Lightning Season

Last week was “Lightning Safety Week,” according to FEMA.  Visit the NOAA page here http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/ to learn more about lightning and how to reduce the risk for yourself and those around you of being struck or injured by lightning.  In an average year (which this one is not, due to the recent catastrophic tornado incidents), more people are killed by lightning than by tornadoes or hurricanes.  I didn’t realize that many more people actually survive lightning strikes, then live with severe disabilities for the remainder of their lives.  This information can be important to us at work and at home, and for our library patrons who may be in our space during storms.

Storm Prediction Center

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.

One-Shelf Disaster Library (List of Titles)

I just received a request for a list of the titles on the one-shelf disaster library.  These titles were selected by consensus of readers of the Disaster Information Outreach listserv.  Links to WorldCat records are included.

Harrison’s principles of internal medicine

The Merck manual of diagnosis and therapy

Emergency medicine : a comprehensive study guide

Rosen’s emergency medicine: concepts and clinical practice

Current emergency diagnosis & treatment

Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s principles and practices of infectious diseases

Nelson’s textbook of pediatrics

Goldfrank’s toxicologic emergencies

The 5-minute clinical consult

Physicians Desk Reference

Grays Anatomy

Seismology of the Christchurch Quakes

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has provided us with some interesting observations about why the February 2011 earthquake in the Christchurch, New Zealand area did so much more damage that the one that occurred in September 2010.  Check out their satellite image showing the varying severity levels of the quake as well as their explanation about how time of day and location are often even more powerful factors in resulting damage than the severity on the Richter scale–visit http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=49586&src=eorss-nh.  Note that in addition to the shaking and movement of the earth, in these quakes, there is also “liquefaction” of the soil when groundwater and earth are forced together, which creates yet another kind of impact on the surrounding areas.

Active Shooter: Plan, Prevent, Survive

Dan refers us to a truly excellent article from “Library Leadership & Management,” volume 25, no. 1, 2011, entitled “Active Shooter in the Library:  How to Plan for, Prevent, and Survive the Worst,” by Amy Kautzman, Associate University Librarian at UC Davis’ General Library.  The article is available through Creative Commons here http://journals.tdl.org/llm/article/view/1864/1625.  It’s difficult to point out highlights because every sentence is important, but there were several eye-openers for me, such as:  active shooter incidents are not random, out-of-the-blue events.  In previous incidents, there have always been warning signs displayed by the person who became the shooter, but they were not reported until after the event, or if they had been reported before, no action was taken.  So awareness, reporting and follow-up are key preventive stragegies.  And, one of the keys to surviving an active shooter incident is to respond immediately rather than waiting to be told what to do; in other words, accept personal responsibility for your safety by learning response strategies and developing a “mindset” of preparedness.  Be sure to continue past the references at the end of the article to find the “Active Shooter / Safety and Security Selected Materials” bibliography of additional resources compiled by Amy Kautzman and Jennifer Little, who is Head of User Services at Morehead State University.

In the article, Ms. Kautzman acknowledges how scary it can be to entertain thoughts or develop scenarios in order to become prepared, but we can use this kind of scary to motivate us to make plans that might save our lives someday.

Earthquake Tour

We usually think of California when we think earthquakes in the U.S., but one of the most significant earthquakes to strike in North America actually happened in the New Madrid Seismic Zone two hundred years ago. Check out this site http://www.newmadrid2011.org/ to see information about the “Earthquake Tour,” commemorating the bicentennial of the New Madrid quake in 1811.  The tour begins tomorrow (Feb. 4, 2011) and continues on through this year with sessions in Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and the other states adjacent to the New Madrid fault.  Be sure to explore the “Quick Links” section, especially the wonderful “Great Central U.S. Shakeout” site at http://shakeout.org/centralus/.   The Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) site at http://www.cusec.org/ is also a rich resource for increasing awareness and knowledge about earthquakes and for advice about how to be prepared and stay safe in an earthquake.