Typhoon prep: What to do before, during, and after
- Preparing for a typhoon is an important task. Here are a few battle-tested strategies on how to make it through
The Philippines is the fourth most affected country by extreme weather. An average of 20 typhoons enter the country yearly, with potentially more to come due to the adverse effects of climate change. More recently, typhoons Odette and Karding have wreaked havoc on certain regions of the country, leaving people reeling due to the devastation.
While it’s the responsibility of the government to address the underlying issues that intensify the effects of these natural hazards —such as illegal logging, deforestation, and urban planning to name a few—we must also give ourselves the best chance of survival during these events.
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When Typhoon Odette hit my hometown of Cebu, I was not present for the destruction. But hearing the stories of family and friends who survived the near-apocalyptic ordeal gave me an idea of just how catastrophic being underprepared for a typhoon can be.
It’s sad to say that there are more typhoons heading our way. We can’t do anything about that, but here are some ways we can prepare ourselves for the worst. After all, natural hazards like earthquakes and typhoons only become disasters when we are not equipped to handle the risks involved, according to disaster preparedness experts.
Before the typhoon
Prepare an emergency bag
If you haven’t already prepared an emergency bag , this is the time to do so. An emergency bag should be filled with extra clothes, medicine, food, important documents, and duplicates of house keys.
All the paper items should be kept in a ziplock bag in case of flooding. You can also upload all of these documents on a secure online drive so you can still access them if you’ve lost the physical copies.
Everyone in the household should have their own emergency bag filled with their necessities.
Stock up on supplies
Something most Cebuanos got wrong when Typhoon Odette hit was underestimating the destruction it would wreak on the city. Food, potable water, and other necessary supplies were in high demand because most of them weren’t able to stock up.
Right before a typhoon hits, your priorities should be securing enough food and drinking water for everyone in the household for at least three days (rescue usually arrives 72 hours after a disaster hits). If you have pets, make sure to have enough food and water for them, as well. You should also save up on water for washing.
When it comes to food, buy things you won’t need to heat in order to consume. Items like pork and beans, canned tuna, sausages, and other instant foods are a good option. Instant noodles could be tempting, but those need to be boiled in order to be eaten.
Preparing all the necessary common and prescription medicine, as well as having a first aid kit will also come in handy. Injuries and illness are typical during typhoon season and drug stores may be inaccessible.
You’ll also need to fill up your car’s tank. Fuel can be difficult to come by in a post-typhoon setting. Gasing up before a big typhoon will ensure that your car is ready to go in case of any emergencies.
Buying personal safety gear like work boots, rain coats, and heavy duty gloves will also help you post-typhoon. You’ll need them to safely assess the damage outside, clean up, and possibly wade through the floods.
Secure your home
Whether you live in a condo or in an actual house, you have to secure all your windows and doors. Common knowledge would encourage you to tape up your windows, but it could end up creating larger and more dangerous shards of glass if your windows do end up breaking.
Check for any drafts and leaks in the house and temporarily secure them with newspaper and electric tape. If you have any outdoor furniture, make sure to bring them inside so they won’t fly around and potentially damage anything during the storm.
For people who live in houses, weigh down any large outdoor furniture that won’t fit inside your home. The rule of thumb is that if you can move it around, no matter how large, you’ll need to secure it.
If the typhoon becomes stronger than expected, you’ll also have to unplug all your appliances to prevent fire.
Have a safety plan for your pets
This should go without saying, but apparently it needs to be said. When Typhoon Ulysses hit Manila in 2020, animal rescues and non-profits had to work through deadly conditions to rescue pets that were left by their owners when it came time to evacuate.
If you can, add your contact information on your dog’s collar or get them microchipped in case they get lost. If your pets aren’t safe to stay with you at home, decide on whether you should leave them with a friend or family member who lives in a less flood-prone area.
If your pet is safe to stay with you at home, please bring them inside. Most animals are light enough to get carried by the wind or freak out and run off. It’s a terrifying ordeal for people who know what’s going on, so it’s likely even moreso for animals who don’t.
Again, it should go without saying, but please bring your pets inside.
A good number of people have a reliance on online banking, but you’re going to need cash in case of emergencies. Portions of Cebu had to go without electricity for months, which means access to banking apps, ATMs, and credit cards were severely limited.
It’s important to withdraw cash right before a typhoon hits so that you can secure more supplies after the typhoon, especially if the damage is so severe that recovery will take weeks or months.
Ready your tech
Make sure to charge all devices and power banks right before a typhoon. If the electricity goes out during the typhoon, you’ll also need lamps and flashlights as a source of light.
If the damage to your area is severe, it may take days or even weeks to get electricity back. That means recharging your devices is out of the question. Your best friend in this situation is anything solar-powered and waterproof. There are lots of affordable options for solar-powered lamps that won’t need electricity to charge.
If possible, you should also invest in a battery-powered radio to check for news updates. You should conserve the batteries on your phones by only using it when necessary and not to pass the time.
Decide where to stay
Not everyone has the luxury to stay home in case of a typhoon. People in low-lying areas have to make a decision on whether they should stay or evacuate. If your area has a history of flooding and the typhoon is predicted to hit it severely, it’s better to evacuate. Identify and talk to contacts, like family or friends, who can give you temporary shelter.
Before you evacuate, make sure to unplug all your appliances and switch off the main power to prevent any fire-related accidents.
Being safe is of the utmost importance and evacuating may give you a better chance of survival.
For people staying home, you should choose where to stay if the typhoon becomes severe. Ideally, you should choose a room without windows so you won’t worry about potential injuries from broken glass. It should be big enough to fit everyone comfortably, too.
I cannot stress this enough: stay put. At the height of the typhoon, everyone should be in the designated area with all the emergency equipment, supplies, and emergency bags in case you have to evacuate.
As tempting as it is, don’t look outside. Windows can easily shatter at high speeds. A friend of mine almost got into an accident during Odette because the wind tore her air conditioning unit off the wall. Staying inside and staying put is the safest way to go through a typhoon.
Make sure everyone is accounted for and tune the radio to an AM station to get updates on the weather and road conditions.
Lastly, you should try to get comfortable. Have items like pillows, blankets, and something to help calm and ground you (like a stuffed toy or essential oils) to help ease your anxiety during the worst of the typhoon. You can even prepare board games and cards to pass the time (and so you won’t have to keep using your phone).
Being anxious, distressed, and generally stressed are normal responses to a traumatic situation, which is what living through a disastrous typhoon is. It’s okay to feel all these emotions, but being prepared is key in relieving some of those feelings.
If a typhoon as powerful as Odette ever wreaks havoc on Metro Manila, we can expect hours of intense wind and rain. Buildings can sway during this time, which makes it more terrifying, but being as comfortable as possible can help things go easier.
Once the worst of the typhoon has passed and the wind and rain have calmed down, check all of the supplies you prepared before the typhoon. Make sure all the food is still good and the water is clean. You may have to ration these supplies if your area was severely affected.
Keep the radio on and listen for any updates regarding the weather conditions in your area.
Next, you should assess any damage inside your home. Put on your protective gear (boots and gloves are the most important) and carefully assess each part of your home to check for damage.
You should start inside the house before going to check outside. Common internal damage would be broken windows and fallen items. Before stepping foot outside, see if there are any large obstacles like fallen trees and branches that might injure you and plan accordingly.
If weather permits, you should start cleaning up inside and outside your home. There will be lots of debris you’ll need to clear.
Even with all the preparations, it is normal to feel grief or distress about any losses and difficulties you went through. You might feel others had it worse, but your feelings are valid and your recovery is important. Remember that you need to be well before taking care of others.
As weather conditions continue to worsen, we must prepare ourselves for whatever happens. Being ready for anything is the least you can do for yourself and the people you care about.
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Hurricane/Typhoon Emergency Preparedness
What is a Tropical Cyclone?
Tropical cyclones are among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. If you live in an area prone to tropical cyclones, you need to be prepared. Even areas well away from the coastline can be threatened by destructive winds, tornadoes and flooding from these storms.
A tropical cyclone is a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation. Tropical cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.
A Post-Tropical Cyclone is a system that no longer possesses sufficient tropical characteristics to be considered a tropical cyclone. Post-tropical cyclones can still bring heavy rain and high winds.
While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depressions also can be devastating. Floods from heavy rains and severe weather, such as tornadoes, can cause extensive damage and loss of life. For example, Tropical Storm Allison produced over 40 inches of rain in the Houston area in 2001, causing about $5 billion in damage and taking the lives of 41 people.
Tropical cyclones forming between 5 and 30 degrees North latitude typically move toward the west. Sometimes the winds in the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere change and steer the cyclone toward the north and northwest. When tropical cyclones reach latitudes near 30 degrees North, they often move northeast. Hurricane seasons and their peaks are as follows:
- Atlantic and Caribbean: Jun. 1 to Nov. 30 with peak mid-August to late October.
- Central Pacific (Hawaii): Jun. 1 to Nov. 30 with peak from July to September.
- East Pacific: May 15 to November 30
- Western North Pacific: Tropical cyclones can strike year round
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preventative measures. In the western North Pacific, the term “super typhoon” is used for tropical cyclones with sustained winds exceeding 150 mph.
Storm surge and large waves produced by hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property along the coast.
STORM SURGE is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm’s winds. Storm surge can reach heights well over 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastline. In the northern hemisphere, the highest surge values typically occur in the right front quadrant of a hurricane coincident with onshore flow; in the southern hemisphere, the left front quadrant. More intense and larger hurricanes produce higher surge. In addition, shallower offshore waters contribute to higher storm surge inundation. Storm surge is by far the greatest threat to life and property along the immediate coast.
STORM TIDE is the water level rise during a storm due to the combination of storm surge and the astronomical tide. For example, if a hurricane moves ashore at a high tide of 2 feet, a 15 foot surge would be added to the high tide, creating a storm tide of 17 feet. The combination of high winds and storm tide topped with battering waves can be deadly and cause tremendous property damage along an area of coastline hundreds of miles wide.
The destructive power of storm surge and large battering waves can result in loss of life, buildings destroyed, beach and dune erosion and road and bridge damage along the coast. Storm surge can travel several miles inland. In estuaries and bayous, salt water intrusion endangers public health and the environment.
Historical Storm Tide Events
- 1900: Galveston, TX, hurricane, resulted in more than 8,000 deaths, most by storm tide.
- 1969: Hurricane Camille produced a 24-foot storm tide in Mississippi.
- 1989: Hurricane Hugo generated a 20-foot storm tide in South Carolina.
- 1992: Hurricane Iniki produced a 6-foot storm tide on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.
- 2005: Hurricane Katrina generated a 27-foot storm tide in Mississippi.
- 2008: Hurricane Ike produced a 20-foot storm tide in Texas.
Hurricanes and tropical storms can also produce tornadoes. These tornadoes most often occur in thunderstorms embedded in rain bands well away from the center of the hurricane; however, they can also occur near the eyewall. Usually, tornadoes produced by tropical cyclones are relatively weak and short-lived, but they still pose a significant threat.
Hurricane-force winds, 74 mph or more, can destroy buildings and mobile homes. Debris, such as signs, roofing material, siding and small items left outside become flying missiles during hurricanes. Winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland. In 2004, Hurricane Charley made landfall at Punta Gorda on the southwest Florida coast and produced major damage well inland across central Florida with gusts of more than 100 mph.
Tropical cyclones often produce widespread, torrential rains in excess of 6 inches, which may result in deadly and destructive floods. In fact, flooding is the major threat from tropical cyclones for people living inland. Flash flooding, defined as a rapid rise in water levels, can occur quickly due to intense rainfall. Longer term flooding on rivers and streams can persist for several days after the storm.
Rainfall amounts are not directly related to the strength of tropical cyclones but rather to the speed and size of the storm, as well as the geography of the area. Slower moving and larger storms produce more rainfall. In addition, mountainous terrain enhances rainfall from a tropical cyclone.
The strong winds of a tropical cyclone can cause dangerous waves that pose a significant hazard to mariners and coastal residents and visitors. When the waves break along the coast, they can produce deadly rip currents—even at large distances from the storm.
Rip currents are channeled currents of water flowing away from shore, usually extending past the line of breaking waves, that can pull even the strongest swimmers away from shore.
In 2008, despite the fact that Hurricane Bertha was more than a 1,000 miles offshore, the storm resulted in rip currents that killed three people along the New Jersey coast and required 1,500 lifeguard rescues in Ocean City, Maryland, over a 1 week period.
In 2009, all six deaths in the United States directly attributable to tropical cyclones occurred as the result of drowning from large waves or strong rip currents.
Tropical Cyclone Graphical Products
To convey analysis and forecast information on tropical cyclones, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) produce graphics that provide important information for those who rely on tropical cyclone forecasts. Weather forecasting isn’t an exact science. Many of these graphics have been designed to address the inherent uncertainties in tropical cyclone forecasts.
Track Forecast Cone and Watches/Warning
This graphic shows coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue), and a tropical storm watch (yellow). The orange circle denotes the current position of the tropical cyclone. The black dots indicate the forecast positions and cyclone classification over the next 5 days.
Forecast errors and uncertainty of the future tropical cyclone center location are accounted for by the track forecast cone. The solid white area denotes the uncertainty for days 1-3. The white stippled area shows the uncertainty for days 4 and 5. On average, the center of the tropical cyclone will remain inside the cone 60%–70% of the time. It is important to remember that a tropical cyclone is not a point and that the associated hazards can extend well outside of the track forecast cone.
Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook
This graphic highlights areas of disturbed weather in the tropics and subtropics and assesses the potential for these systems to become tropical cyclones over the next 48 hours. Each disturbance is circled and numbered with an accompanying text description. You also can view the text description by moving your mouse over the circled area. The color of the circles reflect the probability that the system will become a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours:
- Yellow: low chance, <30%
- Orange: medium chance, 30%–50%
- Red: high chance, >50%
Active tropical cyclones are depicted on the graphic as an “L” for tropical depressions, a tropical storm symbol, or a hurricane symbol.
Tropical Cyclone Surface Wind Speed Probabilities
This graphic indicates the chance of locations experiencing at least tropical storm (39 mph or greater) sustained winds over the following 5 days. The graphic is also available at thresholds of 58 mph and 74 mph (hurricane force) sustained winds. The product is unique in that it takes into account uncertainty in the track, peak winds and size of the storm.
This graphic also highlights the fact that tropical cyclone winds can extend well away from the storm’s center. It is important to realize that probabilities that seem relatively low may still be quite significant. For example, if a location has a 10% chance of experiencing hurricane force sustained winds, you should prepare for an extreme event. A 1 in 10 chance is too high to ignore.
Tropical Cyclone Storm Surge Probabilities
Like surface wind speed probability products, storm surge probability products show the percentage chance of storm surge exceeding various thresholds. The thresholds are available at 1-foot intervals from a minimum of 2 feet to a maximum of 25 feet.
The graphic shows the chance that locations along the Texas and Louisiana coasts would experience a storm surge of at least 8 feet from Hurricane Ike based on the forecast issued at 11 AM EDT on September 12, 2008. The graphic is created from many simulations of the NWS storm surge computer model, and accounts for uncertainty in track, intensity and size.
Ways to Stay Informed
Noaa weather radio all hazards.
The National Weather Service (NWS) continuously broadcasts warning, watches, forecasts and non-weather related hazard information on NOAAWeather Radio All Hazards (NWR). The average range of the 1000+ NWR transmitters is 40 miles, depending on topography. For the best performing NWR receivers, NWS suggests you look at devices certified to Public Alert™ standards.
These radios meet specific technical standards and come with many features such as Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), a battery backup, both audio and visual alarms, selective programming for the types of hazards you want to be warned for, and the ability to activate external alarm devices for people with disabilities. Similar to a smoke detector, an NWR can wake you up in the middle of the night to alert you of a dangerous situation.
Current Storm Information
- Audio Podcasts: www.nhc.noaa.gov/audio/index.shtml
- Geographic Information System Data: www.nhc.noaa.gov/gis/
- NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards: www.weather.gov/nwr
- Hurricane Tracking Charts: www.weather.gov/os/hurricane/
- NHC Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/US.NOAA . NationalHurricaneCenter.gov
- CPHC/ NWS Honolulu Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/
- Atlantic: @NHC_Atlantic
- Eastern North Pacific: @NHC_Pacific
- Central Pacific: @NWSHonolulu
- Storm Surge: @NHC_Surge
What To Listen For
- HURRICANE WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post- tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. During a Watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case warnings are issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.
- TROPICAL STORM WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. During a Watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuations in case warnings are issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.
- HURRICANE WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.
- TROPICAL STORM WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone.
- EXTREME WIND WARNING: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure. Additional Watches and Warnings are issued to provide detailed information on specific threats such as floods and tornadoes. Local National Weather Service offices issue Flash Flood/Flood Watches and Warnings as well as Tornado Warnings.
National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center Products
PUBLIC ADVISORIES offer critical hurricane watch, warning and forecast information. FORECASTS/ADVISORIES provide detailed hurricane track and wind field information
PROBABILITIES OF HURRICANE/TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS offer locally specific chances of experiencing tropical storm, strong tropical storm and hurricane force winds out to 5 days to better know if one will be impacted and when these conditions may occur.
Local National Weather Service Office Products
HURRICANE LOCAL STATEMENTS give greater detail on how the storm will impact your area.
NON-PRECIPITATION WEATHER PRODUCTS provide High Wind Watches and Warnings for inland areas that could experience strong winds.
Use all of the above information to make an informed decision on your risk and what actions to take. Listen to recommendations of local officials on TV, radio and other media and to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards for the latest tropical cyclone information.
Are You Ready?
Before the hurricane season.
- Determine safe evacuation routes inland.
- Learn locations of official shelters.
- Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators and battery-powered equipment such as cell phones and your NOAAWeather Radio All Hazards receiver.
- Buy food that will keep and store drinking water.
- Buy plywood or other material to protect your home if you don’t already have it.
- Trim trees and shrubbery so branches don’t fly into your home.
- Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Decide where to move your boat.
- Review your insurance policy.
- Find pet-friendly hotels on your evacuation route.
Sportsman 400 First Aid Kit By Tender Corporation/adventure Medical Kits
During the Storm
When in a Watch Area…
- Frequently listen to radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards for official bulletins of the storm’s progress.
- Fuel and service family vehicles.
- Inspect and secure mobile home tie downs.
- Ensure you have extra cash on hand.
- Prepare to cover all windows and doors with shutters or other shielding materials.
- Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications.
- Bring in light-weight objects such as garbage cans, garden tools, toys and lawn furniture.
When in a Warning Area…
- Closely monitor radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards for official bulletins.
- Close storm shutters.
- Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!
- Stay with friends or relatives at a low-rise inland hotel or at a designated public shelter outside the flood zone.
- DO NOT stay in a mobile or manufactured home. Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans.
- Take pets with you if possible, but remember, most public shelters do not allow pets other than those used by used by people with disabilities. Identify pet-friendly hotels along your evacuation route.
Plan to Leave if You…
- Live in a mobile home. They are unsafe in high winds no matter how well fastened to the ground.
- Live on the coastline, an offshore island or near a river or a flood plain.
- Live in a high rise building. Hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
If Staying in a Home…
- Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and keep it closed.
- Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Unplug small appliances.
- Fill bathtub and large containers with water in case clean tap water is unavailable. Use water in bathtubs for cleaning and flushing only. Do NOT drink it.
If Winds Become Strong…
- Stay away from windows and doors, even if they are covered. Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway.
- Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
- If you are in a two-story house, go to an interior first floor room.
- If you are in a multi-story building and away from water, go to the 1st or 2nd floor and stay in the halls or other interior rooms away from windows.
- Lie on the floor under a table or other sturdy object.
Be Alert For…
- Tornadoes—they are often spawned by hurricanes.
- The calm “eye” of the storm—it may seem like the storm is over, but after the eye passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.
What to Bring to a Shelter
- First-aid kit
- Medicine, prescriptions
- Baby food and diapers
- Games, books, music players with headphones
- Battery-powered radio and cell phone
- Extra batteries
- A blanket or sleeping bag for each person
- Copies of key papers such as insurance policies
- Cash, credit card
REMINDER: If you are told to leave your home, do so immediately!
After the Storm
- Keep listening to radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards.
- Wait until an area is declared safe before entering.
- Watch for closed roads. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, Turn Around!
- Stay on firm, dry ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet.
- Standing water may be electrically charged from power lines.
- Never use a generator indoors.
- Avoid weakened bridges and washed out roads.
- Once home, check gas, water and electrical and appliances for damage.
- Use a flashlight to inspect damage. Never use candles and other open flames indoors.
- Wear proper shoes to prevent cutting feet on sharp debris.
- Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until officials say it is safe.
- Avoid electrocution by not walking in areas with downed power lines.
Family Emergency Plan
Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. You, as well as your family and friends, will most likely not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?
Steps to Take
Gather information about hazards
Contact your local National Weather Service office, emergency management office and American Red Cross chapter. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Learn your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans. Assess your risks and identify ways to make your home and property more secure.
Meet with your family to create an emergency plan
Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Choose an out of state friend as your family’s point of contact for everyone to call if the family gets separated. Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.
Implement your plan
- Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone.
- Install safety features in your house, such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
- Inspect your home for items that can move, fall, break or catch fire and correct them.
- Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
- Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local emergency number.
- Keep enough supplies in your home for at least 3 days. Assemble an emergency supplies kit. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller emergency supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
An Emergency Supplies Kit Should Include:
- At least a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day)
- At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food
- At least, one change of clothing and shoes per person
- One blanket or sleeping bag per person
- Battery-powered NWR and a portable radio
- Emergency tools
- Flashlight, extra batteries
- Extra set of car keys
- Credit card and cash
- Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
- Prescription and non-prescription medicines
Practice and maintain your plan
Ensure your family knows meeting places, phone numbers and safety rules. Conduct drills. Test your smoke detectors and NWR monthly and change the batteries at least once each year. Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer’s instructions. Replace stored water and food every 6 months.
Served in the United States Marine Corps as a weather observer and advanced to a weather forecaster. Stationed at the most active air field on the east coast and provided meteorological and oceanographic support to aircraft squadrons traveling around the world.
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Make a Plan
DO NOT DELETE THE "EMPTY" SECTION CONTROL BELOW THIS. IT CONTAINS THE GHOST OF CLARA BARTON.
Create Your Emergency Plan in Just 3 Steps
With your family or household members, discuss how to prepare and respond to the types of emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team.
Practice as many elements of your plan as possible.
Document Your Plan with Our Free Templates
Family Disaster Plan Template - English
Template Tips - English
Family Disaster Plan Template - Spanish
Template Tips - Spanish
Include Common Emergency Scenarios When You Plan
Plan for the emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live.
- Be familiar with natural disaster risks in your community.
- Consider how you will respond to emergencies that can happen anywhere, such as home fires and floods.
- Consider how you will respond to emergencies that are unique to your region, such as volcanoes, tsunamis or tornadoes.
- Think about emergencies that may require your family to shelter in place (such as a winter storm), vs. emergencies that may require evacuation (such as a hurricane).
- Consult our emergency resource library for tips on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from specific disasters.
Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire
- Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
- Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should carry emergency contact information in writing and saved on their cell phones. Make sure places where your children spend time also have these contact numbers, like at school or daycare.
- How will you need to adapt your plan if they are at home?
- What will you need to do differently if they are away?
Emergency Contact Card
Make cards for the whole family in case you are separated during an emergency.
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Plan what to do if you have to evacuate
- A hotel/motel
- The home of friends or relatives a safe distance away
- An evacuation shelter
- Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Grab your emergency kit, just like you will in a real emergency, then drive your planned evacuation route. Plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable. Make sure you have locations and maps saved on devices such as cell phones and GPS units and on paper.
- Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes. Remember, if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets either.
Plan for everyone in your home
Some members of your household may need special accommodation during an emergency, which means planning ahead is even more crucial.
- Older Adults
- People with Disabilities
Plan to let loved ones know you’re safe
Read our tips tips for reconnecting with loved ones if you are separated during a disaster or emergency and decide which techniques your family will use.
Find our Emergency App in the Apple Store » or Google Play »
Aplicación de Emergencias - ahora disponible en español » también!
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Help people affected by disasters big and small.
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Hurricane Preparedness and Response
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It is important to have an evacuation plan in place to ensure that workers can get to safety in case a hurricane may affect the area. A thorough evacuation plan should include:
- Conditions that will activate the plan
- Chain of command
- Emergency functions and who will perform them
- Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits
- Procedures for accounting for personnel, customers and visitors
- Equipment for personnel
Some businesses are required to have an Emergency Action Plan meeting the requirements under 29 CFR 1910.38 , see Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool for more information. Ready.gov - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has more information on evacuation plans as well as suggestions for precautions to take if you are unable to evacuate and do not have a safe room .
In addition to having evacuation plans in place, it is important to be familiar with the warning terms used for hurricanes, as well as your local community's emergency plans, warning signals, and shelters. Hurricane/Tropical Storm watches mean that a hurricane or tropical storm is possible in the specified area. Hurricane/Tropical Storm warnings mean that a hurricane or tropical storm is expected to reach the area, typically within 24 hours.
Be prepared to follow instructions from the local authorities and to evacuate if instructed to do so.
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preparatory measures. In the western North Pacific, the term "super typhoon" is used for tropical cyclones with sustained winds exceeding 150 mph. This affects one or more U.S. territories ( i.e. Guam and the Mariana Islands).
Hurricane Intensity Scale (Wind Damage)
Employers whose workers will be involved in emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard must comply with OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard, 29 CFR 1910.120 . This may include emergency response following an earthquake. Instruction CPL 02-02-073 describes OSHA enforcement procedures under the relevant provisions of the HAZWOPER standard.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has promulgated a standard applying OSHA’s HAZWOPER standard to state and local government workers in states where there is no OSHA-approved State Plan . See 40 CFR Part 311 .
OSHA’s HAZWOPER Safety and Health Topics page explains requirements of the OSHA HAZWOPER standard, including required worker training.
- Build a Kit - Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
- Emergency Response Plan - Evacuation . Ready.gov - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Hurricane Preparedness – Family, Health, and Safety Preparation - Supplies . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Training and Exercises
- Ensure that all workers know what to do in case of an emergency.
- Practice evacuation plans on a regular basis.
- Update plans and procedures based on lessons learned from exercises.
OSHA's Disaster Site Worker Outreach Training Program is a training program for workers who provide skilled support services (e.g., utility, demolition, debris removal, or heavy equipment operation) or site clean-up services. The program highlights the differences between disaster sites and construction sites, and emphasizes the need for workers and employers to have pre-incident training.
- Hurricane Preparedness - Make a Plan
- National Center for Environmental Health Webinar and Power Point Presentation on preparing for 2020 Hurricane Season
- Preparedness and Safety Messaging for Hurricanes, Flooding, and Similar Disasters
- Preparedness Portal
- National Hurricane Center . National Weather Service
Know how the COVID-19 pandemic can affect disaster preparedness and recovery, and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe.
Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm
Featured Resource: Be Ready! Hurricanes Infographic Learn more >
Make a Plan.
Hurricane season starts on May 15 in the north Pacific and June 1 in the Atlantic and the Caribbean. It ends on November 30. Before hurricane season each year, make sure you and your family are prepared by planning ahead .
- Write down emergency phone numbers and keep them on the refrigerator or near every phone in your house. Program them into your cell phone too.
- Prepare an emergency supply kit .
- Locate the nearest shelter and different routes you can take to get there from your home. If shelter locations in your area have not been identified, learn how to find them in the event of a storm .
- Pet owners: Pre-identify shelters, a pet-friendly hotel, or an out-of-town friend or relative where you can take your pets in an evacuation. Local animal shelters may be able to offer advice on what to do with your pets if you are asked to evacuate your home.
Gather emergency supplies.
During and after a hurricane, you may need supplies to keep your family safe and healthy . Remember that a hurricane could cut off your power and water supply. You also may not be able to drive because of damage to your car. Roads may be flooded or blocked.
That’s why it’s best to be prepared—stock up on everything you might need now. Be sure to prepare the following:
- An emergency food and water supply .
- An emergency medicine supply .
- Emergency power sources such as flashlights (don’t forget extra batteries).
- Safety and personal items .
- Important documents , including medical documents, wills, passports, and personal identification.
- A fire extinguisher. Make sure your family knows where to find it and how to use it! Read the National Fire Protection Association’s tips for using fire extinguishers .
Know the difference between a hurricane “watch” and “warning.”
Listen for National Weather Service alerts on TV or radio or check for them online. There are two kinds of alerts:
- A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour [mph] or higher) are possible in a stated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours before they expect tropical-storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) to start.
- A hurricane warning is more serious. It means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue these warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected in the area to give people enough time to prepare for the storm.
For more information about hurricane watches and warnings, check out the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center . If you hear that there is a hurricane watch or warning in your area, you can take steps to get ready.
Get your car ready.
Make sure your car is ready before the storm hits.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Move cars and trucks into your garage or under cover.
- Always keep an emergency kit in your car.
- Visit Ready.gov for information on how to prepare your car and what to include in your kit.
If you don’t own a car, consider making plans with friends or family or call authorities to get a ride if you need to evacuate.
Get your family and pets ready.
- Go over your emergency plan with your family.
- Keep checking for updates about the storm. Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check online.
- Call the hospital, public health department, or the police about special needs. If you or a loved one is older or disabled and won’t be able to leave quickly, get advice on what to do.
- Put pets and farm animals in a safe place. Read more about pet safety during an emergency .
Get your home ready.
- Clear your yard. Make sure there’s nothing that could blow around during the storm and damage your home. Move bikes, lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks, and building material inside or under shelter.
- Cover up windows and doors. Use storm shutters or nail pieces of plywood to the outside window frames to protect your windows. This can help keep you safe from pieces of shattered glass.
- Be ready to turn off your power. If you see flooding, downed power lines, or you have to leave your home, switch your power off.
- Fill clean water containers with drinking water. You’ll want to do this in case you lose your water supply during the storm. You can also fill up your sinks and bathtubs with water for washing.
- Check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector’s battery to prevent CO poisoning
Be ready to evacuate or stay at home.
Always listen to authorities regarding whether you should evacuate or stay at home.
If a hurricane is coming, you may hear an order from authorities to evacuate (leave your home). Never ignore an order to evacuate. Even sturdy, well-built houses may not hold up against a hurricane. Staying home to protect your property is not worth risking your health and safety.
You may hear an order to stay at home. If driving conditions are dangerous, staying at home might be safer than leaving.
If you need to evacuate:
- Grab your emergency supply kit and only take what you really need with you (cell phone, chargers, medicines, identification like a passport or license, and cash).
- Unplug your appliances. If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water.
- Follow the roads that emergency workers recommend even if there’s traffic. Other routes might be blocked or flooded. Never drive through flooded areas —cars and other vehicles can be swept away or may stall in just 6 inches of moving water.
- Contact your local emergency management office and ask if they offer accommodations for owners and their pets. Learn more about evacuating with your pet .
If you need to stay home:
- Keep your emergency supply kit in a place you can easily access.
- Listen to the radio or TV for updates on the hurricane.
- Stay inside. Even if it looks calm, don’t go outside. Wait until you hear or see an official message that the hurricane is over. Sometimes, weather gets calm in the middle of a storm but then quickly gets bad again.
- Stay away from windows—you could get hurt by pieces of broken glass or flying debris during a storm. Stay in a room with no windows, or go inside a closet.
- Be ready to leave. If emergency authorities order you to leave or if your home is damaged, you may need to go to a shelter or a neighbor’s house.
- Prepare for a Flood
- Help Loved Ones in Hurricane-Affected Areas
- Check out Stay Safe After a Hurricane or Tropical Storm for information on what to do once the storm is over.
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Emergency preparedness tips: typhoons, what to do before, during and after a typhoon, maging handa at alerto bago pa man dumating ang bagyo sa inyong lugar. .
- Suriin ang bahay kung may sira ang kisame, pinto o bintana, at ipaayos ito agad.
- Itali ang mga bubong at iba pang maaaring liparin ng hangin.
- Putulin ang mga sanga ng puno na maaaring bumagsak.
- Tiyakin na kumpleto ang iyong emergency go-bag at fully charged ang iyong phone at powerbank.
- Maging up-to-date sa typhoon signal warnings. Lumikas agad sa evacuation center o ligtas na lugar kapag may babala na mula sa PAGASA, LGU o barangay.
- Kung madalas magbaha sa lugar, itaas ang mga gamit na maaaring maabutan ng tubig-baha.
- Ipaliwanag sa mga bata kung paano mag-ingat at maghanda para hindi sila matakot sa bagyo.
Kapag nag-landfall na ang bagyo, tiyakin na laging updated ang pamilya sa mga alert at warning ng LGU at barangay.
- Stay calm. Stay indoors.
- Maging up-to-date sa balita tungkol sa bagyo.
- Ihanda ang emergency go-bag .
- Ipaliwanag sa pamilya kung ano ang maaring gawin kung kumala ang sitwasyon.
- Kung kailangan mag-evacuate, patayin ang kuryente, isara ang tangke ng gas, at i-lock ang mga pinto.
- Iparamdam at ipaliwanag sa mga bata na walang dapat ikatakot dahil handa ng pamilya.
Kapag humina na ang hagupit ng bagyo, tiyaking safe pa rin ang pamilya.
- Makinig sa balita at tiyaking ligtas na sa labas.
- Kung nag-evacuate, tiyakin muna na ligtas ang inyong lugar bago bumalik sa bahay.
- Kumustahin ang mga bata at pakinggan ang kanilang mga iniisip at nararamdaman pagkalipas ng bagyo.
- Suriin o ipasuri ang mga linya ng kuryente kung ligtas na ito gamitin ulit.
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Timeline: Emergency response to Typhoon Haiyan
“This sort of disaster is unprecedented in the Philippines. The effect is something like a massive earthquake followed by huge floods,” says Dr Natasha Reyes, MSF’s emergency coordinator in the Philippines.
“As a Filipino, I know that we’re a resilient people. We’ve been battered over and over again by natural disasters .
"So when I hear about people being so desperate, so stunned, so hopeless, it really tells me just how bad this is.”
After Typhoon Haiyan tore through the islands of Leyte, Samar and Panay, our emergency teams responded almost immediately. It was a major disaster: around 63,000 people had died, but many more needed treatment - left without access to healthcare, food or water.
Over 200 aid experts flew into the disaster zone, including doctors, nurses, surgeons, logisticians, water and sanitation experts, and psychologists. We also shipped over 359 tonnes of medical and relief items, in an effort to help those in the greatest need.
Timeline: MSF responds to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
Our initial focus was on the province of Leyte, which was hit first as the typhoon came ashore. Efforts to reach the city of Tacloban are being complicated by roads blocked with debris, as well as strong winds and torrential rain forcing the cancellation many flights to the damaged airport.
“We know that many medical facilities have been destroyed or damaged, with medical equipment simply washed away,” says Dr Reyes. “On top of this, a lot of health staff are unaccounted for, meaning the resources are severely depleted.”
Our medical teams will support the work of the Philippines military at the airport. We have identified one still functional hospital in Tacloban, which we are supporting with staff, supplies and equipment.
MSF teams are currently organising supplies of drugs, medical equipment and material to purify water, as well as essential items for distribution such as plastic sheeting, cooking items and hygiene kits.
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The following steps should be taken in emergency situations:.
- Follow your emergency plan
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- Listen to the radio or television for information from local officials and follow their instructions.
- Stay put until all is safe or until you are ordered to evacuate.
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Military aid societies battle for bragging rights on Giving Tuesday
The four military relief societies are once again engaging in a “friendly competition” to see who can raise the most donations on a single day: Giving Tuesday.
The relief societies — Air Force Aid Society , Army Emergency Relief , Coast Guard Mutual Assistance and Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society — help service members and their families with emergency relief, financial assistance and educational support.
Last year was the first year of the competition, and Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society won the bragging rights. Overall, the four congressionally-sanctioned 501c3 nonprofits raised nearly $1.25 million in last year’s Giving Tuesday campaign.
All four military aid societies have four-star ratings, the highest given by Charity Navigator. Giving Tuesday is a day of giving around the world, started in 2012, with untold numbers of charities urging people to donate to their causes.
Lockheed Martin will match every gift made to the military aid societies, up to $1 million. Those wishing to donate to one of the relief societies on that day are asked to visit Battle4BraggingRights.com and designate their gift to one of the four nonprofits.
The nonprofits’ offices are usually located on military installations. They provide grants and interest-free loans, to help service members and their families in need. They provide a variety of programs and services, such as emergency relief, disaster assistance, financial assistance, scholarships and other support.
The military relief societies have long stepped in to help service members and families with a variety of emergency financial assistance, such as car repairs, travel for unexpected events such as funerals and basic living expenses such as rent and utilities.
But recently, relief society programs have also targeted the cost of shipping infant formula, the costs to get housing in this highly competitive market, and the high cost of shipping pets to and from overseas on permanent change of station orders. They’ve helped families in Hawaii with costs associated with dealing with the tainted water supply .
The oldest of the military aid societies is Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, which was established in 1904.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.
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Securing U.S. Infrastructure Amid Volt Typhoon Threat
On May 24, 2023, Microsoft announced the detection of a direct threat to critical infrastructure organizations in Guam and elsewhere in the United States. The alert attributed observed malicious activity to a state-sponsored actor, based in China, known as Volt Typhoon. The targeted organizations represented entities across the communications, manufacturing, utility, transportation, construction, maritime, government, information technology, and education sectors. Active since 2021, this malicious campaign initially appeared similar to other Chinese state-sponsored campaigns which have typically focused on intelligence-gathering and espionage. Indeed, since 2014, there have been at least eight major cyberattacks attributed to China, all of which focused on surveillance, espionage, or intellectual property theft. Viewed this way, Microsoft’s discovery of Volt Typhoon’s malicious campaign was concerning, but nothing new.
What distinguished this announcement, however, was Microsoft’s “moderate confidence” that more recent activity was emblematic of a strategic shift from long-term surveillance tactics to the development of an offensive capability to disrupt critical communications infrastructure. Microsoft revealed that Volt Typhoon had hidden malware deep inside the networks controlling America’s power grids, water supplies, information technology, and communications systems. This malware relies almost exclusively on living-off-the-land techniques and hands-on-keyboard activity to maintain stealth which can be potentially operationalized when necessary. More concerning was the presence of Volt Typhoon’s malware embedded in critical infrastructure near U.S. military bases in Guam, which had the potential to disrupt critical communications between the United States and Asia during a kinetic conflict with China.
Subsequent reporting from The New York Times indicated that since Microsoft’s discovery, “[m]ore than a dozen U.S. officials and industry experts said … that the Chinese effort goes far beyond telecommunications systems.” and that “there is a debate inside the administration over whether the goal of the operation is primarily aimed at disrupting the military, or at civilian life more broadly in the event of a conflict.” From a defensive planning perspective, it is best to assume that this strategic shift has multiple objectives – continued intelligence gathering with an emphasis on crippling or delaying a U.S. military response in the event of a kinetic attack, and sowing chaos in the communities that support these military installations. In other words, the presence of the Volt Typhoon malware in U.S. critical infrastructure represents a strategic pivot from surveillance operations to an offensive war planning capability that should be viewed in the context of the current geopolitical climate.
Evolution of the Threat and Geopolitical Context
From a geopolitical perspective, the modern history of China’s relationship with the United States has been marked by several significant shifts. After a period of “opening dialogues” initiated during the Nixon Administration, relations were normalized in 1979. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, China and the U.S. existed as tacit allies with a joint interest in countering Soviet power.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the two powers could be characterized as nominally cooperative but deeply competitive, particularly with regard to economic power. With the rise to power of President Xi Jinping in 2013, China began to assert a markedly more aggressive foreign policy and, through its Belt-and-Road initiative, more directly challenged U.S. global economic dominance. The escalating tensions between China and the U.S. brought the relationship between China and Russia closer. China’s steadfast support for Russia in the wake of the latter’s invasion of Ukraine has raised tensions to a new level amid concerns about China’s own territorial aspirations vis-a-vis Taiwan. This situation has placed China and the U.S. in the most direct confrontational posture of the modern era with the prospect of direct military confrontation a potential outcome. Therefore, the shift to a more aggressive posture in cyberspace through the deployment of offensive malware seems consistent with the current tension rising between the U.S. and China.
A joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) published by the Cyber Security & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the NSA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and several international partners, provides additional detail on Volt Typhoon’s preferred cyberattack technique, living off the land (LOTL). Traditional malware attacks leverage signature files as attack vectors to carry out the intrusion. LOTL attacks are fileless. As such, they do not involve the installation of malicious code or scripts within the target system. Instead, the attacker uses tools that are already present in the environment, such as PowerShell, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), or the password-saving tool, Mimikatz, to execute the attack. Standard malware detection is usually triggered by hard disk write/read access, which means whenever a new file is dropped on the system, anti-virus (AV) tools scan and identify it. As the Microsoft announcement explained, since LOTL techniques avoid a hard disk event, the malicious activity blends in among the normal processes on a system by routing traffic through compromised conduits, such as small office and home office (SOHO) network equipment, including routers, firewalls, and VPN hardware.
The combination of LOTL via compromised SOHO devices, with only manual interaction with these devices for command-and-control purposes, allows the actor to operate covertly by avoiding endpoint detection and response (EDR) products that would alert on the introduction of third-party applications to the host, and limit the amount of activity that is captured in default logging configurations, according to the CSA. For organizations that utilize traditional script-based virus security software, the use of these native tools via SOHO devices also makes LOTL attacks extremely difficult to detect.
Outdated and Vulnerable to Attack
Many critical infrastructure organizations use legacy Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems which were created at a time when frequent updates and patches were not common. They often run on outdated software and hardware systems, lack network segmentation, and do not use encryption to protect communications, allowing bad actors to monitor network traffic to capture authentication credentials and carry out man-in-the-middle attacks.
ICS security firm Dragos analyzed 212 security advisories in 2019, which identified 438 ICS vulnerabilities. Twenty-six percent of advisories were related to zero-day flaws. In addition, nine percent of the advisories contained vulnerabilities that could potentially allow attackers to move from IT to OT networks. Although this percentage may appear small, this led the credit rating agency Moody’s to mark critical infrastructure organizations as credit negative in June 2023, based on their belief “that sophisticated threat actors such as state-sponsored entities can navigate from IT to OT.”
Consequences of Destructive Malware in U.S. Critical Infrastructure
A successful cyberattack on U.S. critical infrastructure will have other far-reaching consequences given the cascading effect a successful cyberattack one critical infrastructure element can have on another. The dependencies and interdependencies that exist between industries are well known to those in critical infrastructure organizations. For instance, a cyber attack that disables the electrical grid means that waste and water systems will not deliver clean water, natural gas will not flow to produce heat, and communications systems will not work. All of these critical infrastructure elements will remain disabled until power is restored. This also means that any military response to acts of aggression against the United States or its interests may be delayed or disabled.
There is little doubt that the presence of Volt Typhoon’s destructive malware in Guam’s critical infrastructure is anything other than cyber war planning. From a strategic perspective, Guam is ground zero for the U.S. response to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Per Stanford University’s Spogli Institute for International Studies , “Guam’s geostrategic potential is rooted in its proximity to China, and represents the westernmost location from which the U.S. can project power, manage logistics, and establish command and control.” In other words, Guam is to China what Pearl Harbor was to Japan.
Given the uniquely interconnected nature of U.S. critical infrastructure ownership and management – estimates generally put private sector ownership of U.S. critical infrastructure assets at 85 percent – it is essential to ensure clear and fluid collaboration between the federal government and the private sector to secure these assets and mitigate risks.
What Government Can Do
Government has a responsibility to lead in responding proactively to this and other threats to the nation’s critical infrastructure. The following recommendations are just some of the actions that should be considered in the near term:
- CISA should prioritize the existing National Critical Functions Set , first released in April 2019. Such a prioritization would help industry assess cross-sector risks and associated dependencies that may have a cascading effect if one critical infrastructure is disabled. As of December 2022, the GAO reported that CISA did not understand how the framework related to prioritizing infrastructure, how it affected planning and operations, or where particular organizations fell within it.
- Streamline and harmonize the dizzying array of cybersecurity and technical standards into a single framework to reduce the compliance costs incurred by critical infrastructure organizations.
- Provide or increase tax and financial incentives to spur private sector cybersecurity investment in critical infrastructure organizations.
- Ensure federal agencies have proper funding and staffing to implement a new, streamlined regulatory framework. This is particularly important to avoid cyber incidents such as the Colonial Pipeline attack, per the GAO .
- Increase federal spending to implement the GAO’s recommendations related to cyber critical infrastructure protection. The GAO has made 106 recommendations since 2010, but only 60 have been implemented.
- Assess the progress of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD-21) and address any deficiencies with federal, state, local, and private sector stakeholders.
- Enhance ICTS supply chain security to limit the risk of supply chain attacks in U.S. critical infrastructure.
What Industry Can Do
- Share information on specific threats through various mechanisms such as good faith compliance with mandatory incident reporting requirements, robust participation in Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs), Sector Coordinating Councils, or the Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Act of 2015.
- Conduct an NIST- compliant or ISO 27001 risk assessment to determine the organization's cybersecurity risks.
- Conduct a risk or criticality assessment of the organization’s ICTS supply chain security to ensure no counterfeit or altered products are acquired and enter the network environment.
- Have a strong business continuity plan (BCP) that outlines how an organization will continue to operate in the event of a disruption. At a minimum, a well-crafted BCP will identify the organization's critical functions, develop strategies for maintaining those functions during a disruption, and assign roles and responsibilities to key personnel. The BCP should be incorporated into the organization’s internal corporate governance process and include incident response and disaster recovery planning in compliance with NIST or ISO 27001 standards (see also ISO 22301 for non-information security BCPs). The U.S. Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Framework, as described in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan , can also be used as a guide to help prioritize risks when setting up these plans.
- Train and test these plans using the worst case scenario. Use training environments with real OT boxes in critical infrastructure, if possible.
- Consider separation of ICS and SCADA networks from general business networks with firewalls and a demilitarized zone (DMZ).
- Have a plan to regularly update and patch your systems, to include SOHO devices that are forward-facing to the internet.
Microsoft’s discovery of Volt Typhoon malware in U.S. critical infrastructure marks a strategic shift in China’s cyber operations from long-term surveillance tactics to war planning. Outdated legacy ICS and SCADA are particularly vulnerable to compromise. Given the interdependencies between critical infrastructure elements, a successful cyberattack on U.S. critical infrastructure would have a cascading effect and significantly disrupt civilian life while crippling or delaying any U.S. military response to a kinetic conflict. It is therefore essential that the federal government and private sector work together to secure critical infrastructure organizations and mitigate risks.
Drawing on frameworks established by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), our Master’s in Cybersecurity Risk Management emphasizes the competencies and functions needed to address today’s increasingly complex cyber threats, including this one.
About the Authors
Rico Falsone is a senior attorney at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. Falsone also served more than 22 years as a Supervisory Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Niall P. Brennan is Vice President, Global Security Liaison Officer, and Head of Strategic Security Partnerships and Engagement within the Global Security and Compliance organization of SAP. He served 22 years in the FBI and has over 30 years of experience in a variety of legal, advisory, security, and investigative roles in both the public and private sectors.
Dr. Frederic Lemieux currently serves as Professor of the Practice and Faculty Director of the Master of Professional Studies programs in Applied Intelligence , Cybersecurity Risk Management , Technology Management, and Information Technology Management at Georgetown University.
Master's in Cybersecurity Risk Management
Develop the tactical skills to plan for, respond to, and mitigate information security threats.
Niall Brennan, Rico Falsone, and Frederic Lemieux
Niall Brennan, Vice President, Global Security Liaison Officer and Head of Strategic Security and Engagement, SAP; retired Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Rico Falsone, Senior Attorney, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP and Adjunct Professor, Cybersecurity Risk Management and Applied Intelligence programs, Georgetown University; retired Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Frederic Lemieux, Ph.D., Faculty Director, Cybersecurity Risk Management, Information Technology Management, and Applied Intelligence programs, Georgetown University
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- Fall 2018 or earlier
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- Wheeled armoured personnel carriers
- Military engineering vehicles
- Armoured fighting vehicles of Russia
History [ ]
The history of the "Typhoon" family began in 2010, when Minister of Russian Federation Armed Forces approved the "Development of Russian Federation Armed Forces military vehicles for the period until 2020" program which includes "Typhoon MRAP program". The first vehicles were shown in 2011.
All Typhoon variants use the same family of engines (JMZ-536), information and management system, mine protection and suspension. Mine protection is provided by a V-shaped bottom, energy absorbing seats and explosion corresponds to 3b in accordance with STANAG 4569 (explosive device up to 8 kg of TNT).  All utilise composite body armor (ceramic and steel), as well as provide bulletproof round protection on the fourth level of the standard STANAG 4569 (14.5 mm armor-piercing bullets B-32).  All armoured personnel carrier variants can have installed a remotely controlled machine-gun unit. In the vehicle roof are hatches for emergency evacuation of personnel in case of a rollover. Along the perimeter of armored vehicles are mounted video cameras that allows crewmen to monitor the situation without leaving the transport module, and to control the vehicle in the event of an inability to use the windshield. Habitable space on all machines is sealed for Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense , and is supported by maintaining the crew and troop compartment at an artificial overpressure through a HLF-100 air filtration system. All vehicles are available in two, three or four axle versions.
Variants [ ]
KamAZ-63968 Typhoon-K [ ]
Kamaz-63968 Typhoon-K Modular MRAP vehicle.
KamAZ-63969 [ ]
Solid-body, 6x6 wheeled amphibious armoured personnel carrier (APC) with a remote-controlled gun. 
KamAZ-53949 Typhoon-L MRAP [ ]
4x4 wheeled patrol armoured personnel carrier (APC)
Ural-63095 Typhoon [ ]
Ural-63095 Typhoon Multirole modular MRAP vehicle.
Ural-63099 [ ]
MRAP vehicle for troop transport.
References [ ]
- ↑ http://www.business-gazeta.ru/article/103160/
- ↑ http://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=11989903@egNews
- ↑ http://ria.ru/defense_safety/20111001/447074263.html
- ↑ http://expert.ru/2014/01/21/kak-ustroen-novejshij-voennyij-kamaz/
- ↑ http://twower.livejournal.com/617751.html
- ↑ http://www.magist.ru/main.mhtml?Part=17&PubID=62
- ↑ http://www.kamaz.ru/ru/news/2013/08/06/
External links [ ]
- 1 Vinzenz Kaiser