What was the source? Floods occur when a river bank bursts are causing water to spill on the floodplains. Flooding is mainly caused by torrential downpours that exceed the capacity of the drainage system. Natural means such as earthquakes could cause wildfires, but human beings have created most fires in Arizona. In 2011, the Wallow Fire that scorched over 500 square miles was believed to have been started by illegal immigrants into the country. Gas explosions occur when gas leaks mixing with air and presence of an ignition source (Eckhoff, 2016). Gas explosions in homes occur as accidents from the cooking gas including methane, natural gas, and propane. Industrial gas explosions are usually catastrophic and involve either hydrogen or gasoline.
What made it into an incident?
What exacerbated the incident? Floods usually cause the destruction of property along their way. In most cases, the grid system is the worst hit. It is a common occurrence of power blackouts immediately flooding occurs (Tolhurst, Shields, & Chong, 2008). In rare cases, flooding causes fire outbreaks and possibly human life loss.
The condition of the drainage systems contributes to flooding. Most drainage systems in the city are blocked by garbage including plastic containers, water bottles among other stuff. Because of the blockages, water cannot flow easily down the drainages, and it spills to roads and homes. Short heavy rains usually have large volumes of water. Wildfires spread over extensive areas causing the destruction of property especially the forests. Death to wildlife is also expected when forest fires break. Additionally, smoke from such fires spread over large areas (Srivastava, & Laurian, 2006). For instance, smoke from Wallow Fire spread over several states including Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. These smokes can harm the eyes, irritate the respiratory system or worsen pre-existing lung diseases.
The primary cause of the spread of wildfire is the dry conditions of the land and types of fuels used by the arsonists. Most of the gas related incidents are because of the carelessness of the people handling them. For instance, in 2016, a person died after lighting a cigarette close to a gas leak. Cooking gas should be handled with care, and in case of a leak, it should be reported immediately to prevent an explosion.
What was the "cost" of life and property?
What is the extent of the re-development? The extreme weather since 2010. On average, more than $600 million is lost per year which is more than 4% of the annual budget by the state government (Hyndman, 2016). Floods in the county account for one to five deaths per year while close to ten people are seriously injured as per the records from National Center for Environmental Information. Accordingly, people incur millions in insurance as they cover their property from damages caused by floods. In Arizona state, people spend close to $1000 yearly in insurance.
Re-occurrence of floods in the state is very high. In the recent past, Arizona has had several instances of flash floods including in 2000, 2006, and 2010. There are four types of costs that can be identified from wildfire namely direct costs, rehabilitation costs, and indirect costs. Direct costs include the value of public and private property destroyed by the fires and efforts in suppressing the fires. In 2012, Arizona spent close to 5 million in fighting wildfires (Thomas, Butry, Gilbert, Webb, & Fung, 2017).
Rehabilitation costs are the funds used to restore the forests and properties destroyed back to their original state. Calculation of these costs may be complicated but Thomas, Butry, Gilbert, Webb, & Fung, (2017), estimates it at $10 million per forest fire.
Indirect costs include the lost value of the property and lost taxes. Fortunately, forest fires have very minimal human casualties. Injuries only occur as the firefighters try to put out the fires and are usually minor injuries. In Arizona state, there are over 15 cases of gas leaks and explosions causing 5-10 deaths each year. These are mainly home accidents. On a national level, the National Fire Protection Agency reported that the fire departments in the various states respond to over 3,400 gas related cases each year. More than 2,200 hundred of these incidents involve natural gas. Property of value close to $100,000 million is destroyed in the process.
There are very high incidences of gas leaks and explosions in Arizona. This year alone, two cases have already been reported. Fortunately, no deaths occurred just serious injuries.
Blaikie, P., Cannon, T., Davis, I., & Wisner, B. (2014). At risk: natural hazards, people's vulnerability, and disasters. Routledge.
Eckhoff, R. K. (2016). Explosion hazards in the process industries. Gulf Professional Publishing.
Hyndman, D. (2016). Natural hazards and disasters. Cengage Learning.
Srivastava, R., & Laurian, L. (2006). Natural hazard mitigation in local comprehensive plans: The case of flood, wildfire, and drought planning in Arizona. Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, 15(3), 461-483.
Thomas, D., Butry, D., Gilbert, S., Webb, D., & Fung, J. (2017). The Costs and Losses of Wildfires (No. Special Publication (NIST SP)-1215).
Tolhurst, K., Shields, B., & Chong, D. (2008). Phoenix: development and application of a bushfire risk management tool. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, The, 23(4), 47.
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