and when to move.
• Lock doors; turn off power, gas, and water; take your evacuation and emergency kits.
• If evacuating inland (out of town), take pets and leave early to avoid heavy traffic, flooding and wind hazards.
• If evacuating to a public shelter or higher location, follow police and directions.
• Leave pets protected and with food and water.

WHEN THE CYCLONE STRIKES
• Disconnect all electrical appliances. Listen to your battery radio for updates.
• Stay inside and shelter {well clear of windows) in the strongest part of the building, Keep evacuation and emergency kits with you.
• If the building starts to break up, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a strong table or bench or hold onto a solid fixture, e.g. a water pipe.
• Beware the calm 'eye'. If the wind drops, don't assume the cyclone is over; violent winds will soon resume from another direction. Wait for the official 'all clear'.
• If driving, stop (handbrake on and in gear) - but well away from the sea and clear of trees, power lines and streams. Stay in the vehicle.
AFTER THE CYCLONE
• Don't go outside until officially advised it is safe.
• Check for gas leaks. Don't use electric appliances if wet.
• Listen to local radio for official warnings and advice.
• If you have to evacuate, or did so earlier, don't return until advised. Use a recommended route and don't rush.
• Beware of damaged power lines, bridges, buildings, trees, and don't enter floodwaters.
• Heed all warnings and don't go sightseeing. Check/help neighbours instead.
• Don't make unnecessary telephone calls.

The fire last month in Thelwatta destroyed 30 temporary houses, hitting 83 Tsunami hit families again.
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CTEC, will be conducting 15 Fire preparedness campaigns in the Hikkaduwa, Ambalangoda and Balapitiya areas. IsraAID will distribute Fire Extinguisher kits to each of these fifteen communities. Community Action Communities will be created to be active during an emergency.


Fire Preparedness Program
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