What to do in natural dangers
How to behave during cold weather?
Before the start of cold weather and blizzard:
- Remain at home and preserve stocks of food, water and fuel. It is recommended to leave the house or to get out only in emergency, because during a blizzard visibility decreases and the movement of both city and long-distance transport is disrupted. Road workers are not always able to clear the roads in time. Snow-covered roads and bad visibility make it difficult to move around and such situations can be very dangerous;
- When farmers hear about a possible blizzard, they need to prepare forage and water-supply for cattle;
- Do not forget about your neighbours, particularly – the elderly who may need your help during cold weather.
In case of heavy cold or blizzard:
- If, during a blizzard, you get stuck in the car, it is recommended not to switch off the engine or periodically warm it up. It is vital not to fill the interior with exhaust gases. Therefore, do not forget to check that the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow;
- Do not use self-made electric heaters, do not plug several appliances into the same supply line and do not leave them switched on without supervision;
- There is a danger of frostbite on exposed parts of the body: ears, nose, and cheeks. Toes, fingers and feet often suffer from frostbite too. Therefore, wear proper warm clothes and footwear.
In case of frostbite:
- If frostbite is mild, first of all warm the person (the temperature of the environment should be not lower than 26-27 degrees Celsius), cover him with blankets or warm clothes. If the person did not lose consciousness, give him warm (but not hot) drinks. Remove clothes from the affected areas, and dress the frost-bitten areas with sterile gauze, cotton wool or a cotton fabric;
- It is also recommended not to warm the frost-bitten areas with hot-water bottles or to hold them near fires, to rub with snow or rough fabric;
- If frostbite is severe, the person should be moved to a warm room. If the person has lost consciousness, and is breathing, put him on his side, if breathing has stopped – do artificial respiration immediately. It is necessary to wrap a heavily frost-bitten person in a thick, warm fabric and take him to the doctor as soon as possible.
It is important to note that cold weather and wind may cause more harm than very cold weather without wind. In case of a strong wind, cold weather becomes more severe which results in lower Real Feel Temperature (Feels Like Temperature). Therefore, before going outside, a person should evaluate and consider these factors.
How to behave on ice?
Ice is considered strong if it is more than 7 centimetres thick. When it is thick, it can support a person’s weight. However, in order to sustain a group of people, its thickness should be not less than 12 centimetres.
Strong ice always has a dark blue or green shade, and ice of matte white colour or a yellow shade is fragile. Fragile, thin ice occurs in those places where the branches of trees, boards and other objects get frozen in it, and also near bushes, trees, and reeds. Fragile ice is also formed in those places where are streams, springs and water from factories flows in.
Before stepping on ice:
- Look round; check if there is an existing footpath or traces of one. If there is, walk along it as it is a tried and tested path;
- When you go over the ice you should take a strong stick to check the strength of ice. If after hitting the ice with the stick, water appears on it - return immediately to the shore;
- You should shuffle along the ice, without lifting your feet;
- If you are skiing, unfasten your bindings so that if necessary you can quickly kick them off. Hold the ski-stick in hand; do not pass your hands through the loops - you will be able to throw the sticks away quickly;
- If a group of people is going over ice, they should keep their distance from each other. The minimum distance between people should be 5 meters;
- While walking on ice it is necessary to go round the snow covered places or where there are snowdrifts because the ice under snow is always thinner;
- Ice is weak at the shore and it may have cracks as well, so be cautious while stepping there;
- Ice is very dangerous during a thaw;
- Do not leave children without supervision playing on ice;
- If you go on ice-fishing, you must have ice escape grips (ice safety picks). Persons who fish without this device can be punished by receiving a warning or a fine from EUR 10 to EUR 60.
If you fall through ice:
- Try not to not panic or lose concentration;
- Instead of swimming forward, crawl onto the ice from the side from which you came;
- Do not struggle in the water and do not lay down on the edge of ice with all the weight of your body;
- Crawl onto the ice with your arms widely spread. Try to lean as much as possible of your chest on ice, then cautiously put bring up one foot, then the other one;
- After you have crawled onto the ice you should not stand up at once. It is necessary to roll away from the ice-hole as far as possible in the direction from which you came, because the ice there is stronger. After coming out on the shore you must run to get warmed up and reach a warm place as soon as possible.
If you see a drowning person:
- Tell him immediately that you are coming to help;
- During the rescue you must act quickly and resolutely, since a person in winter-cold water freezes quickly, and wet clothes do not allow him to hold out long on the surface of the water;
- It is necessary to approach the ice-hole very cautiously, better on all fours with hands widely spread;
- If possible, put skis or a board under yourself and crawl along it;
- You must not crawl up to the ice-hole, since the ice will break if you try to offer the drowning person a hand and pull him out. Ice will support a person no closer than 3-4 m from the ice-hole edge. Therefore, it is necessary to reach out to the drowning person with a ski, a ski-stick or to throw him a rope. If there are few rescuers on the scene, they can lay down on ice holding each other’s feet thus forming a chain to the ice-hole.
After saving a person:
When the person is pulled out onto the ice, it is necessary to crawl with him as far as possible from the dangerous spot and to take him to a warm place as soon as possible. Try to warm the person, give him warm tea, give dry clothes and provide first aid.
How to behave safe in and around water?
- Do not stand and do not play in places possessing the risk of a sudden fall into the water, for example, quays, pier edges, bridges or cliffs;
- Do not jump into the water suddenly in case you are overheated – at first you should sprinkle some water on yourself;
- Do not go for a swim immediately after eating or after drinking alcohol;
- Do not smoke on the beach (unless there is a special smoking area established);
- Do not play sports games on the beach (rest zone) by causing a risk to resting people;
- Do not leave children under 14 years old unsupervised near water;
- Do not camp on the beach;
- Do not make a fire on the beach;
- Do not gather or destroy protected plant species;
- Do not be nude in public beaches (i.e. being without a swimwear or by wearing just a part of it);
- Do not take animals/pets to the beach (unless it is allowed).
- In case you can’t swim, stay in water less than chest deep;
- It is advised to choose a beach or area where many people swim and lifeguards are on duty;
- Swim only after you are certain that it is safe, wade into unknown waters slowly, do not dive and do not jump into the water;
- Do not swim alone or in unfamiliar and remote waters;
- Do not wade and swim further from the buoys, swim after the set visiting hours, swim inappropriate and/or unsafe places (i. e. dams, artificial waterfalls, close to systems used by hydroelectric power stations) or in case it is marked with no swimming signs;
- While swimming, do not chew gum, do not eat and do not swim shortly after a meal;
- Do not swim under the influence of alcohol, drugs, psychotropic drugs or other psychotropic substances;
- Do not play dangerous games in water and do not allow children to play in the same way as well, i.e. do not immerse another person into the water, do not pull other’s legs, do not climb on other’s shoulders;
- Do not let children under 14 years old swim without the supervision of an adult;
- Do not call for help if it is not needed;
- Do not swim to waterways and do not go close to ships since there is a risk of being caught by a propeller;
- Do not swim with the aid of air mattresses, inner tubes, logs or by using other means which are not intended for swimming;
- Do not swim during the lightning and/or thunderstorm, squall or whirlwind;
- Do not swim when the red flag is raised by the lifeguards.
- Do not swim where diving is performed.
In a water vehicle:
- Put your life-jacket on before swimming with a boat and keep wearing it while being on water;
- Do not swim with a means of transportation if there are no life-jackets for all the persons on board;
- Do not swing and walk on means for swimming which are not intended for such purposes, as well as do not ignore manufacturer’s requirements and/or other prohibitions;
- Do not act irresponsibly or move around excessively in a boat as this may cause it to capsize;
- Do not swim, dive and jump from a moving water means/vehicle;
- Do not swim with the aid of means for swimming in the beach areas which are not intended for such activities by posing a risk for people and environment.
If you are drowning or see another person drowning:
- Try not to panic even if you start drowning. If possible, scream and wave your arms in order to be noticed by other people. Also, try to inhale as much air as possible and try to float on your back;
- If you notice a drowning person, seek for help by letting other people know about the accident and invoke lifeguards, yet, if they are not present, then immediately call 112;
- While waiting for professional assistance, try to provide help for the drowning person in a safe manner according to the situation: from the shore, by invoking a boat, by throwing a buoy from the bridge, by giving a stick etc. However, do not risk your own life;
- If nobody else is present, try to rescue the person by using other means possible (boat, pedalo etc.). When you approach the drowning person, give him a floating thing (for example: life belt, lifebuoy) so that he could not grab you directly;
- When the drowning person is safe on the shore, provide him first aid. If needed, use the lifesaving technique of resuscitation till the professional assistance arrives;
- Note that only a good swimmer who knows methods of rescue and how to apply them should attempt to rescue a drowning person.
How to behave during a flood?
Flood is a quite common natural disaster in Lithuania. It is caused by strong downpours, rapidly thawing snow, high waters in rivers, e.g. extra water driven by the wind raises the water level in estuaries. Annual flooding threatens the health and lives of inhabitants and their property, making it necessary to prepare for this natural disaster in advance.
Before a flood
The best protection for people is to evacuate from the dangerous territory. We advise pregnant women, the sick, elderly people and children to get out of the flood zone into a safer place.
If you decide to remain in the flood zone, then start preparing for flood risk:
- Get a reliable means of floating transportation (raft or boat);
- Stock up for a minimum of 10 days: provide yourself with necessary waterproof clothing (fishing waders, rubber footwear etc.), long lasting imperishable food products, medicine; drinking water, matches, candles, lanterns, fuel wood, mobile phone and replacement spare batteries.
- Prepare raised platforms for animals and furniture;
- Properly isolate all electrical wiring to reduce the chance of short circuits;
- Take vegetables, food stocks and valuables out of the cellar;
- Take light objects that can be ruined by water to the top floors and attics;
- Tighten the wells so that the contaminated surface water cannot get into them;
- Protect the homestead against ice floes; peg in protective poles;
- Mark the way to the homestead from the main road with flags or other signs;
- Remove fertilizers and pesticides from deluged places;
- Verify that there are no opened pollutants (chemicals, oils etc.) in garages, detached buildings or pantries which could contaminate the environment;
- Secure petrochemical reservoirs;
- Grease the metal parts of any remaining equipment (mechanisms) with a thick layer of grease, reinforce individual parts;
- Purchase life and property insurance for you and your family members;
NB. If you decide to go to a safer place, turn off the water, gas, and electricity before leaving your house; take along documents, valuables, the most necessary items, a supply of food, medicine, and close the doors and (or nail) windows. Register with the local government so that an accurate count can be made of how many people remain in the flooded territory.
During a flood
It is recommended to evacuate from the flood zone.
For inhabitants who decide not to leave their residence, we advise:
- Keep in touch with your neighbours and be ready to help each other;
- If it is already flooded around your house, go to the top floors; if you have a bungalow, go to the attic.
- Learn how to signal for help: a raised piece of cloth (a lit lantern at night) – help is needed, while swinging a piece of cloth (a blinking lantern at night) ‒ urgent help is needed;
- If wading through a flooded area, check your path with a stick so you would not fall into a pit full of water;
- If a group of people must wade through a flooded area, it’s best to join each other with a rope;
- If you fall into the water, take off your heavy clothes and footwear, try to catch objects floating nearby or sticking out of the water, hold on strongly until help arrives;
- Help wild animals (roes, foxes, hares etc.), who are in trouble because of the flooding. Carry them from isolated islets to fields.
After a flood
It is strictly forbidden to touch downed wires, to perform repair work on electrical systems and equipment without permission or to power on units, machine tools and other installations.
- Inform the corresponding services about loss of power as well as broken water pipes and gas lines and wait for help;
- Do not eat food that has become wet;
- In order to avoid infectious diseases running through the water (dysentery, cholera, belly typhus, poliomyelitis etc.):
- Inform the local government about the flood damage.
How to behave in case of a strong wind?
How to behave in case of a strong wind?
During windy conditions, branches and trees may break, constructions of a weak design may fall, and unfixed devices may overturn. Communications networks and electricity supplies may also be disrupted.
Before windy weather:
- Reinforce temporary constructions, structures, mechanisms, temporary frameworks and devices;
- Shut all windows, doors, garret windows and other openings;
- Remove objects which may be disturbed by the wind from balconies or secure them well;
- Keep in mind your neighbours: particularly disabled persons and elderly people. Ensure that they have heard the announcements. Ensure somebody can take care of them; if nobody is available to offer them any necessary assistance; inform neighbours about contacting the Emergency Response Centre by calling 112.
In the event of a strong wind:
- Do not stand under high trees, near power lines or display hoardings;
- Do not park cars under trees;
- Keep a flashlight, spare batteries, a radio receiver and candles at home;
- Do not leave your place of residence without particular reason. If, for any reason, you should leave, turn off electricity, gas and water; close all windows, shutters and doors; and perform all the usual actions you would take when leaving for a long period of time.
How to behave during a heatwave?
Long-lasting heat may have a negative impact on health of residents. Particularly dangerous heat occurs after cool spring, when human body is not habituated to hot weather.
Overheating may occur even when the temperature is not very high, this is also very likely in case of high relative humidity. Therefore, it is hard to determine what temperature is dangerous since heat tolerance varies from person to person. Basically, it is important to follow recommendations helping to feel more comfortable and avoid serious health problems.
Consider proper outfit:
- Wear comfortable and breathing clothes;
- Prefer natural fabrics to synthetic fabrics;
- Wear light colour clothes since they reflect sun rays;
- Wear hats or caps, use an umbrella;
- Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses;
- Wear open shoes (i.e. sandals) or leather shoes;
- Use sunscreen with a high SPF (30 SPF and more) at least 30 minutes before going outside.
Less time spent in heat and less physical activities:
- In hot weather conditions physical works should be done in the early morning or late in the evening;
- It is advisable not to go in for sports during hot and muggy days, the most dangerous hours start at 11.00 and ends at 17.00;
- Employers should pay attention to employees working outside: they should be wearing breathing coveralls of natural fabrics, hats or caps;
- When the weather is hot, activities and movements should be slower than usually. People working outside should reduce workload – the harder the work, the more heat is produced in human body;
- Employees working outside in hot conditions should be given a break in cool premises, duration and frequency should be estimated according to the employer, yet it is recommended to provide such a break every 1.5 hours;
- Reduce time spent in a hot environment, avoid direct sun rays, do not fall asleep in sunshine – it might be dangerous for your health;
- Do not leave the elderly and disabled people, children, animals in a locked vehicle even if all windows are open. Vehicles heat very fast, therefore, people in a vehicle may result in overheating. You should also check whether baby/children’s seat is not too hot so that a child would not have burn wounds;
- Habituate your body to heat gradually, it is particularly important to elderly and persons who are overweight;
- Spend more time in cool premises containing ventilators or air conditioners. If your house does not have conditioning, then choose other alternatives to stay – libraries, cinemas, shopping centres etc. It is important that temperature in these premises would be no lower than 18 degrees Celsius;
- Try to keep cool home environment. Windows may be covered with light colour curtains, roll up curtains or a cloth with aluminium surface reflecting sun rays. During the daytime windows should be closed – you may open windows in the evening, when air temperature is lower;
- During the daytime, use less electrical devices and lamps since they add more heat;
- Have a cool shower or bath more often during hot days;
- If possible, prefer sleeping in a cooler room;
- If you have heart or vascular problems and diseases, you must be careful about your health. Note that the impact of prescribed medicines may vary during the heat. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor regarding the use of prescribed medicines and its dosage;
- Elderly people, mothers with babies and people who have heart problems or hypertension, if possible, are advised to leave big cities for a while.
Drink more often than thirst appears:
- It is better to drink mineralized water without carbon dioxide (i.e. mineral, mineralized or salted water) since human body loses liquids and minerals in sweat;
- It is advisable to use potassium chloride, magnesium and tomato, citrus fruit or plum juice if you sweat considerably;
- Do not consume alcohol, drinks containing caffeine, sugar or sweeteners because such drinks induce losing liquids;
- Do not drink much at once – it is better to drink regularly and a little (every 1-2 hours);
- If you have already drunk enough liquids, but thirst still remains, it is better to drink lukewarm water, tea, water with lemon juice or drink water by keeping it longer in the mouth so than it would be moistened or simply rinse your throat with water;
- Drinks with ice cubes do not suppress thirst during the heat. Drinking icy liquids may result in catching cold since it freezes throat and stomach. Thirst comes back very fast and it is more difficult to undergo the heat;
- If you want to refresh – drink fruit and vegetable juices as well as teas.
Eat in moderation choosing easily digestible food:
- Eat food which is easy to digest, best choice could be fruits and vegetables;
- Consume more diet liquid food, including lean dairy products;
- Avoid high-fat food.
Heat may result in:
- overheat (heat stroke);
- hypoxia (oxygen deficiency).
- Avoid direct sun rays since it may result in not only as temporary discomfort, but also in failure of skin functions, i.e. less cooling;
- Use sun protection creams/sprays with a high SPF (30 SPF and more);
- Habituate your skin to sun rays gradually by prolonging time spent in sunshine;
- Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses containing UV filters;
- Cover your head and hair with cap or hat.
Reasons of overheating:
- High environment temperature (usually 30 and more degrees Celsius);
- High relative humidity (feels like temperature is higher);
- Intensive sun heat;
- Low fluid intake;
- Long and hard work or intensive activities in suntrap or in hot unaired premises;
- Human body has not been gradually adapted to heat;
- Overheating also depends on human age, health and physical condition. Mostly vulnerable group involve children and elderly people who may suffer from pain in the area of heart.
Symptoms of overheating:
- high body temperature (may reach 38-41 degrees Celsius);
- skin redness and fever (skin is dry, there is no sweat);
- headache and vertigo, tingle, imbalance, nausea;
- Strong and fast pulse as well as breathing;
- Drowse, dullness, reluctance to move;
- Confusion, mental disorder, unclear speech;
- If such condition prolongs, a person may suffer from brain function restraints, spasms and finally may result in blackout, short-term loss of consciousness or even coma;
If you feel symptoms of overheating or notice that another person suffers from such symptoms, do not leave that person alone and seek for medical assistance.
First aid in case of overheating:
- If overheating is light, having a cool shower, rubbing with a cold wet towel, drinking cool water or juice and rest can be helpful;
- If a case is more difficult, take the victim out of hot environment; lay him down in the shade or another cool place, the victim should lay on the back, there should be a pillow or rolled-up clothes under his legs (this position could improve head and heart circulatory system);
- Cover a victim with a wrap or towel moistened with cool water (37 degrees Celsius);
- When body temperature goes down to 37.5 degrees Celsius, wet wrap or towel should be changed into dry wrap or towel, as well as give cool drink;
- It is useful to have a foil blanket which can be found in the first aid kit. Remember that gold side prevents from heat, while silver side is used when the body is cold;
- If a victim is unconscious, lay him down on one side, ventilate him, do not try to give him drink and take him to the hospital as soon as possible or call emergency number 112;
- It is important to stay with an overheated person until ambulance arrives.
Symptoms of sunstroke:
- Headache and vertigo, tingle, flickering in vision;
- Pale skin, cold sweat, general weakness;
- Nausea, vomit;
- Rapid breathing and pulse;
- High body temperature (may reach 41 degrees Celsius);
- Lost consciousness, swoon;
If a victim is not provided with the first aid, he may die from oedema.
First aid in case of sunstroke:
- Immediately take the victim out of hot environment to rest in a shade or a cool place;
- Lay the victim down so that his head stays a little raised or help him sit;
- Unbutton clothes, particularly pay attention to collar;
- Use fan or another appropriate device in order to cool the victim;
- Sprinkle or moisten face with water;
- Put cool compress on the head, if possible, ice could be useful;
- The victim may be provided with a cool drink;
- If the victim feels nauseous, give him sour drink (for example: water with lemon juice);
- If the victim loses consciousness, lay him down on side, ventilate, do not try to give him drink and immediately take him to the hospital.
Hypoxia (oxygen deficiency):
- Major symptoms of hypoxia – hard breathing and headache;
- Preventing hypoxia – avoid going outside during peak heat hours (from 11.00 to 17.00);
- Negative effects of hypoxia are strengthened by increased air pollution.
Heat mostly affects vulnerable groups, such as babies and children (up to 4 years old) as well as elderly people (particularly older than 65 years old), obese people, people working hard physically and people who are sick (severe chronic illnesses, endocrine, renal, cardiac and vascular diseases):
- Elderly people are in high risk of dying because of overheating;
- Young people may suffer from overheating or heatwave because of physical activities in hot environment, i.e. in most cases it involves sportsmen, soldiers during the exercise, builders and road menders, who work outdoors;
- During hot weather people may suffer from arrhythmia and high blood pressure, therefore, heat is dangerous for persons with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular, respiratory or psychic problems and diseases;
- Human body loses a great amount of fluid, therefore, blood thickness increase which results in thrombosis and hypertension. In worse scenario it may turn into myocardial infarct or stroke;
- Having problems with heart, lungs, neural system or have skin diseases, it is very dangerous to get into cold water just after being in the sun.
Immediately call ambulance:
If you feel pain in the area of heart, if you start choking or experience weakness;
If you sweat heavily and experience spasms (convulsion);
If body temperature is 40 and more degrees Celsius, when your skin is hot and wet;
If you notice a person, who is confused or unconscious.
How to behave in order to avoid dry grass fires?
Most grass fires start because of the burning of last year's grass. Every year, firefighters go for 2500 times to extinguish grass fires, while the number of fires in open areas comprise 45 % of all fires. In addition, fire from the burning grass often spreads into the woods, peat bogs, inhabitants’ estates, detached buildings and people perish in the burning meadows almost every year.
Grass fires frequently occur due to careless children and teenagers, thus parents and teachers should warn them about the damage these fires can cause. Parents are responsible and will be punished for the crimes of their minor children. Note that citizens can be fined from EUR 50 to EUR 300 and officials from EUR 120 to EUR 350 for burning grass. It is also necessary to compensate the damage to nature, which sometimes may reach several thousand Euros.
Actions to take in the event of burning grass:
Be responsive and do not wait until the flames spread widely – if possible, try to extinguish the fire on your own;On a small area, you can extinguish burning grass by forcing down the flame with tree branches;You can also extinguish such fire with water or sand;Small grooves can be dug round the places that are on fire so that the flames cannot spread and cause more damage;If you see that you cannot put out with fire, call 112 immediately.
How to behave in case of a thunderstorm?
Before a thunderstorm:
- To decrease the threat of lightning strikes, it is best to install buildings with lightning conductors. If they are already installed, it is recommended that you check whether they are well grounded and in good order;
- Switch off all electrical appliances and disconnect aerials.
During a thunderstorm:
- Do not use mobile phone;
- It is advisable to remain at home; close all windows, doors, chimney flaps and ventilating apertures. Such preventive actions will reduce the risk of ball lightning;
- During a thunderstorm, avoid touching any steelwork or pipelines in a building. Stay away from electric wires, aerials, windows, doors and external walls of the house where trees are present;
- A car offers good protection from lightning; close the windows and avoid touching any metal parts;
- If you are outdoors during a thunderstorm, do not seek shelter under high trees, or near poles or walls of buildings; do not shelter close to lightning conductors, metal towers or high pipe structures, and avoid open hilly areas - it is better to shelter in bushes or to sit on a slope, with your knees clasped in your hands;
- When lightning strikes, being near sources of water is especially dangerous. If a thunderstorm begins when you are bathing, fishing, or in a boat, immediately head for the shore;
- During a thunderstorm, do not run, do not drive a motorcycle or ride a bicycle, and do not hold metal objects in your hand. Set them aside at a good distance and wait for the thunderstorm to abate.
- If you encounter ball lightning, stay calm, and do not attempt to approach it. Do not try to touch it with any object as an explosion may occur. Do not try to run as the current of air may draw it towards you.