After looking at the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, I saw some natural hazards that happen to my hometown and around it. My hometown is Doylestown, PA is in zone 0 for tropical cyclones, having 76-141 peak wind speeds. My area is not known for having volcano eruptions. On the map, it does not even show Doylestown, PA to have had a volcano eruption before 1800 AD. Although there are not volcanoes, Doylestown does have hailstorms and lies in zone 2. This means that my hometown is right above zone 1, and its frequency and intensity is a little above low. The Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards is not well suited for this task because it doesn’t show exact points on the map, but relative locations of the world. Every time I would try to zoom in to get precise answers, it would get very blurry and illegible.
The disaster I chose after viewing the Hungarian National Association of Radio Distress Signaling and Infocommunications’ Emergency and Disaster Information Service website, was the heat wave that happened in Kenya on March 25th, 2016. Temperatures in Turkana County hit a high of 40.5 degrees centigrade, one of the highest recorded in the country in recent weeks. Unfortunately, my hometown of Doylestown, PA can also experience this disaster. Some of the risks for this disaster are dehydration, fainting, dizziness, and some cardiovascular problems. Doylestown is vulnerable to heat waves, especially in the summertime. Temperatures are always rising, creating these waves of heat. Differently from Kenya, almost all houses in Doylestown, PA have air conditioning systems. Unfortunately, the scale of the heat waves in Kenya is much larger than the scale in Doylestown because of the air resources my hometown has. This disaster is not as bad as Kenya’s because they have to resort to wrapping wet fabric around their water cans to keep them cool, while in Doylestown, we have water systems in our homes that keep the water extra cold. However, in my hometown, there are also less wealthy neighborhoods that create different levels of vulnerability. These neighborhoods do not have the same amount of money as other neighborhoods do, which affects the types of systems in their homes, such as air conditioning systems. We can reduce my towns vulnerability by assuring every citizen that they will have a working air conditioning system in order to keep their homes cold during the rising temperatures in the summer.
In Doylestown, there are many natural disasters that occur. A few years ago, Hurricane Sandy put my school district out of school for an entire week. This disaster impacted homes with flooding, torn down siding on homes, and other implications. My hometown also has the natural disaster of winter storms. During these storms, “People are injured or killed in traffic accidents on icy roads or suffer from hypothermia (low body temperature) due to being cold for a long period of time.” Also during these storms, another major danger is power outages. There are also other weather extremes Doylestown faces such as hail, strong winds, blizzards, thunderstorms and fires. House fires are sometimes very common during certain seasons.
There are many actions that can be done to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters, specifically in Doylestown. An example of this is pre-event preparedness. On all news providers, every meteorologist forecasts the weather and prepares citizens for the worst storms that are ahead. One example is a snow blizzard that hit Doylestown, PA. Meteorologists forecasted this blizzard almost a week in advance in order to prepare Doylestown individuals for what was going to happen. Another way to reduce vulnerability is building resilience in non-disaster times. Although this may be a lot of money to build infrastructure that is durable during hurricanes and earthquakes, it will be able to save many buildings and even lives. Doylestown can also study natural hazards so that we know how to prepare for and respond to them when an extreme event occurs. These different actions that can be taken to reduce vulnerability can in turn save many lives and maintain infrastructure from being lost. The best people for these actions are construction workers. These are the people who build these buildings and if they know all the measures to take in order to withstand these disasters, then Doylestown’s vulnerability would be very low.