May 22-28 is Hurricane Preparedness Week. Check out the “Key Facts About Hurricane Readiness” page on the CDC site: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/readiness_factsheet.asp, especially if you are in the southeastern, southern, and Atlantic seaboard areas of the U. S.
We are all heartsick to hear about the catastrophic tornado damage that occurred in Joplin, MO last night, as well as in other areas of the Midwest. See the New York Times story about Joplin here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/us/24tornado.html?_r=1&hp. It gives better information than some other sources, particularly about St. John’s Regional Hospital in Joplin, which sustained a direct hit, and mentions near the end of the story that nurses who had been on the sixth floor when the tornado warning was announced, immediately began the appropriate response procedures. Sources say that the tornado was “rain wrapped,” which made it difficult or impossible to see.
We’ve just updated our promotional brochure, “NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Toolkit.” See it at http://nnlm.gov/webreports/ep/uploads/2009/06/NNLM-EPR-Toolkit-May-2011.pdf, or click on the “About the NN/LM Plan” tab on the top menu, then click on “Promotional Brochures.” The new brochure contains more detail about what’s in the Toolkit and how you can use it. Let us know what you think!
NASA has provided us with a couple of images that speak volumes about the extent of the flooding in the midwest, particularly where the Mississippi River joins the Ohio. Take a look here: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=50475&src=eorss-iotd on their Earth Observatory site. The article that follows the pictures is also interesting, and helps shed light on what has happened there in the past two weeks.
It’s been 25 years since the historic Los Angeles Public Library fire, which occurred on April 29, 1986. See an article about it here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/04/los-angeles-public-library-fire.html. As the article notes, over 400,000 items were destroyed and many, many more were damaged by smoke and water. Other reports note that everyone was evacuated safely from the building–the initial alarm sounded at 10:52 AM. It took hundreds of firefighters and supporting resources from around the area to suppress the fire; the report from the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Historical Society, cited in the article, notes that the fire was declared a “knock down” at 6:30 PM. The fire was started by an arsonist in one of the stacks areas of the library. The Library re-opened to the public in October of 1993.
Tornadoes are wreaking havoc across the continental U. S. this month, even in states not usually considered to be at high risk, such as Virginia. The jury appears to be still out on why–global warming? Better detection technology and reporting? Probably some of both. Here’s an excellent site provided by NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS)–their Storm Prediction Center: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/. On the site, severe weather warnings are available from the link above the map. If you don’t have a weather radio to give you alerts about approaching storms, you can keep an eye on the situation nationally or in your locality via this NWS site.
Representatives from all eight NN/LM regions met at the Library of the Health Sciences on the University of Illinois/Chicago (UIC) campus on Friday, April 8, to hear about progress of the NN/LM National Emergency Preparedness and Response Initiative to date, to share updates from all the regions, and to discuss possible future objectives. In addition to NN/LM Associate Directors and State Emergency Preparedness Coordinators, Cindy Love of the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) and Cindy Olney, of NN/LM’s Outreach Evaluation Resource Center (OERC) attended and spoke to the group.
It was exciting to hear about the many accomplishments of the NN/LM regions in educating members in emergency preparedness; great work everyone! Cindy Olney presented the results of this year’s follow-up assessment conducted by OERC, which showed improvement in the levels of knowledge and preparedness for emergency response for members across the regions since the baseline assessment was done in 2008. Many thanks to Cindy Olney and Susan Barnes, also of OERC, for their work in helping us see what has been done well and what still needs to be done! Dan has added a couple of photos from the meeting to the “Photos” section here on the toolkit. Many thanks also to Ruth Holst and her staff in the NN/LM Greater Midwest Region’s office at UIC, especially Rosalva Diaz and Max Anderson, for hosting the meeting and for facilitating food, handouts, wireless access, and dozens of other aspects of a successful meeting.