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Tsunami warnings and safety steps

Millions were under tsunami warnings after the Tonga volcano eruption last week. What exactly does that mean, and what should you do when an alert is issued?  Make sure you're staying updated with reliable information sources. See the previous post for more on where and how to stay up-to-speed.  Have your go-bag and emergency plan at the ready. Typically for tsunamis you want to move inland and seek higher ground, like a hilltop.   Understand your risk based on where you are. I live a few miles from the ocean in San Francisco, so I have a different level of risk than those living beachside. If you live in an area that can be threatened by tsunamis, look at your community's...

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How to set up emergency notifications and stay informed

A volcano exploded near Tonga last week with plumes reaching 35 miles above the surface of the earth, and setting off tsunami warnings as far away as Hawaii, Alaska, and the West Coast.  When a potential emergency happens, it's critical to get information as quickly as possible. Here are some alerts to look out for or opt into:  Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are used to send SMS messages to WEA-capable mobile devices during emergencies. WEAs are sent by your state and local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the office of the President of the United States.  Many municipalities have their own text and email-based alert systems that are very...

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Space heater safety tips

My apartment is in a 100 year old building in San Francisco with an inoperable old gas heater, so I became familiar with space heaters this winter. They provide efficient, quick heat, but have some important safety considerations.   Older models are a lot more dangerous due to newer safety features. Check your model and manual to confirm safety standards and hazards.  If you're in the market for a heater, look for one with an automatic shut-off feature if it overheats, a timer, and a tip-over switch which will shut the heater off in case it falls over.  Always keep your space heater on the ground. A falling heater can cause a fire or other major damage.  Keep your heater away...

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"We might be next"

My hometown and parents' house were spared from fires that decimated hundreds of homes in Boulder County. Here's what I shared with them when they got the pre-evacutation order.

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