For general discussion among students.

Community Preparedness Unit 8: Assingment 4

  • Community preparedness: Search online for the disaster preparedness or emergency preparedness information for your city, town or county/borough. Note – most of us are in Fairbanks so, to mix it up a little, if you were born or grew up somewhere else, you can use that place for your assignment.

This Assignment will be on Berks County which is in the state of Pennsylvania.

  1. Was it easy or difficult to find your community’s plan? Describe how long it took, or in the extreme case, that you never actually found it online.

Overall, it was fairly easy to find my state and community’s preparedness plan. I have spent time going through Berks County’s Emergency Management site before, while I looking for internships in the area. This additional time and research spent allowed me to access the site quickly. However, I believe I could have found this very fast because of how the internet works today. As long as you know what your looking for you can find it.

  1. Describe one thing you think shows your community is well-prepared in case of a disaster

Over that last couple of decades, communities all over the United States have become more prepared because there has been a greater emphasis on homeland security and emergency management. While communities are not perfectly prepared for every disaster they will face, they are able to learn and improve each time a disaster impacts their community. One thing I think that shows my community is well prepared is the fact that we have an emergency management office, a state preparedness plan and people working every day to better protect the communities.

  1. Describe one way you think an improvement could be made to your community’s plan.

What good is a plan if people don’t even know it is there? I think the largest improvement for my community is the need to get the message out. It is important to share how individual preparedness can help during a time of need and what steps everyone can take in their community to better prepare. I also think a condensed plan or version of a plan is needed. No one has time to sort through what to do in different circumstances or unique disasters.  Another way to improve our communities plan is by using social media. The use of social media can allow more members of a community to be reached and allows them to see bits and pieces of the plan at a time.

  1. Answer the following question: Do you feel better or worse about how well your community is prepared after reading it’s plan?

I think the major players in my community are prepared and those that know and look for the preparedness information are prepared for most known hazards in the area. I feel as though the state and local government are able to respond efficiently with the information detailed in the plans, but I think the community should be more involved and a Whole Community approach is needed. Overall, the plans laid out are clear and concise and address the hazards in the area.



Unit 8 Assignment 3: Preparedness Improvement

Hello everyone, the link provided will take you to a short presentation on what preparedness improvements were needed for my family’s house hold. After conducting the first assignment for this unit, it was clear that a new communication plan was needed to help us to better prepare for disasters in Berks County Pennsylvania.

Link 2 (Screencast provides two links… Just in case )

Case studys

Here’s my two choices for case studies (sorry I’m late!),

My first case study will be on  the 79 AD Mt Vesuvius eruption.  I chose this because I’d like to know why it seems people didn’t leave Pompeii when an eruption was imminent.  I think this is one of the more interesting eruptions in volcano “lore” and history.  Three things I’d like to learn are:

  1.  Why didn’t people leave
  2. Can it happen again, and when
  3. Would people leave if enough warning was give?

For my second case study I’d like to do the Lituya Bay megatsunami, that occurred on July 9, 1958, when an earthquake caused landslide created one of the highest waves in recorded history.  There weren’t mass casualties, but there were three fishing boats in the bay at the time, one of which sank, killing the crew.  Similar events happen around southeast Alaska with some frequency.  I’d like to learn:

  1. If there is way to predict “problem areas”
  2. How to improve monitoring and prediction
  3. How to improve community development near these areas

Earthquakes and Wildfires


My first study will be on the 2017 Thomas Fire that devastated Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties in California starting Monday Dec. 4th 2017.

       I chose this as my first case to learn how weather patterns atmospheric conditions as well as human influence may have contributed to what i thought was one of the most severe, hottest fires I have witnessed. i recall seeing so many car rims melted under the cars which had to be abandoned due to the speed and unpredictability of the several converging fires.

                            My Learning Goals for Case Study 1:

  1. I want to learn more about the science behind the Thomas Fire through science resources and your feedback.
  2. Assess the lessons learned by the community after the Fire.
  3. Teach fellow classmates about the events leading up to, during, and after the Thomas Fire.

My second case study will be on the 2011 Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, which preambled the Fukushima nuclear disaster on March 11th 2011.

I chose this as my second case because i believe we can learn some valuable lessons in both mitigation and response as well as the comparisons we could face as far as type and strength of this event which is still impacting oceanic wildlife and atmospheric air quality across the Globe.

                           My Learning Goals for Case Study 2:

  1. I want to learn more about the Geological science behind the Tohoku Earthquake.
  2. Analyze the monitoring and mitigation strategies used to reduce the costs of the disaster before, during and after The Earthquake including the Nuclear disaster.
  3. Recommend an improvement to the community monitoring, education, preparedness, when a  similar event happens in the future.
  4. Teach fellow classmates about the events leading up to, during, and after the Tohoku Earthquake.

Hello Everyone!

I’m Jasmine I am currently working on my double bachelors degree in Fine Arts/Criminal Justice and Minor in History. I am taking this course because well I have always had an interest in natural disaster anything that has to do with nature, animals, reptiles, insects. And this class also meets my upper level course degree requirements. I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for several years loved it! I now currently live in Upstate New York. I just know I am going to love this class. As I mentioned before I have always had a love for nature an the environment. I remember as a kid being excited when my monthly subscriptions of National Geographic magazine would come in.  I really enjoyed watching the National Geographic show alongside my other favorite show as a kid the Crocodile Hunter. The show just wasn’t the same once Steve passed. I still watch National Geographic channel. Now I am into a nature series that is new well new for me its call Planet Earth it comes on the BBC if you haven’t watch it you really should!

I can’t really choose between one natural hazard that I find the most interesting. To me I think all natural hazards disasters have a sense interesting  beauty to them nature is a powerful force.

The hazard I had experienced was in 2009 when I was in high school overseas in South Korea. In the spring season in Asia they have Yellow Dust Storms along with really horrible Monsoons. The Yellow Dust Storms are yellow colored dust pollutants covering the sky and getting everywhere. I remember watching the the sky turn a yellow orangish tint beautiful and strange all at the same time. The dust is so thick like thick fog and blowing so fast you can’t even see what is in front of you and its difficult to breathe. I remember looking out my apartment window and watching the news and it looked as though all of Asia had been caught in dryer’s lint trap the way the dust was blowing and sticking to everything vehicles,roads, and buildings. I remember the warnings on television with English subs telling everyone to stay inside and that the dust can cause severe  severe health issues especially in the eyes and for people with asthma. That’s one of the reasons why so many people walking around in Asia with doctor looking face mask especially during spring dust storm season. The yellow dust comes to South Korea and Japan  the yellow dust from the Gobi desert Mongolia and China blowing over this one of the reasons as to why Asian countries have a lot of pollutant environmental issues. So it was an interesting experience in itself to live overseas. And to also have  the experiences to compare not only the culture but the hazards and other environmental differences we experience in the States.

Im really excited about what I will learn throughout this class. I hope everyone enjoy’s the class as well!


Hi, everybody! My name is Flynn and I’m taking this class because it seemed like by far the most interesting class in the suite of geoscience classes being offered this semester. Most of my geology classes have mentioned geological hazards in one capacity or another, but none of them have gone too in-depth into the causes and effects of the disasters, or their mechanisms (perhaps with the exception of earthquakes and volcanoes).

I think that the type of natural hazard that I’m most interested in requires a bit broader definition of the term, but I find meteor impacts to be super fascinating. Of the hazards that we’re going to study in this class, I think that earthquakes are both super interesting and extremely relevant to us here in Alaska.

I’ve been fortunate enough in my life not to have been caught in any major natural hazards. Apart from a few “duck and cover” drills in school, I haven’t really encountered any of the hazards that we’re going to be covering. Actually, I tell a lie – I grew up in Anchorage, and a little more than ten years ago, Mt. Augustine had some minor activity that released ash plumes, which meant that everyone in Southcentral Alaska probably had to change their vehicles’ air filters about a month early. But apart from that close brush with death, the closest that I’ve come to a major natural disaster is learning about the ’64 earthquake or watching that movie about the 2004 south Asian tsunami. A particular disaster that I’m pretty interested in learning about is the earthquake that took place in 2011 off the coast of Japan. The reason that I’m interested in this earthquake in particular is that you may recall that this is the earthquake that led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown, which is the largest nuclear disaster in modern history. I think that this serves as a prime example of how natural hazards can exacerbate situations that might have already been risky by our standards. The earthquake itself didn’t cause the majority of the damage, it was actually the tsunami that was generated by the earthquake that led to the meltdown of the reactors. I think nuclear power could possibly be a solution to the fossil fuel crisis that we’re experiencing or about to experience, and part of making sure that nuclear power is implemented safely is making sure that any reactors could withstand any sort of natural disaster that might affect it.


Hi! My name is Trevor Jones and I was born and raised in Juneau, Alaska. I am enrolled in this course not only to gain an elective towards my Geology degree, but also because I find natural disasters entirely fascinating. To me, nothing is more interesting than the natural power that our Earth harnesses and the actual physical means behind it.

It is so hard to pick one particular natural disaster that interests me the most, I find all of them so worthy due to the unfathomable power and destructive potential all of them harness. However, atmospheric patterns have always been of keen interest to me, which is why I’d have to say that cyclones, tornadoes and hurricanes are my favorite. The thought that so much power and destruction can simply come from differences in pressures over various parcels of air is something that I have just so recently wrapped my head around and would love to learn more about it.

I have never experienced what I would consider a natural disaster, but I suppose one could classify the everyday weather alone in Juneau as disastrous. Because of the intricate and narrow channels surrounding Juneau to west followed by the vast Gulf of Alaska, Juneau is widely considered as a coastal climate. But, to the east there lies extensive ice fields and interior land that blow down large masses of dry cold air. In the winters this can cause cycles of extremely hazardous road conditions. Additionally, the layers of topography between Juneau and the Gulf of Alaska cause Juneau to experience high wind speeds and sometimes weeks of rain.

I look forward to learning more about the reasons behind the various types of natural disasters with all of you this year!


Hey everyone! My name is Cayla Rogers. I was born and raised in Alaska and am from Ninilchik. After graduating high school, I joined the Army for three and a half years and did a lot of traveling as a combat medic. After I was discharged, I wanted to get my bachelors degree. I am currently enrolled in the Environmental Science program at the University of Alaska Southeast with a minor in biology and am hoping to graduate by fall of 2018. I am not sure what I want to do after I graduate, but I am interested in conservation and psychology (wrong degree program for that interest, I know lol).

I am taking this course because I find natural disasters interesting and this course is one of the options under my degree program. I am excited to learn more about natural disasters, especially in Alaska.

While I find all natural disasters to be interesting, I think that earthquakes would have to be my favorite. This is because I think that it is interesting how the majority of naturally-occurring earthquakes are triggered by movement of the earth’s plates. The earth’s surface consists of 20 constantly moving plates. It is scary to think that these plates can move at any time and can cause major damage to large areas.

I haven’t been directly involved in a disastrous event, but there was a flood in my town that caused the collapse of a bridge. No one was hurt, thankfully. A  major rain event occured when I was in elementary school and the river a quarter of a mile from my house flooded. This flood caused the bridge into town to collapse. While it was a scary thing, all of the kids on my side of the bridge were also happy that this happened because it meant that we didn’t have to go to school for several days until they repaired the bridge!


Hi class my name is Hanna, I currently work for the National Park Service as a park guide in Fairbanks. I came to Alaska for a summer internship and ended up staying and have been here for almost four years. I’m originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota and went from cold to colder. Once I decided to stay in Fairbanks, I set myself on finishing my Earth Science degree at UAF. I’m taking this course to satisfy a requirement in my program, but also for my own enjoyment.

I find natural hazards fascinating, and growing up in the Midwest and in Saint Paul, I was often far away from natural disasters. I’ve experienced minimal hazards first hand. Occasionally the Mississippi River would flood, but nothing extreme and I have sat in my house while winter storms passed over the city.

Tornadoes and tsunamis are the two hazards I find most interesting. Tornadoes, because of how unpredictable the events can be and the sear amount of damage that can be inflected in a span of minutes. For tsunamis, because they utterly terrify me. After watching The Impossible, a movie about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, I’ve been intrigued by them. How do you survive a tsunami? How do you mitigate the loss of life and property? How do you warn residents of an approaching tsunami? How?! Also knowing that tsunamis don’t just happen in far of places but as well as here in Alaska has me wanting more information.

Introduction- James Kiefer

Hello everyone,

My name is James Kiefer and I am originally from Pennsylvania. I started my undergraduate studies at the University of Wyoming. I am studying Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and this will be my last semester at UAF. I took this course because it is one of the courses that needed to complete for my degree requirements. I enjoy learning about natural hazards and by taking this course I feel as though I will have a better understanding of them and how I can respond to them in the future as a first responder.

I am interested in almost every natural hazard, but I find hurricanes and volcanoes very interesting. I have lived on the east coast and have family members that live along the beach. I have helped clean up and prepare for hurricanes and have seen the damage and force that they bring to those areas. I also spent a lot of time in Wyoming and have been interested in the “super volcano ever since.

Living in different geological regions the United States, I have experienced many different natural disasters. Some examples include flooding’s, wildfires, hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes. I have worked on free range cattle ranches in Wyoming and California and while working there we experienced the strength and speed of wildfires. Ranching holds a strong place in my heart and these wildfires have been disastrous to a some of the ranches I have been apart of. I have also experienced hurricanes more often than not living on the east coast. In Pennsylvania we do not experience the full effect of the storm, but we are susceptible to high winds and heavy rains which causes flooding. My older sister lives right on the beach in new jersey and experienced one of the worst hurricanes the state has ever seen. Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey and our family spent a lot of time assisting families before and after the storms. While natural disasters can be extremely interesting they can impact large amounts of areas. I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge throughout this course! I wish you all the best.