In Harm’s Way was created as a response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. Although the likelihood of a large submarine earthquake in Sumatra was forecast by geoscientists, including the founder of In Harm’s Way, nothing was done to educate, prepare or warn those whom it threatened. Most of those who died were unaware that the earthquake itself is the best warning system for a possible tsunami. They did not act because they did not understand what was happening. There was time for many to move to high, safe ground but lack of education, preparation, and warning cost 300,000 lives before the day was done.
Some islanders have oral traditions about past earthquakes and the killer waves that follow. Most of these communities were spared because they educated one another of what had happened in the past. In Harm’s Way focuses on doing the same—preventing death and injury through educating the most vulnerable, unprepared communities.
The purpose of In Harm’s Way is to bridge this disconnect – to save thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost due to natural disasters. Throughout the past decade In Harm’s Way has helped reduce the disaster potential of many natural hazards by simple educational campaigns that enhance awareness and by implementing effective disaster prevention activities.
- Tens of thousands of lives were saved in the Philippines by training local disaster mitigation experts to implement a cell-phone based warning system for an approaching typhoon.
- Thousands were saved from landslide-related flooding in Indonesia because local disaster mitigation workers were trained to conduct evacuation drills. Six communities were evacuated in less than 10 minutes because they knew what was happening and how to protect themselves.
- Thousands of children are now safe in Utah schools built to seismic code due to the efforts of In Harm’s Way to increase awareness of the earthquake risk to the state and its cities, universities, and school children.
In Harm’s Way is a federally registered 501(c)(3) public charity and is registered with the State of Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection.