Vulnerability Reduction – Hollabaugh

1) My hometown of Sunbury, PA is not in danger of many natural hazards. There are no volcanoes, almost never any tornadoes even though it is listed as a zone 2 area. There are very rarely any earthquakes, and it has a low risk of wildfires. According to the Nathan World Map of Natural Hazards, the closest natural hazards are high cyclone and extra-tropical winds, as well as heavy hail storms. The impacts are generally low from these events however. For this specific task the Nathan map is not very well suited because the area of Sunbury, PA is very small compared to the world, and some disasters like local river flooding are not accounted for.

2) On April 4, 2016 there was a confirmed case of Rabies in a raccoon in Watertown, New York. This is a disaster that my hometown is capable of facing because we have a fairly high raccoon population. This is a small disaster on the scale of damages, but it could turn into something much bigger without proper handling. If it spread it could be a biological disaster. If one raccoon had rabies in Sunbury, it would most likely mean a lot of raccoons had it. Raccoons can generally be found wondering alleys of Sunbury, which means it could be a huge disaster for the population. Luckily there were no reported incidents of human contraction from this event, but it is still potentially dangerous. Humans that live along the alleys would be much more vulnerable to this disaster. One of the ways this could be prevented is by controlling the raccoon population or by relocating them individually out of the city.

3) From personal experience, I can attest that my hometown is susceptible to strong winds and rain from hurricanes, and flooding from the susquehanna river. While it is not often, I have seen damages like fallen trees and power outages result from severe hurricane winds. Sunbury is surrounded by mountains, so it is very unlikely that tornadoes or hurricanes would reach the small town, but their strong winds are still able to affect it. Sunbury has been flooded many times, which has caused significant damage. Water levels during the floods rose high above most of the town, so a wall was built that spans the entire length of the city in order to prevent flooding. Sunbury has a unique fiber dam that spans the length of the river. It consists of inflatable fiber tubes that inflate in the spring to create a reservoir. It is lowered in the fall to allow for fish migrations. ( information provided by

4) One of the main natural hazards is the flooding relative to the Susquehanna River. This has been solved by building a concrete wall along the entire length of Sunbury. Besides this the only natural hazard that Sunbury faces is high winds. High winds are very hard to contain, so there is not much that can be done to prevent their damages. One thing that can be done is to install underground high wind shelters for houses without basements. There is a housing development without basements in Sunbury. The people who live here would be in danger if a tornado or hurricane every did reach the city, so building a shelter to provide safety would be an ideal prevention. The city could hire contractors to build this shelter. I personally can set up an emergency plan including where and when to go to our basement, and what foods and water to store in case of emergency.

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