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Update History

The following is a chronological history, in reverse order, of updates made to "Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages.


Updated page 9 of Appendix to describe water treatment with chlorine:  instructions to treat water initially with 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach remain the same.  Instructions were added to the Appendix to repeat dosage of chlorine if the water does not have a slight scent of chlorine after initial dose, stir, wait another 30 minutes, and to discard if no slight scent of chlorine.  This confirms scientific directions to the National Disaster Education Coalition from FDA & USDA.

Note:  in some past, outdated advice, there used to be differential treatment instructions on treating water that is cloudy or clear.  The instructions in the Appendix on water treatment address that issue by the initial dose/second dose instructions given.  We do not advise to double the dose of chlorine for initial water treatment if there is a perception of water being "cloudy".  That perception is variable and there are various reasons why water may be cloudy.  Some reasons are not related to germs contaminating water, but rather with suspended particulates (such as calcium or other minerals) that do not cause disease if ingested.  (This is why instructions recommend filtering out particulates first, if possible.  A coffee filter will serve that purpose well.)

The remainder of the instructions on water treatment remain the same.


Update History Page added: when updates to the "Talking About Disaster" Guide have been made, they are listed on the "Update History" page so you can follow progress.

Notification page modified: the "notification" page on the NDEC web site was updated. Users of AOL email need to unblock spam control or NDEC notifications will get bounced as undeliverable.


Disaster Supplies Kit chapter updated: added a recommendation to have prescription and non-prescription medications in a kit and to remove references to modeling clay. Not listing meds was an oversight during review. This recommendation was added to this chapter on page 3, third bullet. We also deleted a recommendation to have modeling clay as part of "shelter-in-place" supplies. (It was once thought that modeling clay would be useful to push into cracks in the room in which one sheltered, but that recommendation was deleted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.)

Nuclear Power Plant Incidents chapter was updated to make a factual correction. X-ray machines, televisions, and microwave ovens radiate non-ionizing radio-frequency energy, not ionizing nuclear radiation. A sentence that implied that radiation was emitted by these devices was removed.

Posted "One PDF File" of the "Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages." This file contains all files of the Guide in one large PDF. This file is 3.05MB in size. This complements the previously-posted ZIP file that contains individual PDFs of all chapters of the Guide.


Cover of the "Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages" has been changed and updated. The cover now lists the name of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with its subagencies the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration, along with the other organizations which agreed to be listed on the front cover of the Guide. FEMA and the USFA have long been involved with the National Disaster Education Coalition -- in fact, FEMA and USFA representatives have served on the Coalition since its founding more than ten years ago. It just took a while for approval to use the agency names to wend its way through the new departmental structure of DHS.

Index posted. The index is on all topics found in the "Talking About Disaster" Guide. You will find the index especially helpful when you're looking for something that is covered in more than one chapter.

Table of Contents updated: The Table of Contents now lists the chapter dates as well as the page "numbers" (by chapter code and number of pages.)


New chapter on "Terrorism" posted since it was cleared by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Appendix updated to conform with the posting of the Terrorism Chapter.


Family Disaster Plan chapter: One important change to this chapter was made, following an inquiry from the California Seismic Safety Commission. The change appears on Page 5, under the subhead "Make a Complete Checklist", second bullet. The changed information now reads, "Become familiar with the location and operation of shut-off valves. Do not actually turn any valve unless it is a real emergency. Place a tag on shut-off valves to make them easier to identify."

Previously, there was a suggestion to mark shut-off valves with fluorescent paint to make them easy to spot. We were notified that some utility companies objected to that recommendation, out of a concern that doing so may make the valve unable to be operated in an emergency. Upon concurrence from NDEC's principal participants knowledgeable or concerned about the issue, and with additional concurrence from the American Gas Association, we removed the "paint the valves" recommendation and replaced it with the revised wording above.


Volcanoes chapter change: The change was to reformat the PDF file so that the pages are numbered sequentially (VO-1, VO-2, VO-3, etc.).

Appendix, chapters on Terrorism, Family Disaster Plan, Disaster Supplies kit: Recent research conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratories on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security's FEMA has revealed that instructions on "shelter-in-place" for protection when there is gaseous chemical vapors in the air will be advising that people should only stay inside a sealed room for two to three hours, as eventually the air indoors may become worse than the air outdoors due to the effect of air exchange and equilibrium. Sealing a room with plastic sheeting and duct tape does not make it completely air-tight.


Page numbering of all chapters changed to reflect a two-letter code for the chapter, with sequential numbering within the chapter. Formatting changes made to many chapters. Replaced the words "citizens" and/or "Americans" in several chapters and replaced with "people" or "residents" so generic terminology is used. The Guide may be used internationally and nationality is not an applicable issue for disaster preparedness.

Also made the following technical changes:

Chemical Emergencies at Home: slight change to "What is a Home Chemical Emergency" section, Page 2, to add "spilled, accidentally released" in front of "used improperly" to help define the situation.

Disaster Supplies Kit: added comfort foods to list; changed "tube tent" to "small tent"; listed separately supplies that are required to shelter-in-place at home and described their uses.

Evacuation and Sheltering, Post-disaster Safety: revised negative "do not" messages to positive "what to do" messages in the section related to evacuation of animals.

Floods and Flash Floods: removed wrong reference to "thick smoke" in a message regarding evacuation of large animals which was duplicated in this chapter from the Wildfire chapter.

Hazardous Materials Incidents: replaced "seek" with "get" where "seek" was used.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms: revised negative "do not" messages to positive "what to do" messages in the section related to evacuation of animals.

Tornadoes: deleted duplicated message on page 4; replaced negative "do not" message with positive "what to do" messages.


Guide released and posted.


The National Disaster Education Coalition
This page was updated: 9/21/04 Sponsored by HomelandPLANS.com Site by eScapes