Here’s a mashup of media reports of incidents at schools in the United States and Canada. You’ll find news stories on incidents such as bus accidents, bomb threats, intruders, shootings, and campus lockdowns.
The Google.org foundation is funding a new non-profit project called Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disaster (InSTEDD). Google.org’s executive director, epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant, says the project hopes “to fulfill the much-needed role of an independent agent bringing the technological, medical, and organizational skills necessary to help the humanitarian aid community accomplish (early detection of public health threats and disasters), and ultimately help them to make the world a safer place.”
Microsoft has released a new software and services platform, HealthVault, to help people store and manage their health information online, as well as search for health information. This looks like an excellent resource for use by people in disaster-prone areas, such as hurricane and tornado alleys. Keeping health-related records “off-site” through a service such as HealthVault would enable people who are suddenly displaced to retrieve information about prescriptions, medical records, etc. from anywhere. We know, from the lessons learned courtesy of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, that many people who were forced to evacuate were not able to remember the names of their medications in many cases, recalling only the color and the number of pills they usually took.
Could promoting this be a role for librarians, especially in hospital settings?
Last spring, the University of Texas at Austin implemented a siren system to alert their university community of a direct threat. Click here for a description of the siren system from the UT Austin website.
Here’s a quote from Dennis Schrader, deputy administrator of FEMA’s National Preparedness Directorate, from a speech he delivered recently at the National Safety Council’s Congress & Expo in Chicago. It’s the driving force behind the many accomplishments that we all have made with emergency preparedness in health sciences libraries.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to boil down to community–communities helping other communities.”
Below is an excerpt from an article in the Georgetown Voice on the recovery status of the library.
Fortunately for historians, the Peabody room escaped the disaster mostly unscathed. Dorsey said that 95 percent of the collection was saved. According to a library press release, library employees, as well as contractors from a document-preservation company called Belfor Property Restoration, were able to re-enter the building early on Tuesday and began loading water-sogged records into refrigerated trailers to prevent mold from setting in.
Though no timetable has yet been set, Mayor Adrian Fenty’s office estimates reconstruction will cost between $15 and $20 million. In the meantime, local residents will still be able to get their reading fix. According to the library release, “A bookmobile is being readied to serve the Georgetown community while efforts get underway to establish a temporary library.”
The physicians, staff and friends of Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Mississippi, have raised $13,500 for the Sumter Regional Hospital. (Gulfport was one of the towns hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.) “So many people assisted us in our time of need, and we felt that now it was our turn to show support to someone else in need,” said David Estorge, Memorial Foundation president. Click here to read the complete article from SunHerald.com.