Free «Graniteville» Essay Sample

A freight train carrying chlorine gas derailed after missing a switch and rammed into a stationary train early morning in Graniteville on the sixth of January, 2005. As a result chlorine gas was released into the local atmosphere causing the death of nine people and medical problems to 550 people. Hence the residents had to be evacuated from the proximity of the crash site (Mitchell et al, 2005).

Those obligated to evacuate behaved differently to those who had no obligation to evacuate. Those under obligation to evacuate were residents of within the one mile evacuation zone. The evacuation shadow or those under no obligation to evacuate lived within one to two miles of the spill. It is no surprise that the first group averagely evacuated as a percentage more than the latter group. Residents with pets were loath to evacuate and the more the number of pets the more the reluctance with some being forced to leave behind some pets. Dogs were shown to be evacuated more than cats.

The choice of shelter by the evacuees reflected that few preferred public shelter opting for private arrangements. However residents who were obligated to evacuate were more likely to use public shelter more than the other group not obligated to move (Mitchell et al, 2005). People are more likely to move after a technological disaster rather than natural disaster due to the rarity of technological disaster as compared to natural disaster. Technological disasters happen in an instance in comparison to natural disaster where more often there is a build up before the actual disaster giving evacuees more time to evacuate. Sometime natural disasters are predictable while technological disasters are usually more unpredictable. This predictability of natural disasters allows some forms of mitigation practices or procedures to be undertaken hence the effects of natural disasters can minimized.

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In the emergency response guidebook, the guide number provides a reference to safety recommendations and emergency response information to protect yourself and the public. It has a left hand page which shows safety related information while the right hand is concerned with emergency response guidance and activities for fire situations, spills or leak accidents and first aid. It consists of three parts, with the fours outlining potential hazards attributed to the material such as fire and health effects. The second part suggests public safety measures as regard the situation involved. The last part deals with emergency response actions including first aid.. Human hazard refers to problems or disaster that may occur due to human actions or negligence while health hazard are the risk posed to the health of a human being due to exposure to potential risky factors. Protective clothing on the other hand is the materials adorned by human beings to counter the effects of exposure to risky environment such as pressure self contained breathing apparatus and chemically protective clothing or firefighters’ protective clothing to protect the body. First aid is the medical measures taken at the scene of disaster to try to minimize the effects of injury before the victim is taken to hospital (Mitchell et al, 2005).

The media contributed positively by informing the residents concerned about the disaster. A sizable number, 16.5 learnt of the disaster through television (Mitchell et al, 2005). However the media also contributed to confusion as regards the mandatory evacuation area with the residents unable to determine the extent of the mandatory evacuation area. Emergency managers can minimize the negative effects of the media by engaging in a well coordinated interaction with the media. This involves setting up a media centre manned by skilled media practitioners who can convey the appropriate information. Additionally experts should be involved in media briefing to offer facts on the situation (U.S. Department of Transportation, 2008).

Evacuation should be undertaken gradually and systematically to avoid panic and confusion. According to the reading some residents were unaware of the public shelters offered. The mandatory evacuation area was also not communicated effectively. Though there were glitches here and there the gradual evacuation of the Graniteville allowed the residents ample time to evacuate without panic (U.S. Department of Transportation, 2008).


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