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    Eight Thing To Do On How To Prevent Wildfires

    By David Simpson

    It only takes minutes. The colorado wildfires that struck last summer were a stark reminder of the unbelievable destruction that can take place in an obscenely short amount of time. Experts estimate that more than 600 homes were destroyed, causing about $450 million in damage due to the destructive force of Colorado’s fires

    Across the United States, wildfires cause billions of dollars in damage per year. In 2009 alone, 78,792 wildfires occurred in the U.S., damaging nearly six-million acres of land, FEMA statistics indicate.

    Southern California is also vulnerable, as the Santa Ana winds that blow through the fall and winter can cause utter devastation.

    If you want to secure your home against a wildfire or brush fire, you need to take into account the building materials and design of your home and the placement of near-home vegetation.

    Examine the following eight vulnerable spots, and find out what you can do to keep your home safe from a fire.

    1. TARGET 1 Roof Coverings and Edge

      Your roof covering and the edge are the most vulnerable parts of your home. These areas endure the most exposure to the elements: rain, sun, wind and so on. During a wildfire, this is the area most susceptible to embers.
      Action Step: Know your roof’s fire rating. Class A classifies the highest rating, while Class C classifies the lowest. Even if you have a Class A roof, it’s vulnerable to wildfire if the roof has a complex number of angles. Embers can more easily collect in the joints.
      The material of your roof covering also makes a difference. Rounded tiles may allow openings for not only birds and rodents to enter the roof, but flame exposure. If you have a round tile roof, then you should install bird stops. They won’t necessarily keep tiny embers out of the space, but it should significantly reduce the accumulation of combustible debris.

    2. TARGET 2 Gutters

      Similarly, debris can also collect around skylights and in rain gutters.
      Action Step: Clear out your gutters before fire season, because the debris can easily ignite in a wildfire. A metal gutter can hold the debris in place, so that it burns up onto the edge of the roof.
      A roof edge can be vulnerable depending on the materials the builders used and how well the flashing protects the edge. A vinyl (plastic) gutter will melt and fall off. The potential is there that the burning contents will ignite materials or vegetation on the ground.

    3. TARGET 3 Attics

      If you’ve ever gone up into your attic during hot temperatures, you know that this enclosure is usually hot and dry meaning that fire will spread easily here.
      Note: The most secure type of attic is ventless, and the best way to make use of this is to build your home that way. If your home is already built, experts do not advise closing off your vents without considering moisture-related damage issues.

    4. TARGET 4 Overhangs

      Wider overhangs are more susceptible

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      Family Emergency Survival Kit Checklist

      By David Simpson

      Unpredictable. That’s what disasters are. So when you’re out in the wilderness on your own or with your family and a disaster strikes—an earthquake, flood or tornado it’s essential that you’re prepared.

      Keep these crucial safety tips from a survival expert in mind when staying in the same location (barring any safety concerns)… they could very well save your life.

      1. Water

        Once you’re safe and secure, the number one priority for a family in a disaster is water. It’s advisable to shelter in place unless it’s hazardous. “Water is definitely going to be the number one precious commodity that’s going to go quickly,” says Jerry Ward, owner and operator at Ozark Mountain Preparedness, an outdoor wilderness survival school based in Berryville, Arkansas. “The rule of thumb I recommend is 3 gallons per person, per day, minimum.
        That’s to cover drinking, cooking, washing and hygiene.” He advises to have some sort of water storage available plastic bottles from big box stores and 40-gallon plastic barrels are perfect.

      2. Shelter

        Barring any safety concerns or forced evacuation, it’s ideal for a family to stay in place and seek refuge in their home. “It’s a whole lot easier and more comfortable for a family if they’re already established in their home,” Ward says. “They’ve got all their stuff at home. This is especially important if they have kids. Plus, if you’re at the house, you’ve got all the stuff you’ve stockpiled.”
        You’ll want to have sufficient clothing on hand based on the season, as well as a heating source, such as a wood stove; these are crucial to ensuring your body temperature stays at the recommend 98.6 F.

      3. Medical Kit

        Unexpected disasters can lead to mechanical and soft tissue injuries. That’s why it’s essential to have a good quality medical kit on hand. Ward suggests assembling your own based on family needs. If you lack the knowledge, don’t fret, there are several companies that make kits specifically for the wilderness.
        If you’re assembling your own medical kit, Ward recommends including at a bare minimum the following items: quality tweezers, EMT shears, cling wrap (to keep wounds clean and create tension), a quality space blanket and over-the-counter medications. It’s also doesn’t hurt to have some professional-grade medical training. You might not always have a medical kit on hand, so you might need to improvise.

      4. Protection

        When a disaster strikes, there are plenty of good Samaritans who will offer help. Unfortunately, there are also people who try to do you harm.
        Safety, whether it’s from humans or wild animals, needs to be a high priority. “I recommend for anybody who lives in an area where they are allowed, to purchase a firearm and get proper training,” Ward advises.
        If you aren’t keen on owning a gun, some good alternatives include defensive martial arts training and dogs. Not only will a dog keep you company, it will alert you of trespassers.

      5. Food

        Although food isn’t as crucial as

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        Pistol vs Shotgun vs Rifle vs AR15 for Home Defense

        By David Simpson

        WHICH GUN IS BEST: A PISTOL, A SHOTGUN, A RIFLE OR AN AR-15?

        You can ask this question of five different people and get five answers. Depending where you ask the question could determine a different answer as much as who you ask. If you were to ask a salesperson, they may say “the one that you can conceal the best.” A physical trainer may say the gun that is the lightest to carry is the best choice. Talk to an instructor at a gun range and that person is likely to tell you the one that best fits your hand and is the most comfortable to shoot is what you should buy.

        If you ask me which gun is best, I’ll ask you what’s the target? In other words, our world has become a world of choices. For the gun enthusiasts, it’s like walking into a candy store with 50 choices. However, for a person who doesn’t know a Colt from a Kimber it can be overwhelming. Below we’ll break down the four most common types of guns and discuss their pros and cons.

        Pistol

        The most common reason a person buys a gun is for home protection. A pistol is nice because it can easily fit in a small drawer of a night-stand, under a mattress or in a holster hanging from the headboard. But… in all of these cases, the gun isn’t locked up. Do you have children in the house? If so, none of those should be options of where to store a pistol. Be responsible and get a safe and use a trigger lock.

        1. REVOLVER VS. AUTO
          Now, what type of pistol, a revolver or an automatic? Either can be bought new for under $400 depending on the caliber. Most revolvers will limit you to six shots and you will feel more of
          the kick. An automatic can hold as many as 17 shots in a full size frame.
          Accuracy isn’t the selling point of a pistol. How it feels in your hand and does its work when you need it to means more than if you can hit a target at 100 yards. Most law enforcement officers who use their pistols do so at a distance of 15 to 20 feet or less. A pistol is ideal for close range but should have sufficient stopping power.
        2. WHAT CALIBER?
          Calibers are like horsepower…there’s no replacement for displacement and horsepower comes at a cost of mileage, noise and size. A 9mm is a very common caliber and one with respectable ballistics. It’s easy to find on most ammo shelves and isn’t the most expensive choice.
          A double tap in the chest of most bad guys will keep you alive and them wishing they would have stayed home. For those of you looking for the 4×4 of pistols, there are several options. Stopping power is available from several calibers.
          The most popular are .357 magnum, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Keep in mind these
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          Safest Place To Be And What To Do In An Earthquake

          By David Simpson

          Back in the 1970s, the mantra was “duck and cover.” She knew that when the ground started to shake, she should steer clear of glass and tall furniture, find a sturdy table for cover and hold on until the shaking stopped. At 5:04 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989, all that practice was put to good use.

          That’s when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area. The Loma Prieta quake killed 63 people, injured 3,757 and left thousands of people homeless. James, who worked in an office building at the time, dove under her desk when the ground started to shake violently. All around her, cubicle walls toppled, papers and office supplies flew, and fluorescent lights and ceiling tiles crashed down.

          Because she knew what to do, she avoided injury. “I didn’t have to think twice about what to do,” she recalls. “My desk was in the middle of the room, and so the safest place was underneath it. I held on while the ground shook and, once it stopped, I carefully climbed my way out and calmly hurried out of the building.

          Thank goodness nobody in our office was hurt.” Do you know what to do during an earthquake? Here, we’ve outlined three scenarios at home, in a high-rise building and outside and described what to do to keep yourself and your family safe.

          How to survive an earthquake at home

          When you’re at home and feel an earthquake, drop to the ground and take cover under a desk or sturdy table. Hold on tight to the table until the shaking stops and if it moves, move with it. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the room.

          Use a doorway for shelter only if it is in close proximity to you and if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway. If you’re in bed, stay put. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall, or your bed is near a window that could shatter. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.earthquake-safety-tips-1
          If you’re in the kitchen, move away from the refrigerator and stove, as they could move and shift with the shaking ground. Stay away from overhead cupboards, which could easily open and lose their contents if they’re not latched shut.

          No matter where you are in the house, stay away from windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants and other heavy objects that could fall. Watch out for falling plaster, bricks and ceiling tiles. Stay inside and under cover until the earthquake is over.

          Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave. Remember that aftershocks may occur and some of them can be just as jolting as the initial … Read the rest

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            How To Preserve Food: Best Food Preservation Methods Crucial To Survival

            By David Simpson

            It’s simply a hobby … unless you’re confronted with a disaster. Then it becomes crucial for survival. Home canning is a hobby that many people consider a passion. But, if disaster strikes, that’s when the stockpile of healthy provisions becomes invaluable. But before you rush out to buy your supplies and start adding to your pantry, follow these guide-lines to ensure your emergency food is safe and sanitary.

            Best Foods

            Your first step as a food preservation expert is to determine the foods you will be storing. Highly acid foods like peaches, pears, tomatoes and apples taste the best and last the longest because the natural acids in the fruits help in the long-term preservation process. You can also jar or pickle low-acid vegetables like carrots, beans, cucumbers and peas, but the pickling spices and salt may discolor or break down the composition of the produce.


            You’ll want to avoid any foods from the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage) because these foods will disintegrate during the boiling process, resulting in a big pile of jarred mush, advises registered dietitian and canning expert Kathryn Hollering. Meat, poultry and game can be jarred, but they require a pressure cooker and extremely sanitary processes to avoid bacteria.

            The proper steps

            The most important key to good canning is purchasing firm, high quality produce from a local farmer, particularly a farm that is native to your state, Hollering advises.
            Produce that travels a long distance to get to you will lose part of its flavor and quality along the way and the same is true for meat and poultry.

            If you are using fresh game, it must be properly cleaned and kept cool until canned. Even though mobility might be important to you in an emergency, sturdy glass jars are the best and safest storage for your stockpile.

            Ball mason jars, lids and rings are the easiest to find in the United States, and they can be purchased online or at a variety of local hardware, grocery and department stores. Keep in mind: you absolutely must use new lids that fit precisely for each particular size jar. Reusing old lids can lead to contamination of the food. Your last purchase should be the apparatus used to prepare your product.
            There are three types of preparation: pressure boiling, water bath and open kettle, says Hollering. “They all use a form of boiling the product, but they are different and must be applied to the appropriate foods, or botulism can occur,” she says.

            A pressure cooker is a large kettle with a strong lid, sometimes with a clamp and a built-in gauge for watching the boiler temperature. For water bath canning, often used when canning fresh fruit, you will need a four-gallon kettle and lid which holds seven jars during the process.
            Although you can employ the same four-gallon kettle for the open-kettle method, this style of canning is not recommended because the food may Read the rest

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              5 Reasons to Build an Underground Shelter

              By David Simpson

              Sept. 1, 2011 changed the world forever. Terrorist attacks can occur in any shape, any form, any city. And how about the economy? Or solar flares? Mother nature’s earthquakes can also create havoc on the world. All these serve as not-so-gentle reminders that we ought to be prepared … for just about anything.

              Enough searching on the Internet and you might find the schematics for the perfect underground shelter, but when do you know if it’s the right time to build one? “Having an underground shelter is like having life insurance,” says Marc “Eagle Eyes,” author of “Earth Changes, Get Ready” and the builder of 56 log shelters. “You certainly can be more relaxed about the uncertain future when you have a fully stocked under-ground shelter.” The very point of having an underground shelter is being prepared before catastrophe hits, but if you’re looking for the perfect reason to start construction, examine these top five reasons.

              1. Neutralize nuclear attack risks

              The fear of nuclear materials being sold on the black market is a concern that permeates the thoughts of many Americans. You can find resources on the Internet to learn where historical enemy targets are within the United States.

              Most of these targets are military bases, shipyards, missile silos, high-tech industrial regions, transportation hubs and highly populated areas like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. If you’re in these likely zones, it might benefit you to build an under-ground shelter right away. Many experts predict that a nuclear attack will happen, and some say it may happen in the next few years.

              2. Watch out for war

              Tensions persist in various parts of the world, and should there be a war, you may find that having an underground shelter will be invaluable even a potential lifesaver.
              Many are concerned about Israel and Iran’s nuclear sites, which may spread radiation across the Middle East.

              Others can see the possibility of dirty bomb attacks in the United States due to this continued strife. “It’s easier to think of all the reasons to build an underground shelter now rather than think of the reasons not to,” “Eagle Eyes” says. “The governments of the world know something is coming, so as individuals, we need to take note and prepare as soon as possible.”

              3. Ease the fear of economic collapse

              The economy of the United States continues to sink, so do you know what you’ll do if the value of the dollar drops to nothing and infrastructures break down? You can be the one who is fully prepared by building an underground shelter. Consider creating a shelter that includes more than simply survival gear. Here, you can store stockpiles of foods and goods that may be hard to come by in the event of an economic collapse.

              4. Evade the effects of an environmental disaster

              Images of natural disasters have no doubt burned into your consciousness. Whether a hurricane, tornado, earth-quake or flood strikes, the victims … Read the rest

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                How To Survive A Shooting Massacre Or Terrorist Attack

                By David Simpson

                This, like the others, took more innocent victims. Everyone seems preoccupied with asking so many questions in an attempt to understand why these perpetrators kill and who is to blame: parents, the media, video games, guns or the economy? These are all the wrong questions!

                Men, women and children worldwide have been the victims of such attacks for years. The massacres in Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Aurora, Mumbai, India, Beslan, Russia, Tuusula, Finland, Utoya Island, Norway, Toulouse, France and many others are tragic examples of the threat that shooters pose to public safety.

                Yet, many people chose to ignore the risk by assuming that such attacks will not happen or believing that they can be protected by local law enforcement. These are dangerous assumptions.

                Full security

                We all know that there is no such thing as 100 percent security, and no one knows where and when the next attack will occur. Active shooters and terrorists always attack the most vulnerable targets. They plan their attacks meticulously and over a long period of time and exploit weaknesses in security systems.

                They attack with surprise and their goal is to inflict the largest number of casualties as quickly as possible. That is why most casualties in these incidents occur during the first 10 minutes, before law enforcement intervention.

                Whether the shooter is a mentally deranged person, a religious fanatic, a vengeful employee or an outcast student, they all use similar tactics and the results are always the same: large scale death and suffering. As community leaders, business managers, teachers and parents, we are in a position of trust.

                If we do not act responsibly, we are failing those who put their trust in us and accept the loss of innocent lives. Doing nothing to prepare and accepting defeat is unethical and un-American.

                As Americans, we do not give in or give up. We know that life is sacred and we fight for what is right. A mass murderer killing innocent men, women and children is wrong! It is time we start asking ourselves the most important question: What can be done to survive and stop the violence during the attackwhen escape is impossible and the shooter is on location killing people?

                Under attack

                Under life-threatening circumstances, a person will automatically resort to employing skills and a plan of action that have been practiced previously. In order to survive, we must be trained to think like a survivor, manage the stress and follow through with an effective plan of action.

                There is no doubt that victims of such attacks all share a common desire of staying alive. What they lack is the knowledge necessary to act in self-preservation. In courses funded by the Department of Homeland Security, we teach participants how to rapidly assess the threat, locate exits, use cover and evacuate safely when possible, or how to barricade in an enclosed space and deny access to the shooter.

                The program teaches … Read the rest

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                  How To Cope With Natural Disasters Or Traumatic Event

                  By David Simpson

                  “I thought I was having a stroke.”
                  “I felt my arm shaking. I had a glass of water in my hand, and it began to splash about. I thought I was shaking, but then I realized everything on the table was being knocked about. It came to me. I’m not moving the room is!”
                  That was “Dave.”
                  Following is “Mike.”
                  “It was about 2:00 a.m., and my dog started barking. I felt the building shaking like crazy. I thought, ‘This is it. I’m going to die.'” And “Tony.” “A few hours ago I had a house. Now I have nothing. It’s all gone. But I was lucky my family and I are alive.”
                  These are the actual words of my patients. They are relating what it felt like to be in an earthquake. All of the quotes are from actual experiences. As you can tell, no one enjoys that experience.

                  Our needs

                  We have an innate psychological need for security, and we need to believe we are in control. When something challenges that belief, it causes stress and throws us into a state of disequilibrium.

                  There is perhaps no greater feeling of disequilibrium and of losing control than to be caught in an earthquake. The physical disorientation we may experience parallels our psychological disorientation.

                  We can lose our physical and emotional balance as we lose the stability of solid ground beneath our feet. People react differently to the crisis of an earthquake. Some stay calm, using humor to help defuse the tension. Others direct their concern toward other people, while some give in to despair and panic. There is a solution.

                  Preparing Emotionally for a Disaster or Emergency

                  Many people especially those who live in areas prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, quakes, tornados and severe snow storms have emergency kits in their homes. These kits usually include first-aid materials, flashlights, batteries, water, food, blankets, etc. Such preparation makes sense, but you should also have an emotional preparedness kit. In this type of kit, there are various “items” you want to have stored in your mind before a crisis. These are important ideas that you would do well to consider and review regularly before you find yourself confronted by a natural calamity.

                  1. Don’t panic

                    Easy to say, hard to do, right? Not necessarily. How does the Army train recruits not to panic in combat? By practicing countless drills and simulations you can create your own mental drills.
                    Practice even if only in your imagination what you will do and think when facing a particular threat, like an earthquake.
                    The more you mentally rehearse what you will do, the easier it will be to channel your fear into productive action, and productive action replaces panic.

                  2. Talk to yourself

                    Remind yourself to stay calm, breathe and think positive thoughts. Negativity such as, “I can’t handle this!” or “I’ll never make it!” will lead to negative results. If you believe you can not survive, you won’t.

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                    Survival in the Wake of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake: A Day-by-Day Account

                    By David Simpson

                    Thank goodness for slow traffic in port au prince.
                    Following my training class, I was on my way back to the Hotel Montana with my driver, Fanel Antoine. Because I had stayed at the bank a little later than usual, he was trying to deliver me as fast as he could, but to no avail. A large truck in front of us was lumbering up the steep, winding hill to the hotel, blocking our way. We were finally seconds away from the hotel when our whole world started to shake. The car rocked back and forth. A tall retaining wall crumbled right before our eyes, onto the truck ahead.

                    The hillside and the roadway collapsed behind us, but the car was untouched. The violent shaking lasted about 30 seconds. Having experienced a couple of earthquakes, I knew pretty much right away that we needed to get out of the car, into the open and certainly away from what remained of the retaining wall. The road was blocked in both directions, so Fanel and I decided to walk the last 200 yards to the hotel. Fanel didn’t speak English and I don’t speak French, but we managed to communicate with expressions and a few common words.

                    The Hotel Montana was touted as a four-star hotel near Petionville, a Port au Prince suburb. It was the premier place to stay and be seen in Haiti, a secure and stable refuge from the reality of the rest of the city. But when we got to the hotel site, it was no longer standing. All six stories had collapsed on top of one another like a stack of pancakes. Nearly 300 people died in the hotel’s rubble. If Fanel had gotten me to the hotel two minutes earlier, I would have been crushed under tons of concrete along with everyone else who was in the building. The survivors were shouting, crying and screaming, and the scene was chaos.

                    I tried to call my wife, but the cell service went down almost immediately and stayed offline for days. I recognized a bartender and a couple of waiters that I had befriended. They were a little bloodied, but said they were okay. The shopping area, restaurant, bar and parking garage had all collapsed. I heard shouts from under the debris in the parking garage and the hotel, but there was no way to get to the people underneath. It was the most horrible, helpless feeling I had ever experienced

                    • TUESDAY JAN. 12, 5:30 P.M.

                      Fanel insisted that our only alternative was to walk the six, hilly miles back to the bank in downtown Port au Prince. By that point it was getting dark. This was not a strategy I would have considered even 45 minutes earlier. The pathways of Port au Prince could be mean streets, especially at night, and I was a pretty conspicuous target in a Haitian crowd. Taking stock, I had with me my messenger bag with my passport, laptop, cell phone,

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                      Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

                      By David Simpson

                      Magnitude 9.0 earthquake. More than 22,000 dead. Damage price tag of $235 billion.

                      The 2011 Tohoku Earthquake (also referred to as the Great East Japanese Earthquake) that occurred on March 11, 2011 and the tsunami that followed devastated much of Japan, and it was the most expensive natural disaster in history.

                      Out of the tremendous devastation that followed, however, many important lessons were learned. We’ve highlighted some of the most important ones here so you can be armed with knowledge that will help you survive if a quake hits your region.

                      1. Early warning system

                        Japan has arguably the world’s most advanced early warning system in the world for earthquakes and tsunamis. As soon as the first waves of the Japanese earthquake occurred and its strength was understood, tens of millions of Japanese residents received an alert via text message, e-mail or on television, to name just a few of the ways it was delivered.

                        While the alert’s impact ranged greatly depending on how far victims were from the epicenter of the earthquake, even just a few seconds was enough time for many drivers to get off of bridges, for students to huddle under their desks and for all trains to automatically stop running.
                        Early warning signals save lives. As more technology users around the world subscribe to such systems or have them publicly available during the next massive quake, fewer lives will be lost.

                      2. Earthquakes not just a pacific problem

                        While California and Japan often get much of the press related to earthquakes and tsunamis, earthquakes have struck the rest of the United States numerous times since the country’s founding—and could again at any time. Damaging earthquakes have occurred in areas east of the Mississippi River in areas as diverse as Washington, D.C.,Tampa, Fla., and Memphis, Tenn.
                        Perhaps most frightening thing about these EastCoast quakes is the deadliest of them—the 1886 Charleston Earthquake—occurred where no tremor had ever been felt before and claimed close to 100 lives.

                      Nuclear strength

                      The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a devastating reminder about the power of earthquakes—as well as the damage that a nuclear meltdown can cause in just a matter of minutes. In response to the tragedy, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) created a list of recommendations for securing our nuclear facilities using a three-tiered, prioritized schedule. Some of the agency’s recommendations were as follows:

                      TIER 1 To be started immediately:

                      • Seismic and flood hazard reevaluations
                      • Station blackout regulatory actions
                      • Spent fuel pool instrumentation
                      • Stronger emergency operating procedures and severe accident management guidelines

                      TIER 2 To be initiated when further information is available:

                      • Spent fuel pool makeup capability
                      • Emergency preparedness regulatory actions
                      • Reevaluation of other external hazards (tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, etc.)

                      TIER 3 To be addressed after tiers 1 and 2 are completed:

                      • Ten-year confirmation of seismic and flooding hazards
                      • Potential enhancements to the capability to prevent or mitigate seismically-induced fires and floods
                      • Emergency response data system capability
                      • Emergency preparedness topics for decision-making, radiation monitoring and public education
                      • Pre-staging of
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