Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Playground or Battleground? - School Safety

Article Features
1. The National PTA "Parental Involvement in Schools" PSA link
2."10 Things You can do to Prevent Violence in Your School Community" PTA link
3."Safe and Secure Schools, The Parent Factor" PTA link
4. SAMHSA's National Mental Health Center "Safe Schools,Healthy Students" link
5. The National Education Foundation "Crisis Communication Guide and Toolkit" link
Playground of Violence
While those on the campus of Virginia Tech University were dealing with tragic violence, a Southern California Elementary/Junior High school was evacuated after a note was found stating that there was a bomb on campus. It seems that our schools, elementary, high school and colleges are becoming a battleground of violence. Most often it’s the extreme violence that is reported nationwide, however, lurking in its shadow are other forms of aggressive/violent behavior that students are subjected to on a daily basis. Sometimes the "minor" acts of aggression, such as bullying, develop into destructive violence,violence that destroys lives and a sense of security.

Managing School Safety

Emergency Management is most often referred to in the context of a natural disaster, but emergency management principles can also be applied to a man-made disaster such as this.

As with natural disasters, private citizens and businesses are expected to do whatever they can to prepare, respond and recover from an incident. Local, State, Tribal and Federal Agencies have a limited capacity. Although campus, local and state police do their best to provide a safe and secure campus, it is the responsibility of students, parents, faculty and everyone who does business with academia to apply emergency management principles in their routine to contribute towards a safer environment.

School Safety Management
The four phases of successful emergency management are:
  1. Mitigation-any actvity that reduces or prevents an emergency from happening.
  2. Preparedness-plans or preparations made to save a life and help response and rescue efforts.
  3. Response-putting preparedness plans into action, actions taken to save lives and prevent further damage.
  4. Recovery-actions taken to return to a normal or an even safer situation following an emergency.


Parental involvement with a child's education and more.
The PTA released a set of Public Service Announcements(PSA's) the PSA's end with the line, “Know What Really Matters. Know about your kid’s school, and Know about your kid.” Please review the PTA's "10 Things You can do to Prevent Violence in Your School Community" and "Safe and Secure Schools, the Parent Factor" Keeping the lines of communication open and being actively involved in your child's education will help to mitigate the possible hazards.

Home-Schooling has become an option for many and continues to grow in popularity. According to United States Department of Education report NCES 2003-42,"Homeschooling in the United States: 2003",there was an increase in homeschooled students in the U.S. from 850,000 students in 1999 to 1.1 million students in 2003. The same report said that 85 percent of homeschooling parents cited "the social environments of other forms of schooling" (including safety, drugs, bullying and negative peer-pressure) as an important reason why they homeschool.
On-line or Hybrid Classes offer a student the flexibility of taking classes or obtaining a degree with a minimal amount of time spent on campus, in some cases the course is taught strictly on-line.

How do you prepare for violent situations in the classroom or on the campus? In this respect one must prepare the senses.
  • Be alert to what is happening, know your environment.
  • Many times students or others will talk about what they might be planning to do, do not dismiss it! Tell someone of authority.
  • Cell phones, used properly, have become a lifeline, a means of communicating to those on the outside. Information that can be given to the authorities will help them and you.
  • Continue to warn children about strangers and practice with them what they should avoid and what they should do if they are approached or grabbed a hold of.
  • If you forget their name remember their face. Not all violence committed on campus is perpetrated by a student. Campuses are open centers of learning in many areas, therefore the general public has access. Get the best description you can without endangering your life, remember everything, what you saw, heard and smelled, before, during and after the incident. Seemingly small things may be a big lead in the investigation


Stay out of the way, stay low, stay hidden if necessary! This applies to any form of violence that may be happening at the time. Most primary and secondary schools have campus police trained to deal with these very situations. Provide the help if you can, but first, you must be able to save yourself if you want to safely save others.

Officials are having students and faculty practice "Shelter in Place" , if the violence is occuring outside of the classroom stay inside! until the police have secured the area and release you.


Take the time to listen. A survivor or victim just needs someone to listen to them, a release of confusing feelings and emotions is needed, Listen.
Be an instrument of recovery for the survivors, all the while making sure that you yourself are not becoming overwhelmed by your own emotions and experiences. Remember, rescuers can become victims also.

When the tornado is gone nothing but destruction remains. The survivors are left to pick up the physical and...emotional pieces. This is the most difficult time. All of those in the lives of the survivors will have a responsibility to help them pick up and heal the emotional and sometimes physical scars of the incident. In this regard there are many resources to draw from.

SAMHSA'S National Mental Health Center "Safe Schools,Healthy Students" program offers various types of material helping those who have been involved in a traumatic event.

Also The National Education Association offers a Crisis Communication Guide and Toolkit as well as other excellent resources to turn to in a time of destruction, mourning, grieving and rebuilding.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Man's Best Friend - Caring for Your Pets When Disaster Strikes

Article Features (scroll over the numbered pictures)
1. San Diego Animal Services Pet Disaster Plan
2. FEMA - Information for Pet Owners
3. California Department of Forestry
(CDF) "Animal Evacuation" .pdf link
4. "Animals in a Disaster"- FEMA training link


Animals in a Disaster - Part 1

There are a variety of pets, from birds and snakes to cats,dogs,horses and exotic animals.The Animals in a Disaster,Emergency Management Series will cover the fundmentals of emergency management for animals.


Our Pets
Our pets enrich our lives in so many ways. Pet owners and care providers enjoy an improved quality of life. Pets are considered companions, confidants, partners at work, health facilitators and status symbols.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association's -LINK(APPMA)2005/2006 statistics, 63% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 69.1 million homes, 45% of U.S. households own more than one pet. It is estimated that in 2007 40.8 billion dollars will be spent on pet supplies and services.

As can be seen from these basic statistics, pets hold a very special place in our lives so keeping our companions safe in the event of a disaster is very important to us.


Pet Preparedness

We typically think of disasters as cataclysmic events such as floods, hurricanes, or earthquakes. However,
individual family disasters are much more common. It is estimated that the United States suffers more than 150,000 household fires; 10,000violent thunderstorms; 5,000 floods; 800 tornadoes; many forest fires
and several hurricanes and earthquakes every year. Each year, two to three million people are affected by disasters. Although we hope it never happens to us it is wise to be
The Hazard -Knowing What to Expect
Our pets,as well as ourselves, are exposed to 3 different types of hazards.
Meteorlogical(weather), Geological(terra firma)
and Technological(man-made).

In some areas of the country we are prone to one hazard more than another or if we live in a very "diverse" area we may experience two or more. The technological hazard, a possible terrorist strike for example,we are all exposed to. Knowing your area and the possible hazards will help you prepare for specific events.
Building a Solid Foundation
One Phase at aTime
Because there are so many hazards this article will cover the fundamentals of pet emergency management. The first phase in successful emergency management is mitigation. The other three phases,preparedness,response and recovery will be covered in subsequent articles. By building your pet emergency management foundation one phase at a time you will understand and be prepared to deal with the four phases of most emergencies and find it much easier to understand the actions of official emergency managers; and therefore help with the official response.

First Phase -Mitigation
Mitigation is any activity that prevents an emergency from occuring, reduces the chance of an emergency occuring, or reduces the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies.
Mitigation activities take place before and after emergencies.
With unfamiliar sounds, smells and sights that follow a disaster, pets can easily become confused and get lost. Dogs and cats should wear appropriate identification at all times. Examples of appropriate identification include, tags with your name, address and phone number. You should also include the phone number of a friend or relative from out-of-state. More permanent methods include microchips, freeze marking and tattoos.Examples of appropriate identification for birds include: leg bands, microchips or tattoos. These are most useful if the information on them is included in a national registry.
Current photographs of your pet will help with identification after a disaster. You should also send photos of your pet to your out-of-state friend or relative.

Know your cat and dog’s common and favorite hiding places.Once the chaos starts, this is where you will find them. Make a list of the places where you can get veterinary care,food,shelter and housing for your pets in an emergency. Find out what they provide and what they would need from you.Special facilities may be required for birds or exotic animals. Make a commitment to gather this information now.

He will work with you in putting together a custom Pet Emergency Management Package that will prepare you and your pet.
Second Phase- Preparation

Know Your Hazard

Knowing your hazard allows you to prepare for a specific emergency. Select your hazard to be linked to an informative CTEM article.




Sunday, April 08, 2007

Global Warming - It's Impact on Emergency Management

Article Features
(scroll over numbered pictures)
1. .pdf link to UN Report
2. link to LA Times series of articles on the UN reports
3. link to the International Association of Emergency Managers
5. NOAA National Hurricane Center
6. NOAA US Drought Outlook

# 1

The Reports

Global Warming Report #1 from the Intergover-nmental Panel on Climate Change was released in February.

It declared that global warming had become a "runaway train" and that human activities were "very likely" to blame.

Global Warming Report #2 was issued on Friday,April 6,2007. This report is the second of four scheduled to be released this year by the UN. It paints a near-apocalyptic vision of Earth's future: hundreds of millions of people short of water, extreme food shortages in Africa, a landscape ravaged by floods and millions of species sentenced to extinction. The latest study investigated the possibility of a broader, global climatic mechanism that could cause drought.

Increasing temperatures will reconfigure coastlines around the world as the oceans rise, affecting among many,the tiny islands of the South Pacific and the Asian deltas, there they will be overwhelmed by storm surges.
In this segment we will only be talking about weather phenomena referred to in the aforementioned studies.


The Role of Emergency Managers

The EM's role is not to debate the statistics, but prepare for them, like clouds on the horizon and a shift in the wind, we know a storm is in the making.

Location, Location, Location

Location will dictate what events to prepare for, every region has and will have, according to the report, its own unique hazards.


Pulse of the Planet

Being alert to climactic reports and events will give EM's needed information to plan and prepare for coming events.



Friday, April 06, 2007

Tornado Alley

Where is Tornado Alley?
Tornado Alley is a nickname in the popular media for a broad swath of
relatively high tornado occurrence in the central U.S.

During the spring in the Central Plains, thunderstorms frequently develop along a dry line, which separates very warm, moist air to the east from the hot, dry air to the west.
Along the front range of the Rocky Mountains, in the Texas panhandle, and in the southern High Plains. Tornado-producing thunderstorms may form as the dryline moves east during the afternoon hours. If other favorable conditions exist, these thunderstorms may grow to severe strength producing hail, strong winds and tornadoes. Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 and 9 p.m. but have been known to occur at all hours of the day or night.

What to Look and Listen For

Dark-often greenish sky,

Wall cloud, Large hail

Loud roar similar to a freight train

You've Been Warned
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH: Severe thunderstorms are possible in your area.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING: Severe thunderstorms are occurring.
TORNADO WATCH: Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.
TORNADO WARNING: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. If a tornado warning is issued for your area and the sky becomes threatening, move to your pre-designated place of safety.

What to Do if You're Caught in the Alley

If you are under a tornado WARNING, seek shelter immediately!
If you are in a structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building): Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.

A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home:Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

The outside with no shelter: Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.

Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries

Hurricane Season 2007 Forecast, Watches and Warnings

Article Building Still In Progress
information in this article is not current
April 20, 2007

Refer to the blog link below for Hurricane Information

Hurricane Preparedness - Stay Informed

Party or Prepare?
Prepare for the hurricane first!

Having a hurricane party may not be a good idea, especially if your "guest of honor" will leave your house...yard and whatever else a mess.

Know When Your "Guest" Will Arrive

Knowing when and where will allow you to prepare with time to spare

Friday, March 23, 2007

Spreading Like A Wildfire

2007 Wildfire Season

Are you Prepared?

The December 2006-February 2007 U.S. winter season was drier than average in large sections of the southeast and west according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Much of Southern California just experienced its driest fall and winter in more than a century. “With the dry season fast approaching, there are major concerns that drought conditions will not only fail to improve but actually worsen in the coming months,” said Doug Lecomte, drought specialist for the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. “The outlook for any significant drought improvement from now through spring looks grim for not only Southern California but for much of the Southwest as well.”

Like the smell of smoke in the air, this forecast is not welcome news to those living and doing business in the wildland-urban interface areas of San Diego County.

We know where there's smoke... there is fire.

Now is the time to begin a preparedness plan and to carry it out.

A Blueprint for Survival

For Both Your Life and Your Livelihood

Family First
"The plans of the diligent one surely make for advantage". Although this statement was made more than 2,500 years ago it is sage advice for us today.

In the midst of a county wide emergency, families must be prepared to be "stand alones" that is, self sufficient. If a family can save itself then they will be prepared to possibly save others and allow fire fighting resources to focus on the hot spots and the ones who will have trouble saving themselves.

Develop a Disaster Preparedness Checklist

  1. Build a family disaster kit.

  2. How to Evacuate - where to go and what you should take.

  3. Animals in a Disaster - what to do with your pets and livestock and how to care for them.

  4. Family Communications Plan - how to stay in touch, together or apart.

Work or Business

Not a Good Time to Call in Sick

"Nothing personal it's just business", but it is personal. Our livelihood, investments and time are in our small (or large) business, therefore you need to know how to preserve business continuity.

Continuation of Business Planning

1. Employee Contact Information

2. Disaster Planning Questions

3. Evacuation Plan - what to take and why take it.

4. Planning for Livestock - Farms and Ranches

5. Public and Press Relations

As can be seen there is much to do but if you START now and understand the sense of urgency, then you will be faster than wildfire.

Southern California Wildfire Information and Resources

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Communications Office is preparing for Wildfire Awareness Week 2007 May 6-12 promoting the theme, "Why 100 feet?... Because defensible space is YOUR responsibility." The week will include a series of events statewide to educate the public about wildland fire prevention.