Risk Assessment & CERT Training

Taking CERT training is a good way to assess disaster risks for your area. For instance, at my first CERT class I learned of the following risks for the Charlottesville area:

Hurricanes (most likely tropical force winds when they reach our area)
Tornadoes (worst toradoes have been F1 in the Fujita Scale)
Severe Winter Storms (greatest risk)
Hazmat incidents (includes the North Anna Nuclear Plant Plan-90% of Albemarle County is within 50 miles of the plant)

Have you checked your stacks lately?

Disasters don’t always come in the form of earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes.  Recently, several sections of journal stacks at the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University collapsed, falling sideways and creating a domino effect that spilled bound journals 4 and 5 feet deep through about a dozen ranges of shelving and completely blocking the door to a restroom.  Fortunately, the stacks fell when the library was closed, so no one was injured.  However, the shelving collapse did disrupt service provision for over a week.  The lesson here is to make sure your shelving is properly installed, braced top and bottom, and checked frequently for stability!

Preparedness Class at Berea College

Here’s a description of what sounds like an interesting class being offered at Berea College.  Sign me up.

GST 277 CRN 20044 / HLT 277 CRN 20045

What will happen in Madison County, the City of Berea, and Berea College in the event of a major disaster? Do you know what the evacuation policy, quarantine policy, and the shelter-in-place policy is for Berea College, the City of Berea, and Madison County? Do you know the role the Madison County Health Department and the Kentucky Department for Public Health in a state of emergency? Do you know what role the Berea Hospital and College Health Services play in a major disaster? Do you know where the nearest decontamination unit and shelter is located?

In this course, students will explore local public-health policies relating to natural and man-made disasters. The students will learn what the policies are and spend class time identifying disaster policies by visiting the Madison County Health Department, the Blue Grass Army Depot, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Families, the General Assembly, and the Kentucky Department for Homeland Security in order to review current disaster policies. Upon completion of the review of policies, the student will spend class time identifying the policies that are adequate and meet the need. If the policies are inadequate, outdated, or inappropriate, students will take steps to advocate for policy change.