Module 8 Shaud

My hometown is Swarthmore PA, which has a few important natural hazards to consider from the map. The most important is flooding. My area has experienced flooding from hurricanes or other heavy storms over the years and also is in a zone expected to be subject to increasing rainfall. This will only exacerbate the problem. In order to reduce this, homes will need to individually improve their water protection with pumps and new concrete and the town will need to work to improve water disposal systems like sewers that would alleviate flooding. The NATHAN world map is somewhat appropriate for examining my hometown, but it is hard to pinpoint exact hazards because of how large it is. PA is right in the middle of an area that differentiates zones sometimes and it is hard to tell if my area is vulnerable for somethings because it is so zoomed out.


I examined the disaster of an H7N9 case in China, also known as avian flu. This disaster is not likely to occur in my town unless it is occurring all over the world in a wide outbreak of the disease. The reasons for this are because our standard of health are higher than in the densely populated city of China where this occurred. My town has better sanitation and less people per square mile that would allow this virus to breed. Also, there is no poultry markets or farming particularly close to my hometown, shielding the virus from moving from an animal to humans like it did in China. The standards of food are higher in the US, meaning any contaminated meat is much more likely to be caught before it is sold and infects someone in my area. Overall, there is basically no risk of my town developing this biological disaster like it did in China, however the disease could always be spread to my town and all over the world. This would only occur if the disaster was on a huge scale not only in my area but worldwide. Damage would be terrible in terms of human sickness assuming a vaccination was not developed, however none of this would be unique to my hometown. Someone flying in from a foreign country could land at Philly airport and move the disease to my town. There is no real way to contain this on our end, merely just hope an outbreak is caught before it can be transported across the world by airplane. In fact, due to the high health standards described above, my town would almost certainly have a lower human disaster casualty rate than basically anywhere else in the world.


My personal assessment of threats to my area is based on my knowledge of living there my entire life. The only true problems my home or others in my area has experienced is flooding. Flooding is something that can be managed to a large extent by better preparation of those who own homes/land and also by improving infrastructure to alleviate the problem when it occurs. Fortunately this issue has only been on a home by home basis in my town, never a large enough scale to cause mass destruction or loss of life. Aside from having local and state officials assess the flood capabilities of the town and having appropriate disaster plans in place, there is nothing much more my town can do to prevent a disaster. Any disaster I have not experienced, such as a fire/disease/tornado/etc., would be so extraordinary there is almost certainly nothing that can be prepared to prevent it.

1 thought on “Module 8 Shaud

  1. Hi James,
    My name is Ralph (TJ) Diaz. My link to my blog is: One of the most influential natural disasters to my hometown is flooding. Part of my hometown, Hagerstown, Maryland, is a drained wetland, so it will often experience high water tables and flooding. I think one of the things included in your first paragraph, concrete would actually exacerbate the flooding. Flooding happens when water is raining faster than it infiltrates the soil. If we increase the surface area of concrete, we are decreasing the available infiltration area. This will cause flooding. I do like your analysis of a potential disease outbreak in your town and your awareness of how your town would be affected by it. Disease is a very realistic problem in the near future considering the way human population has grown and the way we use medications, causing bacteria and viruses to be medication resistant.

Leave a Reply