Level 1: Major Disaster 

Detailed Guidance and Preparedness Tips

Understanding Level 1 Emergencies

A Level 1 emergency signifies a major disaster or imminent threat with extensive impacts on the affected area. These emergencies necessitate immediate and comprehensive responses due to their wide-ranging and complex effects. Understanding the characteristics and appropriate responses to such disasters is crucial for ensuring safety and minimizing damage.

Characteristics of Level 1 Emergencies

  1. Mandatory Immediate Notification:

    • Immediate alert to all relevant authorities and emergency personnel.

    • Activation of public warning systems to inform the community.

  2. Reduction or Suspension of Normal Operations:

    • Normal business and governmental operations may be halted to focus on emergency response.

    • Prioritization of essential services and critical infrastructure.

  3. Wide-Ranging and Complex Effects:

    • Significant impacts on multiple sectors including housing, transportation, utilities, and healthcare.

    • Extensive coordination required among local, state, and federal agencies.

  4. Activation of Emergency Plans:

    • Full activation of the Integrated Emergency Management Plan (IEMP) and Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

    • Deployment of emergency response teams and resources.

Examples of Level 1 Emergencies

  • Major Tornado:

    • Severe damage to structures and infrastructure.

    • High potential for casualties and displacement of residents.

  • Multi-Structure Fire:

    • Rapid spread of fire affecting multiple buildings and areas.

    • High risk to lives and property, requiring extensive firefighting resources.

  • Major Hazardous Materials Release:

    • Release of toxic or dangerous substances posing health and environmental risks.

    • Need for specialized hazardous materials response teams.

  • Terrorism Incident:

    • Coordinated attack causing widespread fear, damage, and casualties.

    • Immediate need for security, medical, and emergency response.

Preparedness Tips for Level 1 Emergencies

  1. Stay Informed:

    • Monitor local news, weather reports, and official alerts through TV, radio, and mobile apps.

    • Sign up for emergency notification systems in your area.

  2. Create an Emergency Kit:

    • Assemble essential items such as non-perishable food, water, medications, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, and important documents.

    • Ensure the kit is easily accessible and check it regularly for expired items.

  3. Develop a Family Emergency Plan:

    • Identify safe locations inside and outside your home.

    • Designate a meeting point and emergency contacts.

    • Practice evacuation routes and safety procedures with all family members.

  4. Secure Your Home:

    • Reinforce doors, windows, and roofs to withstand severe weather.

    • Install smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors.

    • Store hazardous materials safely and know how to shut off utilities.

  5. Stay Connected:

    • Keep a list of emergency contacts including family, neighbors, and local authorities.

    • Use social media and community networks to stay updated and connected.

  6. Community Involvement:

    • Participate in local emergency preparedness programs and drills.

    • Volunteer with local emergency response teams or community organizations.

Responding to Level 1 Emergencies

  1. Immediate Actions:

    • Follow official instructions from emergency services.

    • Evacuate immediately if ordered or move to designated shelters.

    • Use emergency supplies as needed.

  2. During the Emergency:

    • Stay calm and assist others if possible.

    • Keep communication lines open for updates and instructions.

    • Use battery-powered radios or mobile devices to receive information.

  3. Post-Emergency:

    • Return home only when authorities declare it safe.

    • Document damage and contact insurance companies.

    • Seek assistance from local disaster recovery services.

Additional Resources