Module 8 – Vulnerability Reduction

My hometown of Doylestown, PA is considered to be not very vulnerable at all when it comes to natural hazards and disasters. Although it can be affected by many types of hazards, it is often not hit hard, and it is a safe place to be. When looking at the maps, it appears to show that eastern Pennsylvania is affected mostly by hailstorms, extratropical (winter) storms, and a low risk of tornadoes. Although it is possible for these hazards to occur in my hometown, I have only seen occasional severe winter storms, and very light hail a couple times. The maps provided would be much easier to read if it had specific areas zoomed in to show more detail. Since where I live appears to be on the edge of many severity levels, a more detailed map would help to differentiate between them better.

On the Emergency and Disaster Information Service map, I found a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that occurred just off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Although it is possible for Doylestown to be hit by an earthquake, it would be very unlikely to be hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake. The fault lines known to cause earthquakes on the east coast are relatively far from my town and not very active. If an earthquake of this scale were to happen directly at my hometown, it could potentially cause significant damage. The description says that the earthquake caused up to moderate damage in well-built buildings, and most of the buildings in Doylestown are well built and low to the ground. However, there are some older and historical buildings in the area that might get more severely damaged. In terms of scale, a disaster of this size would be huge compared to my small town, and would affect the surrounding areas which could potentially include Philadelphia. The impact would be different in Papua New Guinea compared to my hometown. Although it is less populated, the area of the earthquake will likely suffer from more human injuries and not as much financial damage as my hometown, since this area is less wealthy and developed than Doylestown. Although most people in my hometown would likely be fine in a disaster like this, there is still potential for injuries, as well as lots of property damage. The vulnerable people in my hometown would include the people who are living in the older and not as structurally sound buildings. An earthquake of this size would cause far more damage to those buildings than the more solid ones. A way that this vulnerability could be reduced is by reinforcing weaker or aging buildings, and making sure others are strong enough.

From my personal experience, the largest natural hazards that my hometown faces are snow storms, and floods in the areas closest to the Delaware River due to excessive rainfall. These are the only threats that I think can cause real damage or injuries. Since I have lived there for my entire life, I have a good idea of the types of issues the town can face. Snow storms happen every winter, and usually can cause minor property damage, or injuries to people working to clear snow. Every once in a while, the Doylestown area can be hit by a powerful winter storm that can cause power outages, collapsed roofs, and other serious property damage. Flooding of the Delaware River is also an occasional issue. In the past, this has caused extensive damage to the buildings and homes that are low and close to the river.

Based on what I have learned in this module and my personal experience of natural hazards in my hometown, there are several things that can be done to reduce vulnerability. The Doylestown Township can increase infrastructure to help clear roads and sidewalks of in the case of serious snowstorms to reduce the risk of traffic accidents and snow related injuries. They can also offer more assistance to those in need of help during these storms, as well as make better judgments for when it is necessary to close local schools. For reducing vulnerability in case of flooding, homes and buildings should be built up higher when next to the river, and can implement stronger building techniques to increase their durability.

3 thoughts on “Module 8 – Vulnerability Reduction

  1. Hi my name is Matt, I saw you are from Doylestown which is fairly close to me. I’m from around the Allentown area so we are affected by similar natural hazards. I did write about the Papa New Guinea earthquake and saw your findings were similar to mine. An earthquake of that size would cause considerable financial damage. Thanks for sharing and check out my post below.

  2. Hi, my name is Alex and I’m from the Worthington campus. I live in Old Forge which is a small town about an hour and a half away from Doylestown. We’re lucky that the most we experience is some hail and winter storms. I wrote about a big flood that happened in my area a couple years ago. I also wrote about building structures being more susceptible to storms! This would definitely reduce damage.
    If you’d like to check out my post here’s the link:

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